Technology. It’s everywhere around us and defines our everyday routine and life. From paper to space shuttles, it’s all artificial, man made. It’s not a product of natural selection and evolution but a child of our thoughts, ideas and needs. People today think that the term technology describes only computers and mobile phones. That is somehow untrue though its a general term which involves digital technology as well. It all started back then when our ancestors soon enough realized that their hands alone were an insufficient mean providing them a way of gaining their food. Through a mental procedure ancient man used the materials and objects that were locally available and made stone and sticks into hunting tools. Man’s needs, thus his technology progressed in a very slow pace throughout the past thousand years. An increase of technological innovation started when organized and complex societies were formed (Babylon, Egypt & Ancient Greece) where knowledge and education was the key to their progress.
When studying the timeline of technological progression someone could easily note that after the Renaissance there has been a huge boost on our ability to produce, distribute and use our man made technology. Information and education have played a crucial part on this acceleration. Books and modern education systems made it able for almost everyone to reason and have the chance to achieve numerous things. There is no doubt that the 15yrs of the commercial existence of the Internet, has accelerated this growth. My main reasoning though when starting to compile this article is not to examine the technical and historical aspects of this growth. I feel the need to rexamine the philosophy of technology.
We most of the times reason when acting and progress in any level. I feel there is a lack of that mental procedure when dealing with technology. Modern capitalistic societies tend to make people think that the only way to progress is buying new technology and getting rid of the old. Mobile phones are a great example of that mentality. I cannot blame people’s choices when doing so, even because i many times tend to act in the same way. To me though people tend to spend a big sum of money on commercial products they know little about their usage and capabilities. There is a big educational gap and many urban myths involving some uses. People tend to fear using the internet thinking their money or identity might be stolen. It is true that these can happen though its very rare when you know how to use this new medium. Dangers do exist with electronic appliances though in most cases they are overexagerated. The pace of technological production seems to be far ahead our capabilities of knowing how to use the things we own. It is very important to confine your needs and only buying what we will actually use frequently. My generation, considering that i’m 23yrs old is moreover capable of digesting new stuff. Small children as my 8yr old sister was brought up in a household where my family was capable of using modern technology. She seems to find learning using technology more easy than everyone else. That proves that we ought to know and learn how to use our tools in order to make them work for our own benefit.
Another philosophical approach to this issue involves the way technology is constructed rather than used. As an IT graduate analyzing the techniques and the timeline of an individual technology makes it far easier to understand in depth what i use everyday. Especially in Information Technology, my main impulse is to deal and try to promote with technologies that are constructed in an open and user friendly manner. The term open source describes the technologies where collaborative and transparent techniques are used. This philosophy in technology has starting to widespread especially after the wide usage of the internet. Open source implementations seem to be more efficient, clean and free. Offcourse not everything can be constructed without any corporate involvement and not having profit as the main aim. Solutions for professionals are most of the time expensive and confined to one supplier.
A big drawback of the technology we used during the 20th century and are still using it on the 21st is the way we use and produce energy. Mass transportation increased the need of burning fossil fuel using a centralized distribution network which we are still using today. An internal combustion car almost everyone uses today, even me, needs gas as an energy input, a somehow inefficient way of producing energy, and exhausts greenhouse gazes and heat. The same principle of producing energy can be found on powerplants, household heating systems etc. Fossil fuel input, greenhouse gazes and heat as an output. That principle even to a non expert sounds unreasonable. A trend has started to grow, which will eventually become a need, is the ability to use a fraction of the energy compared with old systems and produce the same usable output. Efficient lamp bulbs, efficient home appliances, efficient homes, cars and mass transportation systems are some that come in mind. The ability to consume less energy depends highly on the adoption of more efficient technologies, market and government policies as well as our ability to organize and reason our actions, systems that demand great sums of energy.
Unreasonable Uses and Consequences of Technology
- Environmental Pollution
- Urban Traffic
- Computer Viruses
- Unprocessed Urban Waste
- Inefficient Energy Systems (Cars, Powerplants etc)
- Nuclear War
- Spam Mail
Reasonable Uses of Technology
- The Internet
- Environmental friendly energy production systems
- Distributed & Free Knowledge
- Open Systems
- Urban Organization
- Electric Public Transportation Systems (Subway, Trains, Trams)
- Space Exploration
- Anthropocentric Scientific Research
We are today in a very crucial standpoint. Technology is widespread on western societies, though we still lack the education and reasoning concerning its proper use. We have forgotten that we ought to preserve our home, planet earth and tend to act arrogantly and seem to be so near sighted most of the times. We should always keep in mind that technology ought to work FOR us and NOT against us. Preserving the environment and the stability of our society is for our own long term benefit. Most of the problems today cannot be solved through progressing technology alone. Each one of us has to realize the things we ought to do in order to change our present faulty state. That can be done through education, collaboration and redefining what we should aim as a person, society and species as a whole