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Who Needs Technology? Mind Blowing New Technologies That Will Change the World

Isn’t it technology that has gotten us all into this mess? Internal combustion engines, jet propulsion, mechanized agriculture, power plants, pesticides, industrial pollutants; the list goes on and on. And now we’re paying the price, with both global warming and oil depletion looming as a consequence of wasting the planet’s resources to fuel our technological addiction.

Surely, since that technology is plain to a fault, we should work to reverse the tide and oppose future so-called technical progress?

Is there any interest in this proposition? A return to a bygone era, illuminated at night by candles and warmed by the crackling of logs on innumerable hearths; a resurgence of homegrown food, poultry in the yard, and pounding your clothes on a river rock as in the movies?

Mind Blowing New Technologies That Will Change the World

Oh, I’m sure some diehard romantics believe in the self-sufficiency fantasy, but the really inconvenient truth is that if we all started burning logs to boil lentils and heat our fashionable Yurts, we’d deforest the place in a month; without modern pesticides and medicines, we’d be lucky to get through the first year without calamity on the scale of the Great Irish Potato Famine, and we’d soon reduce life expectancy to levels (or modern Zimbabwe if you prefer).

In the early twentieth century, “natural transportation” was extremely widespread, and the streets were ankle thick in horse excrement. 

So, back to reality’s chilly shower. Yes, technology bears blame for global warming and the depletion of vital natural resources; nevertheless, technology is also our sole realistic possibility of making apologies and creating a planet that we will not be embarrassed to pass on to our children.

So, what precisely has technology accomplished for us? Warm dwellings and lights at night; better and more abundant food and refrigeration to prevent it from spoiling; the capacity to habitually travel places previously thought unthinkable; and communication, both mass and personal. 

It is simple to calculate the cost of heat, light, and electricity for household appliances. Electricity. Almost all of this is now generated by power plants that burn oil, gas, or coal (the contribution from nuclear power is still almost negligible).

Travel is considerably simpler: just set fire to some kind of oil. Trains, aircraft, buses, boats, and vehicles all employ engines that burn hydrocarbons. 

Communication (other than that caused by physical transit) is, however, not a fully paid-up member of the Universal Axis of Energy. Yes, some oil was used to transfer the electrical bits that make up this article, and some more went into the plastic gadget you’re reading it on, and more is currently being burnt now to power said device. But, in the larger scheme of things, even if we all do it, it’s a relatively little quantity. 

Anyway, the issue is whether we want, or can afford, to live without any of the blessings that technology has provided us. Except for contemporary travel, the answer is almost certainly a resounding no. 

Without warmth, light, and food, we may as well pack it all up and go back to scratching out the short, unpleasant, and brutish life our forefathers fought so hard to spare us. But here’s the thing: it’s not essential to destroy the earth only to meet basic needs. Every day, a large orange object comes into the sky and showers us with more heat and light than we can handle. Can you find the crucial phrase? “know what to do with”. 

Who Needs Technology?

Who Needs Technology Mind Blowing NEW Technologies That Will CHANGE the WORLD
Who Needs Technology Mind Blowing NEW Technologies That Will CHANGE the WORLD

There is already technology (the prohibited T word) for harnessing and storing sunshine in the form of hot water and energy. Solar illumination has been around for a while, and as economic circumstances shift dramatically in favor of “green energy” solutions, it is a technology that is being quickly developed and put into an increasing number of households.

Within a few years, the economic pull of solar technology and the push of skyrocketing oil costs will convince the vast majority of families to move to self-supply of domestic electricity. In the end, money always speaks, and when the payback period for free power falls below three years, the sluggish stroll toward renewable energy will have turned into a rush. 

That means, face it, technology has helped absorb a major portion of the issue, and you may pour yourself a good cool beer and continue reading this article; cozy, well nourished, and with a clearer conscience about the power you’re consuming. This takes us to the topic of communication.

You’re reading this piece, one of many, and I’ll read what other people have to say about it, and we’ll all end up with a large melting pot of ideas and changing consensus. For example, it may or may not have occurred to you that LED house lighting offers a way to light your home for a fraction of the current cost in terms of power usage, but you are aware of it now and may take steps to learn more and perhaps install some.

Why wait for governments’ sluggish bureaucracy to convene committees, prepare turgid studies, and cater to special interest lobbies? Anyone who lives in a building to which solar panels may be attached and low-energy items installed can go “off-grid” on their own.

And they may share their thoughts, experiences, and suggestions with millions of other people, who may then feel sufficiently educated and confident to follow suit. The nice part about this is that it is inherently scalable. There is no need to create a new infrastructure capable of serving millions of houses since we are all responsible for our own electrical supply and consumption. 

Of course, this is fine for anything that is generally driven by electricity, but for transportation, it’s like attempting to drive a nail home with a screwdriver. Yes, a few electric vehicles are being produced, but not rapidly enough, and the present infrastructure is based on gas stations and the distance an automobile can go before needing to be refueled. I don’t see a line emerging for electric aircraft. 

But why are we doing all of this traveling? I don’t need to see you face-to-face to communicate my thoughts on technology. Much nonsense is spoken about how professional connections need physical touch, but my personal experience completely contradicts this, and I assume I’m not alone. I don’t even need to travel to an office to accomplish what I do for a living; anywhere with an internet connection would suffice, such as my house. 

What about shopping for groceries and other necessities? I do it on the internet. It’s more convenient, there’s significantly more choice than even the largest shopping malls, it’s easier to compare price and service levels, and it’s typically cheaper (because the goods are shipped from a warehouse rather than a fancy store that has to pay staff), and best of all, it’s the most fuel-efficient solution. 

On a single delivery run, a huge courier or supermarket van may serve a significant number of consumers. In other words, hundreds of consumers parked their cars in the driveway rather than making the full journey to pick up their purchases. And why can I, and millions of others, do this? Technology. The one you’re now using to read this

One of our distinguishing qualities as humans is our use of technology. It may be a gift or a curse; a route to redemption or a path to damnation; a force for good tainted by an innate propensity for malice and cruelty, just like ourselves. If we reverse the technical advancement of the previous decades, centuries, or whatever far you want to go, we will merely add the obstacles of that period to those of our own creation. 

There was no such thing as a golden era. Every age has encountered and attempted to address its own problems. Not rarely, the answers created new problems. But the incumbents’ role is always to repair the issues in front of them, not to complain about the past.

Simply said, technology is the application of ideas to solve problems. Who requires it? We do it today more than ever.

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