Learning

How “good” is technological advancement?

Technology is no longer a choice. But what is the effect on who we are as humans? What is the effect on how we communicate with others? What are the moral implications?

Here is a quote from, of all places, a video game. It points out some interested things about humanity and progress (think Singularity and Ray Kurzweil):

Albert Einstein said: “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of pathological criminal.” Took me awhile, but I finally see his point. How often have we chased the dream of progress, only to see that dream perverted? More often than not, haven’t the machines we built to improve life shattered the lives of millions? And now we want to turn that dream on ourselves, to fundamentally improve who we are. Experience has shown me how dangerous that can be. How many times, in the call of duty, did I almost fall into the trap of taking shortcuts, abusing my abilities or the resources at hand? I resisted – barely at times – because I valued human lives and considerations. But can I truly despise others who fall? Technology offers us strength, strength enables dominance, and dominance paves the way for abuse. Darrow understood this. He knew that using technology to become something more than we are risks losing our ability to love, aspire, or make moral choices – the very things that make us Human. It also risks giving some men the power to make others what they choose – regardless of the cost to human dignity. The suffering Darrow inflicted is not the end of the world. It is merely the seed for change. And change never comes without pain.

Deciding not to blindly follow technological advances would take more than confidence in our day and age. With Nuclear Power coming back into the crossfires (Thorium is now the fuel of choice), the internet being used for amazingly wonderful things as well as phenomenally evil things, Electricity being our greatest achievement and our worst destroyer and technological communication becoming the greatest part of our lives, technology is no longer a choice. The choice is how we use it. And it takes a great deal of confidence to use it wisely.

A wise man once said that we live in the age of Michael (think George and the dragon). The age of the sword. A sword can be used to protect and to kill. Like a knife, which can be used to prepare food or to do harm, internet, telephones, GPS, electricity and just about everything is our lives can be used for good as well as for bad. It is our choice. It is not the knife which kills, it is the person holding it. In the same way, any of the tools we have at our disposal are merely tools. What is important is how we chose to use them. Internet is not the problem, people who choose to use it to do harm are. Technology is not the problem, people who choose to use it to do harm are. And choosing to do good with technology has never been harder. Doing harm is so easy – especially nowadays where it is so removed from my lounge.

The key to not losing touch with who we are as humans is to be aware of the choices we make every day and strive to make those choices consciously for the betterment of ourselves.

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