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First Things' Feature Essay: Resist the Machine Apocalypse

The March 2024 issue of First Things arrived Tuesday. The feature essay: Iain McGilchrist, "Resist the Machine Apocalypse."

It's great.

But it's not online yet. When it is, I'll post an excerpt and a link to the full essay, but I suspect you'll need a subscription to access it.

Odd thing about McGilchrist: He doesn't appear to publish much. This is the first time I've seen an essay by him in a "middle-brow" journal like First Things. I wondered why, since I'm guessing he has time now: he completed his magnum opus, The Matter with Things, four years ago (first printed in 2021; it takes on average one year from manuscript completion to printing; hence I conclude he finished writing it in 2020).

I thought maybe it's his age: 74, I believe.

But then I caught a glimpse of the rationale at the end of this splendid essay about the rise of artificial intelligence.

He implores civilization to stall the manipulators (servants of the left hemisphere) to give "people with intelligence and insight" time to catch up.

Stop breathing down their necks. Stop asking how many papers they have published recently.

Insightful and deep, measured and patient, development doesn't take place in a flurry, but left hemisphere-dominated modernity demands flurry all the time.

The whole essay is like that: filled with snatches of his overall thought.

In some ways, it's an introduction to the Hemisphere Hypothesis, but it's also his latest application of the Hemisphere Hypothesis to our existential predicament. It starts at the beginning; it ends at the end.

Highly recommended.