21 October 2009

The question concerning technology

The two views, that technology is a thing directing our lives, and simultaneously a thing blessedly serving our lives, are simultaneously valid. But together they cause unease, an ongoing tension that plays out in our attitude to technology and in the politics that surround it. This tension does not just come from technology causing us to exploit nature and from it determining much of our lives. It arises because for all of our human existence we have been at home in nature -- we trust nature, not technology. And yet we look to technology to take care of the future -- we hope in technology. So we hope in something we do not quite trust.

Technology...is the programming of nature, the orchestration & use of nature's phenomena. So in its deepest sense it is natural, profoundly natural. But it does not feel natural.
-- from The Nature of Technology by W. Brian Arthur. He concludes:
Our unconscious makes a distinction between technology as enslaving of [human] nature versus technology as extending our [human] nature. This is a correct distinction.

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