Saturday, 20 July 2013

Jon Bear Journal: Technology, where are we going?

The technological advances that happen in a lifetime has increased exponentially over the last thousand years.  We're at a point today where the "next big thing" is often times only a year or so away, and it requires our culture to be much more adaptable and amenable to change and puts the generations that share our present in something of a more tenuous place then many generations past experienced. 

For me there is a sentimentality to the past, and having been a History major in college I have always held a kind of reverence for the study of history, no matter how flawed it might be due to the inherent prejudice of those who write it.  In speaking to a number of young people today around the world (an opportunity afforded me by technology) I have found that several of them do not value history very highly.  I wonder if that sentiment is accurate, as I obviously have had a small sample size of people I have spoken with.  I also wonder IF it is accurate if it has anything to do with the rate at which technology and change effects our lives today? 

I could understand how the pace of life today could effect appreciation for history IF indeed it does.  I would think that it is much easier to appreciate where you came from when you spent a lot of time there then it is when you're in a state of almost constant flux, which we seem to be fast approaching in the world today.  

I'm not lamenting these changes (well maybe I am >.<) as much as I am trying to understand them and cope with them, as one of those generations caught behind a bit.  Did past generations deal with this on the same level as we might today?  

I would imagine that the world moves faster today than it ever has before.  At my work place, people used the same method of book keeping for decades prior to the time I became a book keeper.  In the 8-9 years I have been in my job, we have already gone through 2 or 3 significant changes with regards to the programs used to accomplish our work.  It has had a definite effect on work hours allotted, as when I first joined the company over 160 hours a week were allotted to an office that opened at 9 am and closed at 9 pm.  Now the work hours allotted for the same sized store are around 115 hours a week for an office that opens at 8 am and closes at 9 pm.  There are several changes in the works right now, where some stores are having trial runs with programs that will further diminish the allotted work hours.  Obviously the initiative for these changes is to decrease cost while maintaining production.  I just wonder where the breaking point is when industry focuses on the economic benefit of using technology to do more with a smaller work force, because in the process they create more joblessness.  If every company and every industry functions this way, then the ultimate result will be a society that cannot afford their product because the unemployment rate is too high. 

So I am not sure that doing more with less is always better. 

The other place where technology speeds through our lives today is in entertainment.  A large majority of the commercials on t.v. today advertise, phone, Internet, music, movies, television etc... and most of them are advertising faster access.  Ha ha... just as I type this (of course I have my t.v. on) 3 commercials in a row have advertised technology products.  Now if you want the best product you have to buy a new computer or a new phone every year.  Are we out pacing ourselves?  Have we lost the ability to enjoy what we have because we are constantly looking for the next better thing?  I wonder if the speed of technology has made me and we as a society more materialistic than we have ever been in our past?  These existential questions may be difficult to quantify or answer.  Answers take time, and I wonder if we are moving so fast that be the time we get the answers to these questions that they will be outdated and no longer relevant.

Will we become computerised ourselves?  Is our world heading in the direction of a kind of economic genocide, where by those who cannot adapt to the speed of technology today and heading into the future die off?  Is the gap between the haves and have nots increasing?  And is all of this the NEW natural selection?  The NEW evolution of human kind? Are computers becoming MORE human... or are humans becoming MORE computerised? 

I believe we are training ourselves, our bodies and our brains to function at higher speeds, and I would not be terribly surprised if our future is the stuff of Science Fiction.  If the point of evolution is to increase survival, then the most efficient way to survive may be to become computers ourselves.  It may be imposing to consider the possibilities.  Humans have always been able to self determine their future because we've been the most intelligent beings.  Will we be the most intelligent beings 100 years from now, or are we opening a Pandora's box whereby the technology we create becomes the apex life form?  Are humans essentially the Gods of technology?  And will the creator fall to his/her creation?

Too many questions.  Simply the late night ponderings of a wayward bear.  =)


  1. Hi Jonny Bear, this post is certainly left of field. Actually I don't think technology will create a wide gap between the haves and have nots as new technology is spread among the masses, it becomes more affordable. Just look at the dvd player, they use to be very expensive and now you can buy them for twenty dollars.
    As to some of our younger friends who dislike history, it could be the way that it is taught. If there is too much emphasis on the memorization of facts and dates then it is boring. Children need to connect to the fact that history is about real people, history has to be taught in a way that it is relevant to them.

  2. That is a great point about how history is taught Carlyn. I know that my affinity towards history was largely a product of the History teachers I had in school.

    I knew when I wrote this post that it was ummm... "different" to say the least.

    The reason the dvd player is much more affordable now is because it will likely be irrelevant in a few years. My oldest brother keeps a pretty good pulse on technology and the way it is moving and I read a bit here and there myself. DVDs and CDs are likely on their last legs. The newest computers that Apple is making do not even have DVD or CD players any more. My niece just bought one of the top line Mac's for college and digital media is moving away from disks. No DVD or CD player is included on her new computer.

    That said, the scenario I question is not something I really think will happen in 100 years. I enjoy thinking about the future and in doing so it's easy to get a bit fantastical about it. But what I am getting at is a philosophical consideration of what could be, and I love to hear others opinions. I just think that as we (human kind) move forward with technology that we will have to give increasing consideration to the potential pitfalls or negatives of technology. For the large part I would agree that advances in technology are a great thing. =)


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