Musk, weapons and the technological revolution by Teodoro Dalavecuras Italics by Teo Dalavecuras

This morning Massimo Gramellini ("Gramellini's coffee") took a break in his long enterprise of sentimental re-education of Italians. He did it in the only possible way in a daily column of a few lines: he targeted a single man, very representative moreover, the "Mr. Elon Musk", but he faced one of the greatest problems of our distracted times. I transcribe the first lines: "Even the least inspired of poets excites me more than Mr. Elon Musk, proponent and main beneficiary of the authentic catastrophe of our time: the replacement of humanity with technology and the conviction, for many aberrant, that this replacement represents progress". It's all too true and even obvious, but you rarely find anyone who has the courage to say it publicly. For several decades we have all lived in fear of falling behind in the irresistible march of technological progress and no one allows himself to doubt that we must immediately translate into concrete facts of our daily lives whatever novelty today's technology makes possible, without getting lost in doubts about unwanted or unpredictable effects: this is progress and progress is indisputably good (even if the term, in itself, it refers both to beneficial processes, both to malefic, destructive or deforming processes, and to initially beneficial processes degenerated into their opposite as a result of exaggerated use). I was expecting a comment on the latest American massacre, the 19 students and the two teachers killed by a young man in Texas but, perhaps preterinintently, Gramellini's singularly explicit statement ("replacing humanity with technology") also concerns these events. As soon as the news spread, the recurrent denunciation of the American firearms lobby started, by conditioned reflex, which, opposing any legislation limiting the trade in these deadly trinkets, is objectively responsible for this rosary of massacres (not only in America but also in other countries, from the 77 dead in Norway of Anders Behring Breivik to the 51 of New Zealand of Brenton Tarrant). There is no doubt that without the possibility of buying appropriate firearms the massacres would not be possible in those ways, just as if car traffic were abolished there would be no more deaths from road accidents. There are, however, also other possible correlations. In all these massacres, as far as we know, there is an intense attendance, by the authors, of social networks: we read that even the unfortunate person responsible for the latest carnage in Texas had anticipated his plan on Facebook. Now, no one will think of claiming the closure of Facebook for this reason (and those who were tempted would beware of doing so aware of the risk of lynching not media but also physical). The fact remains, however, that decades of excessive use first of TV and then of video games and "social" platforms (actually "asocial"), combined with computer techniques aimed at producing real addiction, has generated a growing inability to distinguish the tangible world from the virtual one and perhaps it is legitimate to ask if this anthropological transformation that affects the last generations is totally alien to phenomena such as massacres substantially "free" and other degenerative manifestations. That then the most fabulous riches accumulated in recent years, from Gates to Zuckerberg, from Musk to Bezos, such as to make the treasure of Mansa Musa emperor of Mali pale, find their origin in the "digital revolution", is obviously only a curious coincidence.