Prompt: In text and image, comment on the idea of technopolies (as you understand them) to an understanding of technology as an order of nature.
â€śEvery technology is a burden and a blessing.â€? Neil Postman
Technology is everywhere. It is inescapable. It surrounds us at every minute of our daily lives: when our alarm clock wakes us up in the morning, during our jobs or schooling, and even when we like to unwind after a long day and plop down on the couch and relax. One could say that, especially as people living in one of the most technologically advanced countries on the planet, our modern culture revolves around technology. It not only changes how we act, but also what we think and how we think it. As an example of this I decided to include an image of transportation as a technopoly because of the changes we have experienced over time.
In this example I have shown some basic advances in the subject of transportation. For hundreds of years, the most common form of transportation was either walking or by horse. Travel was considered very significant and was incredibly difficult. As we move forward in time, we see the invention of boats and how they managed to create a whole new technology in itself: cross-continental trade. Moving on, we see the invention of the bicycle and the car and the implementation of simple travel for the common man in his everyday life. On an even larger scale, we then saw airplanes, which changed travel into an entire industry in that people were able to very easily and quickly travel across the world. Then of course came the rockets and the space shuttle, making travel on the Earth seem insignificant on the grand scheme of things. The development of transportation over time is a prime example of the way technology is able to change the way we see and feel about the world in a sense of being able to fully understand it. In this example, these innovations have not added themselves to the world, they have changed it entirely.
I think there is definitely a misinterpretation issue when it comes to the subject of technology. Many people think that the word itself refers solely to obvious popular advances like televisions, computers, or cellular phones. In reality, these are our initial thoughts because these products have been developed within our lifetime. We wouldnâ€™t generally think that a printing press or a cotton gin is that magnificent or â€ścutting edgeâ€?, but thatâ€™s only because they were invented hundreds of years ago and we have been around them all of our lives.
In Postmanâ€™s reading, he talks about the way technology is and will continue to control the way we live today. His term technopoly, in my mind, refers to the monopolization and unavoidable influence that technology has on us. I agree with this for many reasons. First of all, I donâ€™t think I could survive for one day without the technological advances we are affected by. At first I think this thought is ridiculous, and that it is pretty pathetic that I feel this way. But when you actually think about it, technology is, like I said, unavoidable. Sitting here at my desk, I quickly realize that I am unable to find an object that is not in some way directly affected by modern developments in technology. A clock, pencils, a lamp, a stapler, a paper shredder, a notebook: all of these things were invented at one point or another, and have gone through many iterative processes to find the most successful and efficient design for its use. When you really stop and think about it, almost everything and anything can be considered to be an expansion of technology.
After reading this article and doing some deep thinking on the subject, Iâ€™ve come to my own personal conclusion that this technopoly we are experiencing with our inventions and new modern products is something we will never be able to avoid or prevent from proceeding in its path. We must learn to accept the fact that the world will continue to change as we become more aware of its capabilities. Our evolution into an even more intelligent species will create new complex situations and opportunities for change because of the spiraling effect these advances can have upon the world. As new products develop, another will soon thereafter either take its place or propose to provide an alternative solution that is more efficient, effective, and hopefully more resourceful and ecologically responsive.
I agree with Postmanâ€™s statement of seeing technology as a burden as well as a blessing. However, I also believe that if we as designers are someday able to better channel technology to be more environmentally and ecologically based in its structure, we will be able to create more useful and less harmful advances that will provide more benefit to humanity than they do harm. If we are able to grasp this concept of a technopoly as an inevitable and continuous system of our nature, we will be more prepared to alter these advances for the greater good before they cause any significant damage to the worldâ€™s society and physical environment.
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