"Of course, that's just my opinion, and I may
be full of shit"
- Dennis Miller -
Since this opinion was considered in great detail,
it will be difficult to change my mind. However, it's not impossible. I
am always open to reason. I welcome thoughtful, logical, response.
Recorded Sept 15, 1996 - Updated December 1, 1999
I love the advancement of technology, in the same way one loves a work
of art. Every day I wake up to new and challenging ideas, unique creations
built on our expanding knowledge base. Just yesterday I had no idea what
a World Wide Web might be, and today I browse it constantly. How much more
fun can I have?
However, like a work of art, the value of technology is not so easily
measured. Certainly the "Uni-bomber" was misguided, yet there may be value
in the claim that unfettered advancement of technology is not always beneficial.
Should the medical community stop at
nothing? Should we throw together crappy computers that might zap
us in an instant?
As a computer programmer, I find my self spending more and more time
fixing broken tools (leaving time for nothing else) rather than using them
to reach goals. It seems most often my goal is just to get the tools working.
I am overwhelmed, and in great part this is a result of technological advancements
which increase both learning and maintenance work loads.
On the other hand, I do not advocate an abandonment of our toys for
a total return to nature. I love my shower, the ability to edit my writings
(white-out is obsolete), my car, and a vacation in St. Lucia. I used to
love the NBA on TNT, until they went on strike!
As I see it, the problem is twofold: quantity and quality. First, each
new technological feature increases the number of possible conflicts with
other items increases. Second, once a new item is added, it increases your
My current thought is that technological advancement does not
need to be consciously slowed down. Instead we must be more selective in
our adoption of individual technological items. Choose fewer items of better
quality, simultaneously reducing conflicts and maintenance load.
Perhaps by reducing our own intake, through personal quotas, we can
restore our lives to some sort of order which will yield both accomplishment
It is my opinion that everyone needs to consider this issue every time
they consider adding anything new to their life. This means from buying
a new glass for the kitchen cabinet, to a new VCR in the living room; from
adding a third "open MRI machine" in the fifth hospital, to to buying the
most expensive sneakers.
Without constant evaluation in this manor, we seem to naturally get
caught up in the need for the biggest, fastest, latest, best thing, that
more often adds less than it consumes.