Technological Cascade

Douthwaite seems to encourage the idea of coming up with as many technological fixes as possible because they are just temporary, and new ones must be developed all the time in order to replace outdated ones. Johnston and Huesemann however are more concerned with the long term consequences of our technological fixes. While I believe that Johnston and Huesemann don’t think we should forget about technological fixes and let society “run its course” so to speak, they seem to be much more cautious about rushing these fixes. They would most likely critique Douthwaites belief that technological fixes should be introduced as fast as possible into society and encourage more time to fully examine all possible consequences from the fix.

Quite frankly, technological fixes have unintended consequences because humans can’t see into the future. Many times we get so focused on one issue that we underestimate what the possible negative outcomes could be. I believe this also relates to not looking at the bigger picture, and only focusing on what humans can gain. Unfortunately if something is beneficial to humans and bad for another species, it can create a trophic cascade that in the long run has negative consequences. While technological fixes may have unintended consequences, we still need to be pursuing them, however, much more though needs to be put into them before introducing them into society. They also need to be looked at by scientist in many different disciplines to get a better look at the big picture of what these fixes could do. Additionally, if no fixes to these issues are found, they only get worse and worse, so while yes, no fix is perfect, a fix that has been looked at from many different perspectives and the consequences are weighed is better than letting problems get worse.

1 thought on “Technological Cascade”

  1. Although I don’t think that Douthwaite was as encouraging as you say, I tend to think that the temporariness of technological fixes is both an advantage and a drawback. I don’t recall Douthwaite saying that technological fixes should be introduced as quickly as possible in order to have more time to examine the consequences of them, but if he did, Johnston and Huesemann would certainly critique that. The rapidity of our innovation doesn’t allow for enough time to fully understand the consequences of our actions.

    I like your suggestion that technological fixes should be evaluated by scientists across varied disciplines- I think we are starting to see more of that, especially in the environmental sciences with trying to understand feedback loops. I would caution the idea that implementing some solution is better than not doing anything at all. I think these are very precarious times, and good things are worth waiting for.. I also very much enjoyed your title. 🙂

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