Today Mass Effect 3 is released. If you are into video games, you know this is a big deal. My copy will arrive some time today and I will be playing it tonight. Mass Effect 3 is a role playing game in which you and your allies are fighting to save all life in the  Galaxy from utter annihilation. If you have not played ME1, spoiler alert. I am going to reveal the bad guys.

The bad guys are “The Reapers.” They are an advanced A.I. Civilization or Machine Civilization that lies dormant for aeons while Life evolves. When Life is “ripe” they “harvest” it. They basically assimilate all of Life, all that has been learned, all that has been created. (I don’t know why that means all life must be destroyed.) The Reapers then sow the seeds for new Life and start the process all over again. This is a clever take on one of the most common themes in Science Fiction: our machines evolving beyond us and either “terminating” or “assimilating” us. A few examples: The Borg in Star Trek, The Terminator films, The Matrix Trilogy, and Battlestar Gallactica.

I actually find this meme pretty tired. It makes a good narrative for a video game, but enough already. We are at the end of an era and our technology is primarily responsible. This is true, and this is why this narrative resonates with us. However, we are not separate from technology. We are technology. Okay, that might be overstating it. At our very core, our essence, prior to form, we are not technology. But, as soon as forms/creations show up: hello technology (Check out Kevin Kelly, The Technium.)

There was a time when humans did not have spoken language, in the earliest hunter gatherer times. A huge shift happened tens of thousands of years ago when early agriculture emerged. This was a radical new technology that changed everything. Co-emergent with that (we don’t know if one came first) came spoken language. Jeremy Rifkin theorizes that this new communication technology (spoken language) was necessary to manage the complicated social dynamics and organizational logistics of basic agriculture which necessitated a whole new kind of culture. (By the way, culture is a technology.)

The emergence of the technology of Spoken Language was one of the great game changers: a true Singularity. Human experience after this Singularity was radically different than what it had been previously. Pre-Verbal humans could in no way imagine what the Post-Verbal human would live and think like. By the way, all of us have experienced this transition in this lifetime. Some time around 1 years old we made this Big Shift. And of course, we get to witness our children and others children go through this Big Shift.

Anyway, the point is technology is not something out there, alien from us. Maybe new technologies seem that way before we assimilate them (or are assimilated by them.) Did e.mail seem weird and alien 15 years ago? The internet definitely did to a lot of people. Now that I think about it, I think the Internet continues to get exponentially weirder and more alien. But, compared to our Pre-Internet selves, so do we.

Anyway, wish me luck in the epic battle against the Reapers. The future of the Galaxy is at stake.