Given my slowing evolving series on “Tech is Destroying Humanity,” I felt it necessary to provide a bit of explanation as to why I’m hatin’ on tech. Here goes.
Generally speaking, technology has always advanced civilization (e.g., the Bronze Age, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and so on). Consider the Industrial Revolution, a profoundly transformative time in both a technical sense and an environmental/social sense. Later, the development of transistors, communication technologies, construction techniques – these, and many others, were all “enablers;” they created opportunities, they reduced hardship, time, labor, and effort. The development of computing has had similar, and arguably more powerful, effects. Computers have replaced tremendous amounts of tedious human effort with CPU time – they have been programmed to take operations we have always done manually and do more of them, faster, and without error.
Fast-forward to now (2018) and think about what computing is doing these days. Yes, it is still an enabler , but it is now replacing not just effort, but thought – and that is why this tech is different. We are programming computers to become intelligent. To achieve cognition. To be our peers. Technology has become so advanced that the “machines” we develop aren’t just autonomously mechanical anymore, they are intelligent. Before, we replaced labor with technology. Now, we are replacing thought – the very underpinning that separates the human race from the rest of the animal kingdom. What’s more troubling is that we are blindly barreling down this path of obsolescing ourselves.
So, while technology is great, and I am a huge fan of it, I think we need to be very mindful of where we are evolving it to in today’s world.
 We are starting to move toward a technological state that enables one to experience life virtually, rather than for real. Why waste time travelling to Egypt to see and experience some of the greatest examples of ancient history when you can just lie on the couch with a VR rig and bag of chips.
4 thoughts on “Why you gotta hate on tech? This is why”
I’ve been pondering the tweet below and I think the last line offers a direct challenge to the problem you describe.
“For a few centuries man has tried to make himself like a machine.
He’s learned to arrive on time. He’s learned to repeat after teacher.
He’s learned to do repetitious tasks reliably.
Machines are now better at being machines than man is.
Man must now relearn how to be man.”
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I like this, but am confused by the line, “Machines are now better at being machines than man is.” I get man wanting to emulate machine in the sense of repeatabiity, exactitude, endurance, and so on. But, did man ever surpass machine in this sense?, which is what that line implies. I’d say the traditional abilities of machines are proliferating, well-beyond what man can do – speed, precision, scale, etc. More critically, new abilities are emerging, ones that are on a path toward some level of conigition. I agree completely with the last line, “Man must now relearn how to be man” because man is relying too much on machine and less on his/herself.
I’m glad that the final line resonates with you too. I see your question about the implications of the earlier line. I can’t be sure what the author intended, but a few thoughts from my fuel cell manufacturing days come to mind. Some of the most difficult operations were still done by hand because a machine with those capabilities would be too expensive to build or the inputs were too variable and needed to be hand-fitted. So, a human was the most flexible machine. But if a machine can be programmed with vision to deal with more varied inputs, perhaps it can now be a better machine than a human. Think about those robots by Boston Robotics that walk in humanoid or animal gait patterns and deal with highly variable environments. Perhaps these are good examples of machines that are now better at being machines than humans.
Check that. Boston Dynamics: https://www.youtube.com/user/BostonDynamics