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Technology is to the service of the Man or its destruction?


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Answered 2008-08-13 21:07:08

Let me guess -- English is not your first language. It is the phrase 'the Man' that intrigues me -- it is perfect, and yet I have never seen it before. I have seen 'the tiger' and 'the elephant' and 'the crocodile', to name but a few species, but never before 'the man'. Congratulations! I shall use it myself henceforth.

Before I answer this question, I will say that what follows is not universally accepted. The currently most powerful man in the world, the President of the United States does not accept it, for one. There are others.

When you ask "Is technology in the service of the man, or its destruction?', I will assume you mean 'high technology' or 'modern technology'. I have to assume that, because up until relatively recently the man has been very successful on this planet, rising to be its most powerful mammal (I deliberately exclude reference to insects, bacteria and viruses in making this claim). Technology has been the most useful process available to the man in achieving this position since time immemorial.

But more recently technology has been key in giving this mammal the means of damaging the planet, and the means of its own destruction. True, it had earlier destroyed other species by extinction -- this was achieved by hunting, by removal of living areas, and other unintentional means. Once not long ago the man had the power to deliberately make the bacillus that causes smallpox to go extinct, but in the event it decided not to.

Powers such as those described below have never been available to the man before. It is unlikely (but not impossible) that the man's extinction would be deliberately sought using these powers, but it is worrying to note that species extinction has happened unintentionally in the past. Another worry is that such powers have never been available to any other species on Earth either (at least that the man knows about) -- this is something new. Therefore there is no possibility of studying this phenomenon.

I will call technology since the start of the Twentieth Century 'modern technology', or MT for short.

MT includes not only weapons of mass destruction (WMDs to give them a more fashionable, less terrifying, name), but also the means of changing the Earth in such a way that it will warm uncontrollably. These are the dangerous powers, the ones that can cause the man to go extinct. Of course MT also includes much else that seems good, as well, including the internet by means of which you and I are now communicating. However no amount of good things can justify extinction, so we may safely ignore them in this discussion.

Can MT be the cause of the man's extinction? The answer is "yes it can".

And it will if the man does not recognize this quickly enough. It is already too late to avoid some damage from one of these powers. It is happening already in destructive weather changes. Global Warming is proceeding at a rate never before seen in any evidence available to the man. Not only the man, but the tiger, the elephant and the crocodile may go too.

ANSWER Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

ANI Answer Too much of anything is a bad thing.

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