And If, Regarding the Past, One Had to Start Anew

People hop in sacks during Khmer New Year celebrations at Chau Say Tevoda temple in Siem Reap province on April 14, 2022. Photo by TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP

As Khmer New Year is approaching, the education authorities want to encourage young people to play the traditional games that, for centuries, have been part of this period of celebrations.   

Let go of your smartphones, your accounts with Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other so-called social apps, and play like in the old days with your girlfriends and boyfriends in the village square or the schoolyard, they tell them.

Generally speaking, the country’s heritage, both tangible and intangible, keeps on being mentioned as a driving force for the building of the future. To assess if things are going well today and will keep on doing so tomorrow, we look into the mirror of the past.

But a revolution is taking place, that of artificial intelligence that demands a new way of thinking. We are already immersed, without even being aware of it, in a world in which algorithms are shaping our way of thinking.

Hoping for a “like” is obeying an algorithm, a form of artificial intelligence that even its creators fear in that they ignore to what extent it may end up being beyond any human and democratic control.   

It is in the mastery of these new technologies that the future is being played out, and not in the perpetual glorification of a past that, by definition, will never be again.    


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