Keywords of the Greater Bay Area



Zhang Yuxing

Deep Civilization

In a new, globalized era that has been rapidly connected by the internet, the involution of human civilization has become even more apparent. On the one hand, the excessive production and accumulation of goods has reached a limit, because material abundance has highlighted the emptiness of materialism, rather than fostering the elevation of material civilization. On the other hand, the competition between different regions of civilization (such as Eastern or Western) has tended to become a zero-sum game. Economic globalization may not be the newest evolution in human civilization; it may simply be the way that multiple regional civilizations coexist.

Today, we are confronted with a vast future world of uncertainties and unknowns, and we urgently need to build a brand new state of civilization on the foundation of a global humanity, which I call “deep civilization.” Deep civilization will further expand humanity’s sights beyond itself and resolve the involution of human society. The essence of deep civilization is the use of future AI and biotechnologies to bring humans, non-human organisms (including animals, plants, and microorganisms), and humanoids (primarily life-like phenomena based on AI) into a broader civilization that encompasses all civilizational systems. In deep civilization, it is not just that all living things have power; all living things make their power felt. The concept of deep civilization can promote both broader and deeper development in the entirety of world civilization.

Civilization is essentially a decrease in entropy, not an increase. Civilization is not a zero-sum game between people, or between humans and nature, or between humans and the supernatural. In the end, deep civilization will bring humanity deep freedom, deep rationality, and deep faith, but it can also bring about deep harmony and deep cooperation between humanity and nature.

About Keywords of the Greater Bay Area

The "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" is a new construction envisioned from a top-down perspective and territorial integration. It is a blueprint for a future urban development based on efficiency, speed, and mobility. What if we conceive the Greater Bay Area as an experiment, an imaginary experiment? On the one hand, there is the question of 'diversity'. When we talk about smart cities, artificial intelligence, automation, ecological crisis, information security, the future of virtual reality, global trade, etc., where does this view of the future come from, and what determines it? On the other hand, a profound political, spatial, historical, and geographical significance is present in the Greater Bay Area. Is it possible to develop a different imagination based on the history and culture of the "Pearl River Delta-Greater Bay Area;" meaning, to consider a development departing from local knowledge production, negotiating with accelerating technologies, facilitating collaborations between art and other disciplines, and reshaping the vision of institutions of art and technology? By exploring the diversity of technologies, human and non-human ecologies, and reproduction of social relations, might it be possible to reposition the "Greater Bay Area" as a pioneering experiment of southern China's technological and cultural imagination beyond a mere economic zone?

Editors: Jianru Wu, Guo Yun
English editor: Christy Lange