Posted by: antyx | October 5, 2008

Biological Evolution vs Technological Progress

Evolution and change is always persistent in any form of biological species. Studying the evolutionary timeline of biological species on earth we can note according to Darwinism, that through natural selection simpler biological forms evolved through random changes in their genetic information, adapting to their surroundings according to primal survivalist and reproductive instincts. Simple forms of biology progressively evolved, forming complex immune systems, neural networks and specialized organs. All this process carried out for millions of years, had mainly to do with the ability of biological species to store information with the use of genetic code. Our genetic code, the DNA may be the most efficient way of storing million strings of information , in order to carry it on throughout the generations. The progressive state that steadily perfected this information according to outer circumstances and survivalist needs led to forming of the human species. We as a human species are the product of the ability of biological species to adapt, evolve from simpler lifeforms to something as complex as ourselfs.

From an very early stage of our inhabitance on this planet technology was always the key to our survival. Hunting for our food and keeping warm could not have been done without the use materials found locally and though reasoning we could build our first tools in order to achieve our primal survival goals. Our survival depended on it and mainly expanded our physical abilities which were not given through evolution. Many people when hearing the word technology think that it has only to do with electronics and computers. In fact it was a term with ancient Greek terminology. Τεχνολογία (Greek) is formed by Reasoning and Technical. Through reasoning the first forms of technology were formed using technical elements from nature. The axe, spear, fire, clothing are all primitive forms of technology. The way this technology was built was carried out through generations only by our ability to communicate the techniques (information) so this technology could be built. The forming of technology was carried out strictly because of survivalist reasons, because as a human species we are physically inferior to other animal species. The means of carrying out this information was done through spoken and written language. It is still today the most efficient and human like way of communication. Many times the communication medium changes when using telephone landlines, mobile phones or the internet. The principle though remains the same.

Comparing the two progressing processes of transforming information someone could note some same basic principles. They are physical processes which:

  • The ability of this given system to store and transmit information throughout time is highly efficient
  • Use of elementary building blocks, chemical elements in order to form complex mechanisms and tools
  • Simple forms, transform into more complex ones
  • Causability is the basic driving force
  • Randomness also plays a very important role
  • The most simple but efficient-effective designs were those which lasted in time
  • Designs that failed to adapt throughout time were lost once in for all
  • The designs that last tend to use and transform energy very effectively
  • Good designs tend to have the ability to reproduce this information very easily

Offcourse there are many differences between them though it is very interesting when examining their similarities. Human made technology though does not always as efficient as it could be and frequently is used for many harmful causes that affect us directly. It has to do with society itself, its basic forms and needs. It is a mirror of our needs, wants, mentalities and attitudes towards each other. Technology itself is the ability we have to use elements found on this planet to make tools for a certain purpose. It cannot be labeled as good or bad, and has mainly to do with how we intend on using it. The 21st century has shown profound new ideas and tools we are starting to use and build. Ecological and efficient systems, from LED house bulbs to solar-wind-wave energy producing islands, the internet, biotechnology and many other applications seem to make reality what we not very long perceived as science fiction. We have the ability to produce new ideas and concepts in a very high rate than any other time in history. A small change of information on our genetic code that took thousands of years now through technology is a matter of days.

Prometheus, a figure from Ancient Greek philosophy who stole the fire from the gods and gave it to humans stands as a good symbolism to technological societies itself. We seem to have a great ability on inventing new tools and tehnologies though we many times dont have the best causes and education on using them. so many people have the impulse on using new technologies without the proper education concerning their use. Consumer electronics seem to be thrown out very frequently nowdays. They end up in landfills because the consumers have no education on why they should recycle them in the 1st place. Causability concerning uses of everyday products has seem to lost. Most purchaces today are made through impulse and not through need. Modern concumer society does not regard that less is better and we tend to be satisfied by quantity and not by quality. Comparing the basic driving forces of how technology is spreaded and used with the biological diversity of our biosphere we can note several differences. In my view biology is far more sophisticated, complex and effient than man made technologies . Structures found in nature are the best teachers for implementing them. Through the passing of time formations and mechanism in nature steadily perfected in terms of efficiency and through the need of survival-reproduction. Human made technology has different driving forces, whereas many inventions are made just by luck, military uses, space and aeronautics uses or just for profiting by it when releasing to the consumer market.

Society itself though shows many similarities in a different scale with the natural ecosystem. They are both have a dynamic structure and somehow in both cases, the most effient and effective design lasts through time. So technology from carved wood to the internet is just a process of natural selection occurring in our society. There are needs and uses where technology steps in and fills that gap. Offcourse for once again the most important thing on developing new uses of technology is reasoning of it’s use, side effects and causability. We must not forget that the most advanced and complex technology/organ of nature today, is the human brain, which we ought to use more of these days.


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