both, it helps us only to create more complications most of the time
Which leads to further RnD to sort those complications and create newer complications in the process..
Yes, systems get exponentially more complex but there is a tipping point where intelligent design kicks in and the system is factored down and simplified. This is what bio mimicry is all about, not brute force technology but self sustaining system like a tree that can produce energy, store carbon, feed the ecosystem around it and then recycle itself and start again. We are at the infancy of making stuff. All we did for the past few thousand years is burn stuff, and we are still burning stuff and throwing away more good stuff. When and if we make it to the place where we can understand that making (pillaging the earth and throwing away lots and lots of stuff in the process), then using it for a short while (and the throwing it away because of built in obsolescence, which was invented in the 1930’s as a way to fuel capitalism) to only buy more stuff minimally better is not sustainable for 9 billion people (the number we will most likely end up with on earth for a while, watch Hans Rosling on TED http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_on_global_population_growth.html & http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/hans_rosling_religions_and_babies.html , unless we have a major human dieback). We will have to learn how to create added value in a non CAPITALIST way. I feel that the success of capitalism has been confused with the power of discoveries and the benefits of OIL since the two have been concurrent. Since capitalism did not create OIL but OIL brought about Capitalism I feel that when OIL goes away as it will so will Capitalism and we will need to find new fuel and a new system or better yet the new fuel will bring about a new system. We can’t keep burning stuff forever and be a successful civilization and sustain 9 billion people or we will fall back into the Malthusian Trap very fast and be back to 1 billion before you can say charcoal. Mind you I am not an anti-capitalist just a realist. Communism and Socialism are modified and tempered forms of Capitalism and not new systems and they all relied on the same fuel, OIL. They are ultimately forms of distribution systems and not value added systems hence they rely on burning lots and lots of OIL to succeed. A society that uses wood or coal or whale oil for fuel does not flourish like a society the uses OIL.
After all, self sustaining production of energy by a person with minimal input from the outside, like a tree, will have a significant effect on CAPITALIST PRODUCTION as we know it. Just as the Rural Electrification had in the ’30s and ’40s. It is all about the way energy is distributed in the end.
Oil and energy has definitely paved a strong way for capitalism which led to communism and socialism becoming popular. New energy WILL bring about a new system no doubt about that.
A few years ago, motors that runs on compressed air, electricity and solar energy were invented. With these inventions, the capitalists will take undue advantage and shift the balance from being an Oil Mafia to Clean Energy Mafia. These ‘mafia’ systems are the root cause of everything bad around today. Surprisingly, nobody does anything about it! This just goes on to show how much we fear fabricated illusions. The mafia policy has to end, without it only can a human survive in absolute independence and use technology for it’s advantages.
Technologically, because of capitalism and other “-isms”, we have ‘dumbd’ down to such a level that we are introducing even more ‘dumbening’ products. Most products today are created from nature to pollute nature. All nature has to do is adapt to these new changes like it always has and we will get screwed in the process. I am shocked to find out that despite of so many warnings given by so many researchers, we the general masses choose to willfully ignore those warnings and continue pillaging the earth and polluting the environment.
I think technology is being used in a wrong way now and when the time comes, it will have been too late to have changed if we don’t care about it from today.
What do you think?
I tend to disagree with the idea that technology is being used the wrong way and that we all ignore the warnings. First and foremost information exchange is greater and more pervasive then it has ever been and the generations coming up are using it and adopting it in ways that are not evident yet. The Do It Yourself (DIY) and Single Unit Fabrication (SUF) communities is growing at a fast pace. We are getting to the point where in the near future we will be able to make many things ourselves instead of them being made in China or Viet Nam and then shipped to us.
Also I produce 55% of the energy I use in my house and there is no MAFIA SYSTEM interfering with it. I feel that just like the in Hans Rosling TED Talk about the filling in of the aging population there will be a filling in of a smarter more self reliant population filling in too whom will be less consumerist. It is already happening with the ’20 somethings buying less cars and living in the cities vs. buying cars in moving to the suburbs. We will see if this trend stays the course as they age.
The advantages of technology are evident but the disadvantages of technology are much more evident.. I would really like to believe that the future generations will shift the balance from disadvantages to advantages. It’s upto them how they will steer the direction of the use of technology. Right now technology is being used to breach one’s privacy, counter intelligence to drive economies into crashes, fake positive publicity, hypnotizing the masses, creating weapons, scams and possibly putting people through difficulties in their private lives.. These are the side effects and the cure needs to be found.
Technology makes life easier, that’s for sure. Instead of waiting weeks or months for mail to circumnavigate the globe, we can send email in seconds. It connects the world on a totally different level and in many ways unites the planet.
However, easy isn’t always good. You cannot train for a marathon by sitting on the couch. We have become dependent on smartphones, iPads, computers, televisions, GPS systems, and other gadgets that have defined our way of life to the point that if they were suddenly removed, our society would crash and burn. Imagine the chaos at a single airport if their communication systems failed.
It really is hard to say. One just has to hope that 1) nothing ever goes wrong and 2) we never run out of energy. Then we’ll be set forever and we’ll never have to leave our houses.
I hate leaving my house too 😀
We’ve become highly addicted to technology and we cannot go back now. Going back means, like you said, crashing and burning. Are we ready to crash and burn? I don’t think so. We are so obsessed about our upkeep, vanity and lifestyle that capitalism is thriving on these weaknesses. It’s not at all bad to have gadgets, I personally love gadgets. But, there can be cleaner and more durable products in the market! We seem to revolutionizing on that so I guess in the near future technology will be an advantage through and through. The question is how soon? after everything is destroyed or before?
I like to think it will be before, but you know how humans are… We really need a good kick in the pants before revolutionizing anything that doesn’t provide instant gratification!
I’d like to sort technology into categories.. those that “give” and make the planet in the long term a better place and those who “take”… and don’t.
We need to re-evaluate how we use the earth’s ever shrinking resources and use wisdom to convert as many of the luxuries we use today from carbon guzzling ones into carbon neutral ones… I think there is certainly a “way” but the deeper and more thorny question is the “will” of big industry to do so.
I wish people would not consider that going back to basics say with food= less preservatives, eating local and in season, less processed and chemical additives etc as a step ‘backwards’ .. because I see it as a step forwards for not only our waistlines and our health but also for local shops, local workers, farmers and whole economies.
We need to reintroduce technology we are in danger of loosing like healthy home cooking and embrace technology when it works well… like the internet where an experienced home bread baker on the other side of the would can help troubleshoot why my bread efforts aren’t rising when they should.
We need to teach kids the difference between technologies that waste their lives and those that enhance them, how to distinguish between the two and also how to balance them so their future relationships are built upon knowing real people in person that they can relate to and share their lives with over decades and not cyber personnas that they can’t.
We need technology that brings families closer and not ones that isolate family members into living separate lives under the same roof.
Most technologies can be both an advantage or a disadvantage, it depends on knowing when, how and for what we are using them… and using wisdom when we do.
I totally agree!!
Feeding cities is a huge problem without some form of food preserving. It woudl be great if we could all eat food from farmers markets etc but most places that’s just not possible. Everything is a compromise.
Lately it has come to that.. That’s why I put up this discussion.. Thank you for contributing Barb! 🙂
Perhaps technology isn’t inherently good or bad – it is all in the way it is used or abused or in many cases, taken for granted. The moment you fail to acknowledge that you have control (or cede control) of technologies, that is the moment you become swept up in them and no longer have regard for their potential negative impacts. Engineers and technologists should not forget their ethical responsibilities to use and direct their inventions for betterment and not just for profit…
Whilst I very much agree with you I have several practical spanners to throw into the cogs of the debate 🙂
First, new inventions rarely fall out of the sky and into someone’s lap fully formed and patent ready… from what I know of industry, usually things start with a germ of an idea and a massive amount of money is thrown into R&D over many years of development refining the process… the only way for a company to begin to re-coop these costs is to eventually go though the patent process and use their 20 year protection to get their get their product to market as quickly as possible whilst limited monopoly time limit.
Second: In areas like electronics the market is constantly looping faster and faster with a constant stream of new products so any profits need to be instantly invested into R&D for the next new thing or the company will be sitting on an obsolete product within an amazingly short period of time.
I LOVE the idea of increasing time between discovery and implementation, but that too has both pros and cons… some inventions say for cancer tumour reduction or intervention on a cellular level are being tested on patients for whom conventional medicine has failed and who have nothing to loose as their time to live is very limited… when these technologies are rushed into place some of them do and ARE saving people who could not otherwise be saved so this idea, of wait and check….whilst wonderful in an ideal world is very much a double edged sword in the world of reality.
Granted there are many areas where the practice has fewer life and death consequences but what do workers and companies do once an idea or product is submitted for ethical testing and safety? who’s qualified to undertake this , and imagine the bureaucracy involved.. we are talking totally new technology after all, stuff no one has experience with, do we wait 10 years before letting the public have an Ipad so we can check electronic radiation effects in children? what does the company and employees do with themselves during those ten years? who is competent to make the decision?
For every brilliant idea on this there are thorns and spanners and different ways of looking at the practical side of things… juggling the realistic, the practical, the ethical and the financial balls of this debate is a nightmare.
I agree with kiwidutch in that we need to define what technology we are talk about. A stick is technology. So is a nuclear bomb. Appropriateness and scale are really important factors to consider.
Throughout human history, going from discovery to immediate use of novel technology has been the norm. That’s fine on a local, even a regional scale.
But the modern world is so interconnected that there is no more buffer and no more do-overs. Because of this, I think there needs to be more time between technological innovation and application. We currently don’t have time to examine the ethics of implementing new technologies – We have the mentality of just doing it and seeing what happens. If there’s a problem, we’ll figure out a solution for it. This mentality results in band-aid solutions and an increasingly unstable and unsustainable relationship with the environment. We need to look back, slow down, and re-evaluate what technologies are important, what are useful, what have stood the test of time, and what are appropriate and sustainable for use in a finite world.
True.. I agree with the idea of increasing time between discovery and implementation. In the past 10 years, there have been some serious technological blunders and no we are spending time fix them.. If we had given it some time, then this wouldn’t have happened..
I believe that technology is both convenience and hindrance. In one way, technology makes our lives easier and makes us easily conneceted with others. However, this means that we are more disconnected in other areas, such as family as we are constantly checking all our avenues of communication. On a professional level, technology sets up very high expectations of you in regards to getting back to people, answering their emails, calls and texts and getting work done. As you know, I have written about it in my blog http://janegarber.com/2012/06/24/technology-convenience-or-hindrance/ and continue to hold the view that we are addicted and there is probably not much that we are prepared to do so that our addiction is kerbed.
Haha.. Nicely said.. We are addicted and there is nothing anybody can do to rehabilitate us.. 🙂
The answering emails, calls and texts bugs the hell out of me.. I hate technology for that.. For internet, I like it..
I do not hate technology, I take it as a necessary evil. We cannot stay relevant in this world without it. But that does come at a price.
hey im doing a survey. i know this is an old discussion, but do help out. please ;;) its for college
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