Technology

Technology (techno-logos) is applying shared understanding into creating tools, and technological progress involves removing increasingly more portions of the unknown from our daily activities.

Most modern use of the word is referring to “high-tech” things or, more specifically, computers. But, “technology” can apply to many tools. Most of these tools can layer onto other tools:

  • Sticks to make fire, a fire, a lantern, and an oven’s pilot light.
  • A toothbrush, a bristle maker, plastic molds, and a packing machine.
  • Engine designing software, machining tools, a forge, coal mining equipment, and a lever.

The layers of tools create a “chain” that can’t be easily broken. For example, a computer’s hardware requires many prerequisite technologies that work their way into many specializations:

  1. Mining sand
  2. Mining copper
  3. Mining aluminum
  4. Refining silicon
  5. Refining copper
  6. Refining aluminum
  7. Making copper wiring of various sizes and durability
  8. Everything behind consistently generating 2.5 volts of continuous electricity
  9. Everything behind making semiconductors
  10. Soldering, with the technologies behind making all its tools

By using technology, we can do less work to achieve more results:

  • Writing words requires tapping a finger instead of chiseling rock or mixing paint by hand and rubbing it on a wall.
  • Moving boulders requires operating controls with our hands instead of lifting with our whole body.
  • Transporting ourselves requires operating controls with our hands and feet instead of running or using a trained animal.
  • We can gain much quicker understanding by using media to create and share things.
  • By storing media, we can use technology to remember things so we don’t have to. Or, more often, send a good story to others.

From one development to the next, these magnifications give an exponential yield. One person with today’s technology has more power for some purposes than an entire village 500 years ago, and someone 500 years from now will appear to us as if they were magicians.

In effect, technology empowers civilization:

  • 90% of society were farmers, but now everyone can specialize in what they want to do.
  • The averaged-out food supply and quality of life for every person keep increasing.
  • Fossil fuels replaced coal, and something else will replace it when it becomes more useful.

Technology makes our world cleaner, more productive, and wealthier. It allows us to fix “unfixable problems“, assuming political systems permit those technologies to flourish.

Technological development is fueled the most by capitalism (because people want to benefit from what they make) and science. Most societies who don’t embrace both of these will often steal those ideas from other societies who do.

Of course, while technology adds wealth, it creates more inequality. A few people with a complex tool that can perform the work of hundreds is guaranteed to have more power than a hundred people without that tool.

Contrary to the mindsets of leftism or libertarian paternalism, technological progress can only be nurtured, and can’t be rushed.

Odd Behavior

Frequently, when we operate technology, we do things we normally wouldn’t for that specific purpose. We may use a specific computer language to process logic instead of pondering, swap out components on a compressor to preserve our food, or attach cables together to cut holes in a wall.

Most people become so habituated to those odd behaviors that they lose track of what the original task required. In that sense, cultures with more technology often have less understanding of how to directly do things.

People born into a technologically-advanced culture will naturally pick up skills tied to it from early childhood onward, and advanced technological leaps can will create generational culture differences.

Trust

We tend to expect more out of ourselves and others when we’re using technology. Since we trusted it more than we realized, we tend to feel lost and helpless when that technology.

Typically, people treat a technological thing as a separate entity with its own essence. A created thing, however, can only operate under the purpose of its creator or user. Even if it’s taught to learn for itself (e.g., artificial intelligence), it’ll still only learn within the scope of its instructions and never self-determine.

We also tend to separate technology from the rest of nature. Even though we’re using natural resources, steel and plastic often feel “fake” by comparison from how well-crafted they are. This is only an illusion based on our interpretation of order.

Very frequently, if we grew up our entire lives around a specific technology, we have a difficult time imagining life without it. Someone with enough experience without a technology can understand what it’s like, but everyone else in that culture will presume the technology is always available and feel safer not thinking about it.

Usage

Since technology is sophisticated, clever, and designed more around intuition than force, its “gender” is female. Men and women alike use it (and its venture into the unknown makes it often a male-dominated workforce), but it always requires more finesse and intricacy than working without it.

Technology is the outflow of a type of “laziness”. Instead of doing something in a more difficult way, we can simplify our time by doing it another way or using an unconventional thing.

One of the most dominant forms to manipulate a technology is through “energy”, which is an abstracted form of power that makes that technology work. This is bound to whatever physical engineering happens to be the most efficient for the time.

Any object, technology or non-, can be purposed by a creative inventor to solve their problem. Intelligence determines how fast we discover things that make us work better and faster, but everyone eventually streamlines their work if they’re exposed to more productive tools for long enough.

Advanced tools usually function as a more refined purpose of something already in nature:

  • Whips recreate the motion of throwing a ball.
  • Wheels recreate the motion of running, but along a circle.
  • Gears imitate interlocking fingers.
  • Cameras are elaborate recreations of eyes.
  • Computers are distilled recreations of the logic part of our brains.

Once a technology has entered the public consciousness and been proven to work, it becomes an established “fact“. Even when that technology is phased out from a better one, it’ll always have specific uses.

Culture

The things we build are often rebuilt and improved later for a specialization. Entire communities often arise out of a shared purpose to create and improve something, often with specific cultural values revolving around working with it.

New technology culturally disseminates as a social trend. Innovators adopt it first, then the majority adopts it for various reasons. There will always be laggards who refuse to adopt the technology, frequently on moral grounds.

All technology becomes progressively more reliable, up to a point. After that, the trade-offs to make it more reliable aren’t worth the cost. If a specific technology is relatively new but revolutionary, people won’t care and will use it even when it’s not reliable.

We change to conform to our environment. If we expose ourselves frequently to a certain technology, we’ll adapt to reasoning that harmonizes with that technology’s design.

Frequently, technology can replace the physical problems we have in our environment with a vast array of psychological problems instead.

Destruction

Technology’s power magnifies everything, including moral decisions. Some technology is created to destroy (e.g., explosives, guns), but people can use just about anything for a destructive purpose if they want. But, public discussions about the moral implications of new technology often arise after the trend has taken hold.

Frequently, leaders declare certain technologies (e.g., weapons, drugs) evil from their capacity to destroy. Sometimes they’ll control them, and other times ban them. But, if someone is creative enough with other technology, they can usually get around the rules (e.g., 3D-printed guns).

Often, because of the way technologies develop, they create waste, though the technology is usually far better than the downsides of its pollution. Like any other creation, refining the technology can remove that waste, but most of the creators don’t care about the damage they inflict while creating. There’s no reliable way to regulate this without stifling the creative process until the technology has reached a full maturity.

Further, technologies make us weak. We sacrifice the opportunity cost of lifting weights, working hard, and finding creative solutions to mechanical limits when our lives are easier.

Technology itself, since it’s a form of understanding, is also fragile. Every great inventor’s death robs the rest of the world of a small portion of that collective body of knowledge. While we can encode that information into a media for others to consume, people must re-learn that information or it will be lost until someone else re-invents it someday.

Limits

When people become aware of the fragility of technology, they tend to become very afraid. This resonates in popular culture, usually in the broad genre of “apocalypse” stories. What they don’t see is that various specializations can converge together again in a crisis and that humanity is very resourceful, so the unknown provides both good and bad consequences.

People also often fear that technology could create its own purpose against humanity (e.g., Terminator movies). But, no created thing makes its own decisions. Even with machine learning, the creation is following complex instructions, so its decisions are never truly independent.

Technology can never fully replace human creativity unless it were able to synthesize feelings-based logic like we do. Without it, the fastest computer can only stay confined to conventional methods.

While some people inclined toward technology find comfort in technology fully replacing in-person interaction, it’s impossible without absurdly more powerful computers because we send a lot of information back-and-forth with tons of context that draws from the entire interaction, and includes a prioritized forgetting matrix to remove information proportionally to how far back it is and how it’s no longer useful. Even with something like a “hard” hologram, we’d always intuitively know a person isn’t there.

Drawbacks

Technology helps us dramatically to accomplish purposes, but it’s awful at helping us define them. People inundated with technology, especially information technology, tend to lose themselves in an existential fog until they discover their essence outside of that technology again.

Technology is also tremendous power, often more than we can safely handle. A public means to communicate across vast distances with many people immediately, for example, means some immature people should more thoroughly consider what they’re saying before using it, and people can inadvertently destroy their lives by one careless gesture.

Technology requires information to understand and invent. People often confine information to compete with others, so the capacity for innovation is always severely limited compared to what it could be. Frequently, people will invent the same thing at the same time when they didn’t have to!

As technology develops, it makes some roles obsolete, especially through automation. Automation frees up people from tasks and, at the same time, there are as-of-yet unseen purposes those people can fulfill instead.

People tend to use technology to define their understanding of the world. For this reason, the in-depth masters of a technology are subjected and relegated to the fashions of their time.


Application

The power to make things is more important than the things themselves.

Everything in the computer industry moves so rapidly that technologies never stay around long enough to be stable. Instead, by the time they’re stable, they’re old and outdated. Thus, computer specialists are always working with low-quality, useful tools that will be obsolete in a few years.

Whatever someone does for a living profoundly changes how they think. People in dangerous jobs are familiar with death. Professional drivers think sequentially. Computer programmers think of all possible scenarios for things. Accountants think and rethink things through.

Even archaic technology, such as vinyl records or horse-drawn carriages, is always useful in an unusual niche that can’t be matched by anything more advanced. Barring the destruction of knowledge, we only add technology but never remove it.

Don’t blame technology, blame the user. This applies to guns, written publications, and any trendy tech. There’s a good and productive use for every evil application of technology.

If we’re not careful or wise, technology can rapidly break things. Be very cautious when you use its power, especially when it can affect an entire group!

Technology has allowed the average college student today to have more knowledge than Socrates or Josephus. This doesn’t reflect as wisdom because understanding requires things affecting our intuition for our souls to recognize it.

At one time in the 1800s, people perceived the mind as a mechanical object, and has lately been perceived as a computer. The fashion will change once something is more advanced than a computer.

In a perfect society, technology would be freely shared. We can never live in one until everyone trusts each other, which can only happen when people stop making evil decisions. But, each person can have a publicly accessible commonplace book or technological toolbox until then.

Technology doesn’t necessarily fix our problems, and sometimes can make them worse. We must use it in its time and place to find meaning and live the good life.

With the exception of changing human nature, the most technologically advanced society would be very capitalistic and lean very heavily into scientific values.

All social class divides are defined by energy scarcity. It may come in the form of electricity or oil right now, but can also be light, flowing water, atomic isotopes, hydrogen, or coal.

At one point, surveying land and trigonometry were the critical skills for most disciplines in the age of Rockefeller. As of right now, in the information age, it’s statistics. In 100 years, it may be game theory for AI.

Large systems will often try to stall or steal technology from other groups. If they don’t succeed, their influence and importance dies. If they do, they can slow the trend indefinitely.

Some people want to keep their job, even after technology took it away. They’re fighting a losing battle, but are usually too set in their ways to change. Many political organizations like unions and politicians can benefit those people, but are only stalling the trend.

In a fully just society, the people who replace other’s roles with technology should find creative solutions for what they can do instead. This is often a difficult task that requires plenty of consideration, and requires that people have compassion on the least-qualified individuals in society.

People tend to take technology for granted, especially when they’re young. By comparing how lifestyles exist with various degrees of technology, we can understand the easiest way to live for various circumstances.

Political and military power comes through technology. You can travel wherever you want with the right vehicles and spread information wherever you want with the right computer systems.