Friday, November 14, 2008

Are We There Yet?

Kia ora tātou - Hello everyone
A stylistic view of a human brain from above

I am always fascinated with technological advancement. In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed amazing developments in tools. Next to my fascination for new tools is my curiosity about why, with all the tools we have today, people are still moaning about us being behind the times.

We have people who write posts pressing us to give up using books. They see them as stone-age content containers. We have people who wonder if we should give up using paper. It’s seen as a bygone technology that has no place where we are going. There's some merit in all of those ideas.

I dropped in on Darren Draper’s wonderful post, “We’re almost there”, and left a comment:

We ARE in 2008, yet we pine for an age that hasn't arrived.

It is about perception. We have not yet come to grips with the idea that, though technology has advanced, the human frame has not.

To cope with and project for the twentyfirst
century, needs not only different education, but a whole shift in how we operate as individuals and as communities. Though the technology has given us the tools, our own biological limitations keep us in limbo.

And yes, we get frustrated. For humans CAN fantasise about what COULD be. That's why we are able to progress. Just the same number of years back into the twentieth century and we did not have computers as we know them today. We did not have the Internet the way it is today. We did not have blogging or Twitter or Seesmic – or YouTube.

But you know the funny thing? I was in school in the 60s. They taught me all I needed, to cope with how to use the technology of the twentyfirst century, which is why I'm blogging today. That’s why I use Google. That’s why I embed YouTube videos into my blog posts.

The technology permitted the blogging. It was not my ability (or lack of it). If blogging had been around when I had just left school, I would still have been able to do it - FACT.

We have an arrogant opinion of ourselves. We think that because we have invented wonderful technology - and we have - that the way we think and the way we work as communities should also have improved by leaps and bounds. Get real. This is the twentyfirst century.

And this is the reality of the twentyfirst century. We have the technology. For as much as we'd like to, we just don't have the brains yet.

Haere rā - Farewell


Andrea said...

This is so right on. I think a lot about all this, as well. My take, in a nutshell, is this-- we humans thrive on solving problems. Call it progress, human nature, evolution, technology, desire...We imagine and create, fill a need, make life better or easier, and, in so doing, we create new problems. We can only see so far ahead and can't foresee the new problem we create with the solution to the old problem. It's just the way it is.
I like what you said about how our human biology is part of the reason we can't keep up with technology.

Laurie said...

You said it so well:

We have the technology. For as much as we'd like to, we just don't have the brains yet.

And Andrea added:

We can only see so far ahead and can't foresee the new problem we create with the solution to the old problem.

There are those who are adept at thinking and imagining into the future, but they are few and far between. My husband just related the tale of Kodak and how the company ignored the early digital cameras, thinking the technology would not evolve fast enough or strong enough to impact their business model. Ha, did they goof and then have to quickly play catch up. Need I also mention the meddle which our U.S. auto makers have gotten themselves into because they had the technology but refused to think into the future…

And then there's one of the headline stories in today's NY Times: Green Is for Sissies, a story about ExxonMobil that may make your heart sink (as it did mine). I placed a tinyurl link to it at the end of this post.

The technology exists, but it's the interpretation of how to best use it that makes the difference. And of course, we don't all agree on that interpretation ;-)



Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēnā kōrua, Andrea and Laurie.

Hey this will do!

Andrea - like Laurie, I just love that line of yours "we... ...can't foresee the new problem we create with the solution to the old problem." It would appear that we've a bit to go yet. But we can have fun getting there :-)

Laurie - thanks for the enlightening link to the site about Exxon. I find that a bit depressing, but was partly aware of this sort of thing over a decade ago.

I think it was when Wellington (Harbour) had a visit from The Rainbow Warrior that I had my eyes opened to this sort of thing. I was introduced to the stunning fact that the major sponsors for research and development into solar power alternatives to traditional energy sources were the oil companies!

I thought, if ever there was a case of hunting with the hounds and running with the hare, that was.

Ka kite