Sunday, 17 January 2016

Technology is excellent.




Fairly recently I finally got around to watching an American TV show called 'Parks and Recreation'. Partly because two or three different people compared me to Ron Swanson. While it is true that we share a central dilemma of simultaneously advocating a small state, while at the same time being employed by that state, (and a love of single malt and breakfast foods), their is an important point of divergence.

Technology

There is a meme that technology is evil, which persists in both the bottom-left-green and bottom-right-purple segments of political thought. It can be either the right wing Swanson-like libertarians, or the left wing hippies. Both camps seem to want to push this idea that we should be suspicious of technology.

This is figuratively cancer.

Personally, I am more then happy to let Google or Apple have my data. This is how they make money, by showing me targeted ads. I remember the internet before targeted ad's. You don't want that.  Sure, if you want to not carry a smartphone, and not use a variety of platforms on the internet, that is your choice - but please don't expect me not to consider it an eccentric choice.

I do get that some old things are cool. As you will know, I draft all my blog posts in a notebook with a fountain pen, but for data transmission, it has to be digital, right?

What's worse, is when we get a technological fix to a long standing social problem, and people decide to distrust it because it's too easy. You can look at vaping or soylent as examples of this. Sure, they might have some issues. But we can be damn sure that they are better for you then smoking cigarettes or living on fast food.

Some people genuinely seem stuck in this sort of Victorian work ethic mindset, where unless something is hard, grinding, work it's not worth doing. (This explains the enduring popularity of Eve Online, anyway.)

My biggest worry is related to climate change. It looks like it is happening, and we do need to do something about it. But the thing we need to do is not eschew all mod-cons and live in waterwheel powered yurts. We need to find new ways of generating technology, and / or cleaning waste products from the methods we have. I fear that's not going to happen while we still have portions of the population who think it would be lovely to live in a log cabin looking at (or shooting at) wildlife.

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