But the deeper reason is that there’s really no such thing as a natural resource. All resources are artificial. They are a product of technology. And economic growth is ultimately driven, not by material resources, but by ideas.
~ Jason Crawford from https://longnow.org/ideas/02022/10/07/can-economic-growth-continue-over-the-long-term/
A few years ago my thinking shifted. I used to think of something, simply by its existence, as being a “natural resource.” More recently I’ve begun to pay attention to which, and how much, technology has to be added for something to be a resource. Anything in the ground has no special value until someone adds the mining or drilling, the refinement, distribution and so on. That makes it clearer how to evaluate the trade-offs.
It becomes easier to visualize, and realize, that the constraints are not the amount of the natural resource (the raw stuff) but rather that the limits are all the expense, destruction, energy, transformation, and ideas that have to go into making that raw stuff usable. And sometimes, it’s just not the right trade-off to make a something into something useable.
HomeNet could be (and has been) interpreted as an indictment of the internet, or screens, or modern communications technology in general. In truth, it illustrates a much simpler truth about love and happiness: Technology that crowds out our real-life interaction with others will lower our well-being and thus must be managed with great care in our lives. In order to reap their full benefits, we should use digital tools in ways that enhance our relationships.
~ Arthur C. Brooks from, https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2022/09/technology-happiness-communication-relationships/671586/
I’m reminded of some comments by Rafe Kelley.
If junk food is flavor divorced from nutrition, then pornography is sexuality divorced from the context of relationships. Video games are thrill divorced from physicality. And so you take these boys who have this inherent aggression and you let them play Fortnite, and they can play all day without any self-regulation from having the physical demands of actual rough and tumble play. The problem is that it so easily out-competes the actual thing that we need, which is the real physical play.
~ Rafe Kelley from a video short from an Instagram post, so I’ll just link you to his Evolve. Move. Play. project.
Brooks and Kelley are talking about different technologies, but I think they’re both pointing toward the “divorce” being the actual issue. The arrival in the living room (mentioned by Brooks) divorced [I’ll say] the mental stimulation from the other people in the house.
There is a part of you that will *become* your job/profession.
~ Toby Nagle from, https://principlesandinterest.wordpress.com/2017/07/06/20-years-in/
That’s number 7 from his 10-point listicle.
Also: I’ve taken to using the word “listicle” only when I mean it as a compliment. Versus, my perception that everyone else means it as derogatory. I think that being able to organize one’s writing into a coherent, ordered list of things all of which are on roughly equal footing, shows a significant level of comprehension and integration. Most short writings which have a numbered list of points are crappy click-bait, and people rightly derogate them. This is not that, so there. (English is a mess, but ain’t finger-painting fun?i)
As for technology, my working definition is: “a tool that radically solves problems.” After all, technology pre-dates scientific knowledge (and mathematics), as does engineering. Indeed, the printing press was once technology, as was writing — as was the wheel. If your technology is not radically solving a problem, perhaps it isn’t technology. Perhaps it is simply software, or simply a business on the internet. Food for thought.
~ Kanyi Maqubela from, https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/what-is-technology/
I don’t recall having actually wondered what, specifically, constitutes technology. Upon reading this, I thought about it…
Let’s see, what is a screw driver? Well, that’s obviously a tool. It drives screws. Is a screw an example of a technology? …yeah, I suppose so. And what, really, is a screw? It’s an application of the concept of an inclined plane. So I came up with: A tool is a thing which operates some technology—it facilitates me applying the technology to some situation. And the technology is the application of some knowledge. Printing presses and pencils are tools; they facilitate the technology of writing. It’s interesting to note that each tool is itself composed of multiple technologies. All of which gives humanity a woven, layered-up, system of technology, tools, technology, tools.
Food for thought, indeed.
What follows is an attempt to consider some of the aspects and implications of techno-optimism. It is an attitude that has become somewhat taken for granted, which is precisely why it is important to consider what it is and how it functions.
~ “Z.M.L” from, https://librarianshipwreck.wordpress.com/2021/06/10/theses-on-techno-optimism/
This is an interesting thesis. I generally don’t like creating new labels for things. But “techno-optimism” just weaseled into my vocabulary.