Friday, 12 May 2017

Technology Rush

Beavers dam rivers, birds build nests and chimpanzees use sticks to get ants but there is something different about the way we make and use technology.

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”  ~ Thomas A. Edison

"Technology is the craft of science"

We explore, tinker, experiment and try stuff out in a feedback loop that dampens that which doesn't work and amplifies that which does work - forever building the next generation of technology on the successes and failures of the last generation.

“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us."

Like it or not technology has come to define what it means to be a human being - like a spider and its web we are symbiotic with technology and each generation of technology extends our web - it extends what is possible and what yet might become possible.

Technology drive
It could almost be argued that technology is a core human drive an "excitatory state produced by a homeostatic disturbance ... an instinctual need that has the power of driving the behaviour of an individual." Its certainly true that many of us seek technology and are excited by it .. unfortunately for some its like an addiction ... they are never satisfied they need to seek out technology ... any new technology just to get a rush.

Our technology drive depends a lot on our age and our circumstances:

1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”
~ Douglas Adams The Salmon of Doubt

Children take to technology "like ducks to water" ... its just natural and they just play with it. 

There are those among us who cannot help playing .. exploring, experimenting and having fun throwing stuff against the wall to see if it will stick. These are the experimenters and innovators .. the people we depend on to develop our technology ... the people we depend on to extend our capabilities.

For many among us technology just brings out the inner child ... you know the phrase "toys for boys" ... for those (usually men) who have just got to have the latest shiny gadget ... for no particular reason .... just because "Iphone therefore I am."

"The Next Big Thing"
The stone axe, the spear, the arrow .. there is no doubt that technology gives those who have it an advantage .. just consider how the Mongols built an empire with one technological breakthrough

There are those among us who see the new technology being played with by the experimenters and innovators and apply it.

There are those among us who seek technology that can help us all. Take for example the story of how a 13-year-old Selam who had to many spend hours and walk many miles every day just to get water for her family from a water hole that is dirt and full of leeches. Technology allowed them to drill for water nearby .. now she no longer "has to spend all day collecting water" giving her the time and energy to study to become a nurse. You can see Selam's story in 360 degree video or in virtual reality if you have a viewer in the video The Source.

Technology amplifies us and there are of course those among us who seek to amplify an advantage ... those who seek wealth and power - the business person, the politician. Being part of the next big thing can lead to great personal wealth and power ... this is what drives some people ... this is the technology drive for some - Technology Is The Fastest Way For 20-Year-Olds To Get Rich. While technology can amplify the few  .. we must be wary of its effects on the many - we must be wary of technology amplifying inequality.

Image  Bryan Mathers

"It takes all sorts to make a world" 
It takes all sorts to make a world and it takes all sorts to make and use technology - the playful experimenter, the philanthropic developer, the business developer and the "sceptical laggards" who quite rightly resist and raise questions about technology and put the brakes on.

Everyone plays their part in the technology game - we are all part of the drive and the checks and balances that balance the bad with the good and hopefully help stop us fast forwarding over a cliff!

Google Maps sends flood of tourists wrong way in Norway

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