Can We Have Too Much Technology?

Kevin Kelly over at the Technium continues to throw out the raw meat, asking the question Is there a reason to diminish technology? Like many, Kelly is a obviously a dyed-wool technologist - lots, more, and often is his perspective but he fairly probes for the counterarguments. He found four, can you find more?KK presents four viewpoints for limiting technological improvements - these are summarized below:

Contrary to Nature
Here, Kelly suggests that Technology is produced at the expense of nature because it does bad things to the planet - habitats get destroyed, forest get cut down; oil is made into plastics and burned into the air. This kills species and consumes large amounts of energy which alters the climate.

Contrary to Humans
The argument here is that technology separates us from nature, which puts us out of touch with nature and makes us behave selfishly and maybe stupidly. Technology encourages consumption and makes us greedy, unhappy, impatient, and a ton of other things.

Contrary to Technology Itself
The assertion is that technology changes so fast that its going to self-destruct and is outstripping our means for regulating it; new technologies such as robotics, nanotech, and genetic engineering are particularly salient in this regard. Being unmanageable, these technologies may very well destroy us all.

Contrary to God
The last one is that technology is simply evil - bombs, guns, toxins, drugs, land mines are designed to bring about chaos, and that right soon. These technologies amplify violence as part of their very nature. Evil, evil, evil.

Kelly opens a good debate here on what it means to be tool-using species and poses a central environmental question; can we seek our collective figurative and literal salvations in churning out more technologies? On one hand, if we are to survive an eventual meteor hit or the death of the sun we clearly need to get moving on lots of new and novel tech. On the other hand, you might agree with Andre Gregory when he states in My Dinner With Andre

But I mean, the thing is, Wally, I think it's the exaggerated worship of science that has led us into this situation. I mean, science has been held up to us as a magical force that would somehow solve everything, but quite the contrary, it's done quite the contrary, it's destroyed everything. So, that is what has really led, I think, to this very strong, deep reaction against science that we're seeing now.

There are of course several perspectives between these two - what is yours? The Technium
Appropriate Technology
Those Low tech Amish
Our Low Tech Jury Rigged Future
Can You Survive the Heat Death of the Universe?

Tags: Appropriate Technology | One Planet Living | Technology

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