Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Why the Future, According to Joy, Doesn’t Need Us

By Sam Luffy – sgl5

Many problems are presented by Joy in this explanation of our difficulties with future technology. One problem that stands out is our lack of knowledge of the enormous power that technology we are creating has. “The experiences of the atomic scientists clearly show the need to take personal responsibility, the danger that things will move too fast, and the way in which a process can take on a life of its own. We can, as they did, create insurmountable problems in almost no time flat (20).” Unfortunately, Joy only responds to this problem with one sentence. He does the same thing throughout the essay. It is a good thing that Joy is making others aware of these problems, but the world has enough people who just talk and complain. We need more individuals to solve the problems that others are bringing to the surface.

Joy touches on the belief that in order to understand the future we must understand the past. I believe this is a great beginning in solving the problems Joy talks about with technology. No, we do not know how powerful and controlling technology will be in fifty years, but we said the same thing fifty years ago. If we remember our curiosity and problems of fifty years ago and now know how everything turned out, we can compare those problems with our concerns of today. “We should have learned a lesson from the making of the first atomic bomb and the resulting arms race. We didn’t do well then, and the parallels to our current situation are troubling (13).

One thing that Joy does not take into account in his fear of the future is remembering that we did create this technology. It was not forced upon us, we obviously have some understanding of it to be able to invent and create such powerful things as the atomic bomb and the hand-held computers. We must have faith in ourselves that if something bad did happen, we would have the strength and courage to correct our mistakes. If our ability to think for ourselves is lost, which Joy talks about, human kind may fall with it. But, it does not make much sense to say that we will be creating dominant technology and not making it work for us. After all, what is technology? I like to believe that it helps us in our day-to-day lives. It makes life easier. Why would we let, what we created, take over what we love progressing in. Yes, Joy is right. We must be aware of our progress and be concerned about the unknown power we have. But we also must be strong and bold enough to move on with this technological advancement, knowing that we have the power over it, even if we do not understand it.


hoss said...

Sam, I believe that you clearly stated all of your points and showed strong support for each one. I agree with your statement about how "we need more individuals to solve the problems that others are bringing to the surface." And I think that Joy is doing that in a way. He is making the people aware and hence i believe he is trying to get the ball rolling on solving these problems.

Your point about Joy forgetting that we created this technology was also a good point because he himself created some of this technology. So really what he just did was contradict his life's work and you exposed him on that. This was a well written post and I feel you need to make no changes.

Adam Johns said...

Hoss - the whole point of this process is to try to improve the paper, starting from the assumption that all writing can be improved. If you’re having trouble coming up with anything *wrong* think in terms of challenges, questions, or ways in which the paper could be extended. There is nothing, ever, that can’t be productively revised.

Sam - Your language is greatly inflated and overly passive, especially at the beginning. Take this sentence: “One problem that stands out is our lack of knowledge of the enormous power that technology we are creating has.” An effective rewrite might read: “The power of our technology is matched only by our ignorance about it.” Try to be more concise and precise.

The first paragraph makes a broad but plausible generalization about Joy: he points out problems, but not solutions. This is setting you up to propose a solution, obviously - to do what Joy isn’t doing (even if you don’t really prove in detail that he isn’t).

Your discussion of the lessons of the past is an ok start - but what lessons should we take about what past events? You’ve accused Joy of not being specific enough - but then you just echo him.

Your last paragraph is vague and broad, with nothing specific to say about Joy or his lack of solutions. It’s a generalized assertion of faith in progress, rather than a solution; you’re doing exactly what you accuse Joy of doing, but more so.