Sunday, November 23, 2014

#328 / Does High Tech Map An Escape From Doom?

Last week, Scientific American suggested that technology might very well provide an escape from doom (though maybe not from the kind of doom listed in the Universal Map of Doom that I highlighted yesterday): 

In a few years manufacturing and resource exploitation might be highly localized, services automated, employee productivity and consumer sentiment highly transparent and predictable, and human enhancement widespread.
You can click this link to check out the article, which was entitled "5 Hard Questions about Emerging Technologies We Can't Afford Not to Ask."

The focus in the Scientific American article was on "human enhancement," and the magazine opines that technology can do an awful lot to make human enhancement more "widespread."

The supposedly "hard questions" posed by Scientific American, however, are really just inquiries into the details of how technology will be deployed. The article does not ask whether the World of Nature, upon which our world is completely dependent, is going to continue to support the demands that humans are making on it, and whether new and emerging technologies are going to address this problem.

The "dooms" mapped out in the Universal Map of Doom are ones that derive from our human efforts to ignore the laws and limits of the Natural World. Our technologies, in fact, often convince us that these laws and limits don't apply to us.

If we don't pay attention to the laws and limits of the World of Nature, no "technology" is going to save us from doom, or lead us towards any "human enhancement." 

Our "enhancement," in the end, cannot come at the expense of Nature. That's because, as Conservation International is right to keep reminding us, Nature doesn't need us. We need Nature

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  1. We don't "need" nature. We're *part* of nature! Science is precisely the exploration of the "laws and limits of the natural world". Technology is just the application of that knowledge for practical purposes. Technology and nature are not antithetical. Your theory of "two worlds" and the discoveries and philosophy of modern science are antithetical.

  2. The "5 questions" in what once was "Scientific American," are absurd projections of present conditions into the future. They assume that present society will continue indefinitely into the future, and the technology, as we know it today will continue indefinitely as well.

    This turns out not top be the case.

    We are at Peak Energy, at this moment. We will never have as much energy available for human technological and economic growth as at this moment, let alone more. Technology of the future will be simpler, less energy intensive and concentrated among an small elite class. Everyone else will be living as we lived 100 years ago, if not earlier.

    It's not doom, unless today's concept of progress is the only definition of moving forward. Things will be different, and, in my opinion, better.

    Science is the exploration of laws and limits of the material world, which is a subset of the natural world. Science leaves out the subjective world, since it is non-material, and non-verifiable. This doesn't mean, however, that it is not real, but perhaps, as we are beginning to discover, more real than the material world.


Thanks for your comment!