Technological advances have provided improvements in the lives of people, but often with a hidden cost. Even the historic skills of bronze and ironworking were driven by a desire not just for plows and tools except for better weapons of war. This can be still the case for much of contemporary science. Technical knowledge has helped to combat diseases, improve health, provide more food, offer faster travel, or ease hardship, and this is often progressing. We like novelty and innovation, but forget they happen at the boundaries of our understanding. We rarely see, or cannot predict potential dangers. Innovation and knowledge are expanding at unprecedented rates, but we individually understand an ever-smaller percentage of the whole.
Technological progress means the lifespan of stored data is rapidly shortening as our computer systems evolve and old data are incompatible with modern storage and software technologies. we’ve got photos of grandparents but don’t expect electronic pictures to survive for our grandchildren. Stone carvings failed to say much, but they exist.
Unexpected dangers are a runaway situation, and current plans to boost data rates by doubling the amount may mean satellite-based technology is doomed within some decades. Chunks as small as an itinerant, at orbital speeds, can have mechanical energy 500 times greater than a military shell. Impacts are spectacular. Satellite technology may self-destruct; only the duration is uncertain. Political, or terrorist, acts could rapidly remove satellites.
Such dangers are predictable, unlike natural phenomena like sunspot emissions which strike the world. they create beautiful aurora within the night sky but have destroyed power networks. We are vulnerable as we are totally passionate about wattage, electronics, and satellites. Major solar emissions that intersect our Earth’s orbit are inevitable, and that they can cause a complete loss of power in advanced societies, including the destruction of satellites. the results are so horrendous that few people wish to contemplate them.
To support almost eight billion people, our attempts to supply sufficient food are made with limited relevance to the land or other creatures, and that we have destroyed cultures and many languages. Crop yields and health care have advanced with the help of medicine and chemicals but they’re not, and can’t be, confined to their original locations. Despite warnings and research, the potential for allergies, ill health, and mutagenic and fertility changes are ignored by the bulk. Humans have always been concerned with this, self-interest, and profit. this is often why we’ve got advanced. The difference now’s that we’ve got outgrown our potential resources.
Technologies isolate many of us from society, especially the poor or elderly. Our dependence on computers offers a lucid example because the changing systems are expensive or too complex for such people. rather than benefitting them, they’re sidelined. Further, the technologies are invariably designed by, and for, the young, who cannot appreciate how age has reduced sight, sensitivity to pale colors in display contrast, or adroitness. Technology is spawning exponential growth in cyber-crime. this is often globally running at many billions of dollars per annum, and steeply rising.