January 12, 2010

Shocking Future

Are we naive about the radical changes our world is going through? Technology has seen exponential growth in the last ten years. Remember what your cell phone looked like back in 2000? Probably something like this:

Take a look at the phone you own now. The first iPod only held 1,000 songs and weighed ten pounds (not really).  Wikipedia was founded in 2001 and now holds more information than the entire Library of Alexandria ever did. Google is a word now! People ask something like two billion questions a day to the little Google machine. Where did we get information before? I can’t even remember. Everything I could ever want to know is at my finger tips.

I don’t think there has been nearly enough debate about the implications of this. There is lots of talk about how much easier it makes everything and how cool this flashy new Apple toy is but where will it lead? Will we become smarter because we have so much more information readily available? Or, are we trending towards worldwide laziness because we no longer need to trek to the library to find out what we need to know? Will bar bets become non-existent because anyone can just look up what they want to know on their phone? Or, will they just be more easily settled? Where will we be in another ten years? The world needs ground-breaking philosophers more than ever.

P.S. I know I stole this from Alvin Toffler


  1. I think perhaps 'naive' is the wrong term. The consequences even thus far are pretty dramatic and well documented and if you listen to many casual conversations they reference these issues, often in relation to tech or jokingly, without even giving it pause. Awareness is there. The cynical side of me strongly leans towards 'apathetic' (which may itself be a secondary consequence of the tech boom), but then the other part believes it's a clear Pavlov's Hierarchy of Needs situation... in some ways directly ("I invented this tech which is basically useless but *sparkly* and by selling for big $$ I can feed the fam.") and in some ways indirectly (we've become so inextricably connected to tech, just try to tell someone they don't actually need a phone).

    I guess what I'm trying to say (in a round about way, and slightly off topic) is tech isn't really the cause of problems because it isn't a means unto itself; it's our approach to tech. I've lamented for quite some time that we're like kids on a rollercoaster with tech. Stumbling upon something, strapping in a flying by the seat of our negligent bums till we crash or end up somewhere not too far from where we started. We would be much better served if we started with the Hierarchy and sought out an intentional direction first, then increased tech may not pose such cumbersome questions. [End rant...]

  2. I was just thinking yesterday "what did I do before the internet on my phone". It makes us more connected and less human. What will the future hold?

  3. to C D Green... I believe you mean Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? not Pavlovs.

    Technology simply frightens me. But fear excites us doesn't it?


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