Technology's End.

Posted by Asclepius on January 22, 2002 at 19:45:30:

Humanity has faced challenges over the centuries. Those challenges have increasingly become more difficult with time. From lighting a fire to halting a nuclear one, we have overstepped our obstacles and continued on our way to excellence. Of course, we have not accomplished this without the aid of technology. We catch ourselves at inopportune times throughout history, finding that we have made mistakes. Often enough, we barely have enough time to correct those mistakes before their effects occur. And, once again, we have caught ourselves…
Reveling in the Age of Silicon. Bathing in our own technological elegance. We took a deep breath and plunged into the sea. We marvel at the new world around us, the ocean of information looming beyond. Our eyes become distorted, and we relax. Relax our bodies; we have no use for them. This world under the water is perfect, peaceful, and even calm. When we need air, however, we are at a loss. We forgot our minds; our lungs were told not to breathe. This ocean world will save us from death, will it not? It has saved us from so much, but it cannot save us from our own demise. Technology is a tool, and a wonderful tool it is, but we cannot forget to breathe.
How do humans breathe? One might take the medical definition of ‘breathing’, stating that breathing is no more than a convulsion of the lungs. That breathing is simply spreading different gases throughout our bodies so that we may live. But when humans breathe, we not only use precious space, but we take in our surroundings. They become a part of us. As much a part of us as a limb or organ, our environment is who we are. The people are who we are.
‘Breathing’ in this sense is more than keeping the body alive, it is living. Information, knowledge, it chokes us- but we cannot live without it, and we rightly should not. Why now are we running short of breath now, in the most crucial, most exciting time in technological history? Let us take a look into our past to comprehend why, of all times, it is happening in the present.
In the very beginning, we had very little knowledge. This is obvious, but still must be stated. If information could have been shared, every human would have been able to handle the knowledge of the world. They would have used it for their own purpose. In a sense, all humans were equal.
We started to learn, however, and the knowledge became too vast for one person to take on. Class systems developed: the rulers, the commoners, and the middle structures. All had their own niche to fill, their position in the acquisition and use of technology.
Still, though, we expanded. Soon, the world was covered in humans and their communications. We differed even more, creating what we called then “trades”. The particular skills of humans were being put to use. No longer was a human able to acquire all of the knowledge in the world. Instead, we specialized in our “trades” and increased productivity and efficiency. The world divided more, though. Now changing the past “trades” by terming them “careers”.
Not only that, but as time progressed, we divided on different grounds. There may be 50,000 nuclear physicists on the earth, but we dare not work together. Why, it is for the sake of ‘national security’, of course.
One human technically knows more and less than the original humans. The originals knew everything there was to know, but they knew nothing. We now know almost nothing of the world, but in our career, our specialty, we know vast amounts of information. There is an obvious trend, a repetitive sequence that we have followed. One human cannot know the world, so we expand that all of humanity might.
We forget to breathe. Throughout the ages, we have had a certain harmony with the environment, all the way up through the “trade” stage. Now, though, we have become so fascinated with technology that we see no reason to be a part of the world we left behind. In an effort to see the entire ocean, we have expanded. Expanded so far and so wide that our planet has trouble supporting us. Up until now, we have been able to see the entire ocean.
But I ask you, what happens when the ocean becomes too large for us? What happens when we can no longer expand? More people stay under the water, of course. This has already begun to happen; we care nothing for the destruction of this planet, our home. But all of us cannot stay under the water. If that happens, we all die. Soon, knowledge will become too large for us. With current technology expansion, how can anyone possibly keep up, even in his or her own career? Technology will overwhelm us and engulf us. If we are not prepared, our majestic expansion will wither and die.
The problem is that we cannot support the amount of people required to continue with technology. Humans are not fast or strong enough. Those of us in our middle ages understand that to a point, even if invincibility and ambition takes the younger ones. We have limits, and we are rapidly reaching them.
We must turn our thoughts towards our pressing needs. Keeping humanity together (part of breathing) is essential. We must expand, not contract. If we contract, we are coming to a point where we will lose the development of technology. Our “18 month” exponential growth will dwindle, and eventually die out. Technology itself will die.
Technology can continue in a few ways, all of which have their disadvantages, and their advantages. 1. We make humans smarter and faster, 2. We increase the population, or 3. Computer replacement. There are no doubt more, but these are the first three that come to mind.
Enhancement of humans has its fair share of advantages. Perceptibly, humans become more efficient, and we require fewer humans for the same amount of advancement. This would no doubt require either genetic manipulation of some sort (which no doubt will derive scrutiny), or, excuse the cliché, but an integration of human and machine: a cybrid. Both of these require an immediate change in technological focus, and a large amount of money to be spent in such focuses.
The increase of population follows our old habits. Unfortunately, we have exhausted our space on Earth. We have few places left to inhabit, and those are too harsh a climate to accommodate human life for extended periods of time. Though as hypocritical to the last statement as it may seem, other planet colonization seems to be the easiest way to accomplish population augmentation. The complications of this are clear- other worlds that are able to be terra-formed are not placed near Earth. The truth is, we have little knowledge of how to terra-form a planet in the first place.
When one looks to computer replacement of human jobs, we assume that this is the easiest and most efficient way to solve the technological demise situation. However, as many comparisons that have been made over the centuries show, the world (not just the United States) has the ability to become top-heavy at any given moment and crush under its own weight. Computer replacement not only speeds up this process, but it causes it to happen almost immediately. Without lower-paying jobs, there is no lower or middle class. Clearly, not everyone can be paid one million dollars a year to live. At least, that cannot be so under a capitalist government. Without control of the businesses, some are favored. Once the balance of pay disrupts (within the computer replacement world), monopolies form instantaneously. Why would one work as an engineer for a company that pays 100 dollars a year when he can go for one million?
Whatever the solution, something must be done. A drastic change in how we view our technological world. We have faced worse than this. Why should the human race forget our bodies and drown? We should not forget our fellow brethren, but aid them. The ocean of knowledge will not expand because of our single sacrifice. Moreover, it will decrease, because the sea exists not outside our bodies, but inside them, within our hearts.


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