Conflict and Technology – Who is to Blame – Man Or Machine?

We’ve all heard the saying “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people!” So, with this statement extrapolated can we also apply it to other technology advances that kill people? For instance; Landmines do not kill people. Atomic Bombs do not kill people. Automobiles do not kill people. Is it the technology which is bad or the human element we have to watch out for?Not long ago a gentleman emailed into a think tank after reading an article about Conflict and Technology which essentially pointed a finger at mankind and their inherent problems and let technology off the hook for the deaths that it happened to cause. This gentleman asked three simple questions. Indeed, perhaps we might discuss them;

Would you say the splitting of the atom had a good impact on society rather than a bad one?

Would you say that the discovery of fossil fuel and the advent of the combustible engine were worth “it”?

Also, do you think we could have still had the advancements in the surgical fields without any of the aforementioned?
Okay, let me share with you some thoughts from my perspective. First, I am pro-nuclear power. And I am pro-microwave ovens, even if I wouldn’t want to cook a secret Cheese Cake recipe in one, they are great for many things. I also like communicating on this little human invention we call the Internet, ARPA predecessor to DARPA. I like Jet Aircraft Travel too.So, I’d say splitting of the Atom has led to many great innovations (energy as an example) and understanding of how things are. Of course, my grandfather was a nuclear physicist, so, I am good on that. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were unfortunate, but history agrees that it ended the war and actually saved lives. And yes, I know the victorious army always re-writes history, but it is a good point.The invention of the reciprocating engine is a great way to get lots of power in a small motor. Coal, Kerosene, Oil, yes, all good, and it sure beats burning wood to boil water to make steam to have an energy form you can use to do work, right? Are there better ways to do things, more efficient means of converting energy to the proper form to do work, sure there are and as mankind progresses and learns more, they’ll figure it out.There would be innovation in the surgical fields without all the other technologies, yes, I believe this to be true, but, I would submit to you that the combination is what really makes things fly. Perhaps, this is why it is worthy to discuss Ray Kurzweil and his theories on the “Singularity” as when you take computer science, bio-science, new materials, nano-technology, alternative energy, and combine them all, well, wow!You have a bunch of different areas of innovation coming together at once, thus Moore’s Law seems almost indefinite. The future comes, technology is good. Now with that said will some of this new technology be used to for war? Unfortunately, we know it will, but we must look back at history and note that technology built for conflict has considerably advanced the human species in so many ways. So think on this.

» Tags:

Comments are closed.