Saturday, February 28, 2009

Brendan Shay - (Option 2)

Advancement of technology is inevitable. From the dictionary, technology is “the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes”. Humans have been doing this since our existence. That is how we progress, that is how new ideas are born and inventions created. Consequently, humans have seen what they can do with their minds and have unfortunately become technologically arrogant. Our urge for scientific knowledge will never stop growing as long as humans continue to exist. Human nature and technology co-exist because we rely so heavily on technology, we seemingly cannot escape it.. Unless as a species, we could agree on where we are headed and how to get there a struggle to co-exist is unavoidable.

This class, Narrative and Technology, has exposed me to many new ideas and various arguments regarding technology that I never before considered or even thought about. For example, Bill Joy’s essay, “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us” was an eye opener to how dangerous the near future could be if safeguards are not installed to protect us from unforeseen consequences. I had always been fascinated with technology and how rapidly it has been developing in recent years, yet I had never considered the impact or relation it has to the human species in the long term. What I have concluded is, the age we live in finds most people ignorant to the idea that the application of scientific knowledge has the potential to do more harm than good.

The Pandora’s Box of new ideas that Joy discusses in his essay is not almost open as he states, but has always been open and will continue to be. Ideas and thoughts of the human mind can never be subdued; they are always present, just waiting to be realized. With this idea in mind, technology becomes a byproduct of this. The rapid development of nuclear weapons or nanotechnology is a very real and scary proposition. We have the capabilities to study these weapons like never before and as development continues one small mistake could prove destructive. We must realize however, that knowing is not always a rationale for acting.

In the science fiction novel, Blade Runner by Philip K. Dick, it is set in a future society where bounty hunters, the main focus, are sent to destroy androids. We come to learn about colonies on Mars and the strong encouragement for human emigration in order to save the human population from the fallout of World War Terminus. It can be assumed that so much destruction was the result of careless use of technology that resulted in a polluted earth with radioactive dust floating around. For those remaining on earth social status seems to be determined by the real animals one possesses. However they are so few in number that buying electric animals has become a commodity and a profitable business. Not to mention the development of Androids by companies such as the Rosen Corporation. Philip K. Dick ‘s vision seems directed at overuse of technology and how it has complicated our lives, so much as to threaten our extinction on our own planet, earth. In the book androids closely resemble humans making it extremely difficult for bounty hunters to even identify the difference. This is a scary idea that the author intentionally uses to perhaps show how much of a threat our own technological developments could potentially have. In the novel we struggle to co-exist with our creation of androids. It seems odd however that the androids are seen as such a threat to humans, when all the androids are doing is merely trying to survive. It seems ironic that in our struggle to destroy the androids all the androids seemingly want to do is co-exist on earth without harm. Yet humans, specifically bounty hunters have become so paranoid with the threat of androids that the only solution is to destroy them. It seems in this case, that technological arrogance led to our destruction. It was such an accomplishment to have created such great androids, however the end result corrupted society.

Another aspect of our struggle to co-exist with technology specifically focuses on a different side of technological arrogance. People are guilty of this without realizing it at all. It’s unfortunate that when the latest gadget comes onto the market so many people rush to own the product. My uncle, for as long as I can remember has been guilty of this idea. When the DVD player first came out years ago he was one of the very first to buy it, or when the newest plasma screen TV came out he quickly went out and bought one. As DVD players become outdated and Blue-ray players came out he was again one of the first to own one. Now this is nothing against my uncle because he is hardworking man who has earned this right to do what he pleases with his money. However, this exemplifies how we have become so eager to use the latest technology that we can hardly appreciate the original idea because we now want the latest version.  I can foresee this as a constant struggle to co-exist with technology because on a much larger scale than DVD players or plasma TV, if this concept is applied to robotics or nuclear weapons serious consequences may arise if proper restriction is not taken. 

It may seem arrogant to learn that we are developing such highly advanced robots or other nanotechnologies because in reality, we have so much trouble understanding much simpler things or important things such as ourselves.  However, as our generation continues it seems the norm to accept this practice of develop first and think of consequences later. I was born in a time with so much technology that it becomes scarily obvious how dependent we have become on technology. This only becomes a bad thing when we become so reliant on technology to do our work that we no longer co-exist with it but it exists for us, doing our work and jobs. 

Is there a universal agreement on where we are headed and what we striving for with all these developments? Races to develop major scientific breakthroughs as quick as possible are seemingly inevitable and approaching at a rapid pace. But with all this competition comes disagreement and disagreements can lead to violence and so on. Our human nature is competition; we are driven then by our need to know. This seems dangerous in the time we live because in order to properly co-exist with such advances in technology, direction for the future must first be established and a common goal should always are present. This will always be a constant struggle because we are impulsive beings but in order to co-exist with major advances in technology, it is our responsibility. 

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

You should always beware of generalizations. For instance, in the first paragraph you claim that people have been applying scientific knowledge for practical purposes as long as we have existed. Really? We used science before the neolithic period? Beginning with a huge and almost certainly false generalization is a bad move.

You're still introducing your paper in the second paragraph.

You move more into a substantive and at least somewhat specific argument in the third paragraph - although why you think Pandora's box has always been open is unclear. This could make sense, but you aren't clarifying your ideas - if you want to claim that the invention of, say, agriculture is equivalent to biological weapons you should *make that argument.* "We must realize however, that knowing is not always a rationale for acting." -- good sentiment, but I don't understand how you're trying to apply this general thought.

Your shift into DADES is confusing. Take this line: "Philip K. Dick ‘s vision seems directed at overuse of technology and how it has complicated our lives, so much as to threaten our extinction on our own planet, earth. " This is a legitimate take on the book, but you're treating it as obvious - if it's important to you, you should be *arguing* it.

Your analogy between blu-ray players and GNR technologies is strained - it could have worked, maybe, if detailed.

You end on a series of vague generalizations about human nature, that could have opened the paper as easily as they close it.

Overall: You don't really have a clear argument here. You start to move toward one several times, but it never really sticks - you shift between related topics, and although you touch on a couple things that seem like evidence, they aren't really evidence for any particular position. Between the several competing directions of the paper and its brevity, this seems like an early rough draft, and very little like a finished paper.