Technology is at once a hugely constructive and a hugely destructive force, and for the most part we have been content to ignore the latter while enjoying the benefits of the former. But, suggests Ian Michler, it’s high time that we begin to think seriously – and innovatively – about tempering its damaging effects. From ‘The Ecologist’.
Let’s look at some of the high-tech developments that we take for granted, like the combustion engine, super-tankers, plastic products, splitting the atom, deep mining techniques, drug manufacture and space travel. When they arrived on the scene they were all major advances, technologies that would make our lives easier and more successful. And, if we ignore everything but the direct impact they have had on individual lives, mostly they have done that. As time has passed, though, we now know that when viewed collectively as the primary components of our means of production and consumption – in other words, our global footprint – their impact on the planet has been hugely significant and ultimately negative.
Driven by the notion that a constantly increasing rate of economic growth is the overriding marker of a successful society, developing or purchasing more advanced technologies has become fundamental to fulfilling this aim. And with the array of new tools at our disposal, we have been able to reach further, deeper and higher into every imaginable ecosystem and exploit more effectively every possible resource. History indicates that most engineers or scientists side with the vested interests of the day, and it is also apparent that each generation of innovators has failed to consider the contraindications or long-term consequences of their technologies. Spare a thought for the generation 50 years hence and what it may have to deal with because of today’s scientists who are forging ahead with genetic engineering. After well over a century of this developmental model, it is now difficult to argue that the world’s natural systems – so vital for our survival – are not faltering.
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- Slice of History: Advanced Ocean Technology Development Platform (blogs.jpl.nasa.gov)
- Donovan Data Systems and MediaBank Merge to Form MediaOcean, the Largest Independent Advertising Technology Company in the World (prnewswire.com)
- Technology of Ideas TedxAmsterdan [Andre Biester] (ecademy.com)
- In Planning Digital Defenses, the Biggest Obstacle Is Human Ingenuity (nytimes.com)
- Roundtable on Engineering Entrepreneurship Research (kauffman.org)
- TVS Motor develops technology to usher in common engine for two-wheelers (thehindu.com)
- Swirling currents help spread sea life (msnbc.msn.com)
- New Director for NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (uwtreasures.wordpress.com)
- Nodes, Sensors, and Internet Access at the Bottom of the Ocean (singularityhub.com)