There seems to be a somewhat curious conception of technology. In short, it is thought that technology is an extension of human functions, like seeing, hearing, lifting things, etc.
A hammer, a microscope, and forklift are simple linear extensions of human abilities. They are innocent tools to perform human tasks better, that is to say with less effort, more precisely and more effectively.
Ghosts and Witches
This will undoubtedly have been the case in the past, however, modern technology always has an impact on human behavior and relationships. F.i. The invention of electric light has undoubtedly contributed to the elimination of the widespread belief in ghosts and witches.
These days it is hard to imagine that after sunset ghosts float over the heath. This is of course because most people never roamed a heath at night. The whole concept of invisible beings no longer exists as they are used to that there is always and everywhere light.
If we would like to reflect on the consequences of modern technology, we are thus trapped in a kind of conceptual blindness.
How to escape from this ignorance? We still miss tools to do that properly and systematically.
A thought experiment
We did a thought experiment. All airports, ministries and many companies nowadays have electronic security gates.
It is a perfectly logical development. Electronic security gates are more reliable, non-corruptible, cheaper than human security guards, fewer queues. But what would today’s society have looked like if security gates had not been technologically feasible or economically cost-effective?
We assume that much less of no security gates would have been rigged anywhere. We expect the entire rigged security industry would be half the current size. Perhaps we have also to conclude that the simple, inexpensive brought of security technology has led to an exaggerated preoccupation with security.
Technology is therefore not a one-sided linear phenomenon, but something that refers back to the (social relationships between) people.
Every technological invention creates a dynamic system of interactions and feedback loops with society. With new technology, it is therefore important to make an attempt to visualize the dynamic system that is evoked by the new technology.
To think about
To enhance sensibility to the personal and societal impact of technology, you might reflect on these 7 Biggest Technology Trends In 2020 Everyone Must Get Ready For Now
- 5G data networks
- Autonomous Driving
- Personalized and predictive medicine
- Computers that recognize people, behaviors, things, relations
- Extended Reality
- Blockchain Technology
In the following posts we will attempt to discover parallels between modern technologies and the natural world.
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