Technological Crucifix

Douthwaite claims that technological fixes temporarily solve social problems and buy time for implementing interdisciplinary solutions. Yet according to Johnston, “technological fixes” originate from those in society who wield technology and therefore “can disfavor groups or environments that are not identified as the intended beneficiaries” (Johnston, 53). Johnston additionally warns against short-term technological fixes because they camouflage the true sources of problems and may delay the implementation of suitable solutions. Also critiquing Douthwaite’s ideas, the Huesemann text demonstrates that the universe, through quantum mechanics and evolutionary processes, has uncertainty and randomness. This lack of order begs the question of whether human “fixes” are ever knowledgeable enough to avoid unforeseen consequences (Huesemann, 13). Johnston and the Huesemanns agree that technological fixes are a hazardous reductionist tool that oversimplifies the multifaceted origins of social problems.

The negative repercussions of technological fixes arise from the complex interplay of our world. The earth has 3 billion years’ worth of interconnected living structure and processes. Every human action plays into the broader positive and negative feedback loops of nature. And the more aggressive the technological fix, the harsher the natural consequences will be for all. For example, rapid consumption of fossil fuel for the comfort and betterment of industrial nations has exasperated climate change for everyone on earth whether they drive a car or not (Huesemann, 8). The question of whether technology should kneel to unintended consequences may be in vain. The reality is technology will not stop progressing. Despite any amount of social outcry on the consequences of technological fixes there will always be a few select scientists, engineers, countries, or militaries to push the technological boundaries in society. With technology, civilizations can save or crucify themselves. Either way technology isn’t going anywhere.

 

3 thoughts on “Technological Crucifix”

  1. One root of the problem is believing that anything having to do with social issues can qualify for such an umbrella term as a fix. As just through recent history, a situation is considered fixed if the vocal majority says it is. Industrial imbalance claims to be progressive, yet the problems being fixed are largely created by the industrial complex itself. Environmental exploitation is greenlit by those with the most expensive microphones, leaving the last majority near powerless when it comes to the allocation of natural resources. For a Technocratic Government to function there would first need to be a major overhaul in how natural resources are viewed by industry. Maybe a Technocratic Government would be more plausible with a more physically based economic model in place, such as a trade/barter system.

  2. I found your perspective on the nature technology’s inevitability incredibly insightful. I agree that technology will always be progressing despite the undesired consequences each new progression may create. The choice then becomes not whether to continue technological advancement, but how to do so in a manner which improves society and minimizes negative impacts—as you say, a way to allow civilization to save itself. If aggressive technological fixes are indeed those which yield the harshest consequences, then ideally finding a way to develop greater nuance and delicacy in technology could lead to the salvation of society.

  3. Your conclusion that technology will never stop progressing regardless of unintended consequences is proven true by a that we know about humans and the development of science and technology. However, you do not answer the question of whether these concerns should halt our attempts at technological fixes. It seems your answer would imply we ought to stop ourselves but cannot do so. As an educated person who is among those in the upcoming generation this pessimism begs the question of our duty to consider these things that we see as a waste of time. Every revolution probably seemed futile to its members even as they began their resistance. Do you think that there is any line we won’t cross?

Leave a Reply