Discover more from Kale
The Techno Gather Manifesto (rough draft)
Designing the future for humans
Last spring, I was sitting in an apartment in San Francisco with some colleagues and friends, and we were talking shop about technology’s role in the future. For those of you who know me, this topic (probably to the annoyance of all of you) comes up quite frequently, but on a brisk evening in the winter of 2023, someone in the group put words to the position and uttered the phrase ‘techno gatherer’.
The techno gatherer philosophy is rooted in the belief that humans should accelerate the pace of technological progress, but design technology that serves a natural way of life, a lifestyle that is in touch with primitive human nature.
Those in support of effective accelerationism (e/acc) and the techno optimist manifesto have been articulating the importance of accelerating the pace at which we develop and adopt technology to improve the state of the world, but the techno gatherer philosophy melds parts of these ideals with a focus on designing technology to serve the primitive human in a way that maximizes the quality of our lives. The techno gatherer acknowledges that the world is always changing, and aims to design the future in a way where we aim to keep things we value as a part of our lives.
The gatherer is inspired by the human body being designed to forage and walk in search of food. The techno is a nod to accelerating the pace at which we adopt new technologies that are designed to serve a way of living that we want, and feel in control of.
Accelerating the rate of technological progress means the change technology will have on the way we live, will outpace the rate at which humans evolve. Thus, we must build technology that serves our primitive needs. For example, the techno gatherer wants computers to enhance their life, but needs to designed in a way we use them to afford us a lifestyle that isn’t sedentary.
The techno gatherer values sharing a meal with loved ones, being a part of physical communities, experiencing nature, and moving their body. The techno gatherer avoids defaulting for optimization at all costs, and may forgo the bullet train and walk to their home from their workspace at the end of the day, or read an essay in physical print over a digital copy. The techno gatherer aspires to give humans the leverage to make explicit choice when trading their life for an altered way of living resulting of technological adoption. The techno gatherer values technology designed to protect personal privacy and give people freedom from government. The techno gatherer values the pursuit of science to explore about earth, space and the cosmos. The techno gatherer would go for a surf with a drone, or go for a hike and run in the mountains with a wearable. The techno gatherer uses satellites to connect to the internet in the wilderness. The techno gatherer uses tools to create art. The techno gatherer takes trains, planes, boats, and rockets to explore places they couldn’t before. The techno gatherer supports agriculture, may live on a ranch with internet, or go to a farmers market and use digital payment. The techno gatherer moves their body, leverages but avoids dependence on modern medicine and pharmaceuticals. The techno gatherer enjoys having conversations in the physical-world without distractions, works to avoid overstimulation, and focuses on being present. The techno gatherer values things built with human hands, while valuing things we’ve built with machines. The techno gatherer values craftsmanship, avoids over consumption, and reduces waste. The techno gatherer values children and growing families, leaves things better than they found them, and practices long-term thinking and decision making. The techno gatherer believes in meritocracies, abundance, and trade. The techno gatherer loves the ocean, the outdoors, and the sun. The techno gatherer believes in work and play.
The techno gatherer believes we can architect and design a future that we want to live in.