a reply to: BrokenCircles
Better Technology = Better Life
This is a surprisingly complicated topic.
Of course it's obvious that compared to 'olden times with no technology' (or primitive technology at best), modern times have brought many blessings
to the everyday life. No longer does a task like cooking food require you to manually carry water from a well or a lake, to cut down trees and then
chop them to smaller pieces just to get a fire going, and I don't even want to mention laundry.
Running water, ovens and stoves, washing machines, dryers, and so forth and so on, have greatly improved the quality of life for most people. They
have also diminished the time required to make a meal or do the laundry. Now it takes a couple of hours to wash and dry laundry, when it was a whole
huge project back in the day with having to wash clothes in the right spot of a river, and drying them was a whole other thing that could take the
whole day, night and better part of the next day.
This makes it very easy to think that more tech is better life. No one can really deny that technology -has- been a big blessing for people, and made
life so very much easier, healthier and more sanitary as well.
However, as we can see, technology is like money or any other form of energy (yes, you can think of money as 'energy'); it has its uses, but it can
also hurt you.
The same metal can be molded into spoons or guns (well, I am sure there are specialized metals for different purposes, but I want to keep things
simple). So technology can both help and destroy. It can elevate, free and push down and oppress. Energy can be used for good and evil, just like
money or even fire.
Fire can be very useful when it's the servant, but when it becomes the master, it can be incredibly destructive.
Technology is the same way. In a good world, this technology level would not have been molded into 'smartphones', but something better and more
beneficial for all humanity, not just selfish gits that want to show their butts to Teslacams while taking selfies when drunk.
To me, it's quite incredible all the things a computer can do, and how little of that potential the masses are even aware of, and how much CPU power
is utterly wasted on trivial crap that never reaches even 1% of the computer's potential. Whether it's a dedicated desktop PC or a 'sumaho', as the
japanese call it, makes no difference. It's like a grandma that only uses a web browser on a two-thousand dollar PC that could do SO many things even
if we only think about the creative possibilities, and even only take -one- avenue of creativity, like music or graphics. Most people don't use PCs to
create music, graphics, animation or program something fun by themselves. To me, this is shocking and appalling.
At the same time, it's easy to realize that it's not always the technology's fault. There are -amazing- protocols for communication, with pure text,
or text and voice, or text, voice and video, or even in some kind of 'virtual reality' way. People can share pictures, videos, animations, songs,
music, books, comis, whatever they find interesting. And what is most of that bandwidth used for?
If we left the tech exactly as-is, but replaced the population with actually GOOD human beings, what a paradise this planet would be! How amazing all
that tech would be, you can reach someone in Australia or Hong Kong in seconds, and talk with them.
But because people are what they are, the experience is not allways all that elevating. You can play amazing games only to hear people tell you to end
yourself or that you are a failed abortion, or whatnot. If people were civil to each other, those games would be a heaven.
Perhaps it's better that it is this way, though, because if people were good, technology would be too easy to sink your whole life in - you could just
play some game all the time and never quit. But because people are jerks, they get on your nerves and push you out of the game, so you can actually
exist in the reality.
Looks like most people don't like reality as much as they like their glowing rectangles, so we are in a situation, where people have given their souls
to technology, and the technology is all too happy to addict them and imprison them.
Sometimes you feel you are completely alone, when masses of cellphone-zombies surround you, not noticing the traffic or beauty of nature around them,
because staring at a rectangle is their 'new normal', and it's more important to see pixels than the surrounding environment for some reason..
Technology can be used to oppress and free, it's sad how efficient it can be when oppressing people, in a seemingly subtle way. You don't need metal
chains around people's ankles, when people put themselves to this small rectangle-shaped prison - a prison for their mind. What does it matter if
they're physically free, if their whole existence happens within a tiny rectangle as far as their minds are concerned anyway?
It seems there's time-saving, liberating technology like a dishwasher or a coffee maker, but then there's also time-wasting, imprisoning technology,
like... well, I think by now everyone knows what I mean.
In the end, technology can be a great liberator and a great oppressor, and in this world, it has been proven to be both very efficiently. It's
ultimately up to us to liberate ourselves or imprison ourselves, technology doesn't make that decision for us.
I am not sure if that's a consoling or a really scary thought, when I look around..