1. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Modern Age

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Dante Dases, Oct 21, 2009.

    I've just been browsing the Apple store online and having a gander at some of the various accessories I can get for my iMac, and I was struck at the sheer strangeness of some of them and, by extension, the oddness of modern technology by comparison to what was often thought would exist around now some fifty years ago.

    The main thing that brought this on was the new mouse Apple are launching. It's not got any proper buttons, and instead it's like an iPod Touch in how it's operated. Add to that, it's wireless. The same goes for the keyboard I was eyeing up. We may not have hoverboards (as featured in virtually every future ever), but instead we have wireless technology and access to all knowledge at the push of a button. Wherever we are, we don't have an excuse for being out of touch thanks to modern phone technology (I'm still astounded that in 10 years we've gone from bricks to the things even Arthur C. Clarke wouldn't have foreseen happening by now when he was writing 2001: A Space Odyssey).

    It astounds me even now that when man went to the Moon the combined power of all the computers on the planet couldn't rival the battered laptop I'm typing on now. Since then we've developed technology capable of controlling probes billions of miles away. We've managed to fileshare at the push of a button. And we still can't cure the common cold or even go anywhere near a solution to world poverty.

    I was just wondering how other people have reacted to the advancements around them in recent years and how they see it in relation to the rest of the world.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Too much of the technology that futurists were absolutely sure would come about
    depended too much on either tremendous changes to infrastructures which are far too
    intrenched, and also on a rather over generous estimation of the skill level of the
    average human.

    Flying cars sound fantastic. It would be calamitous if they were ever introduced where
    I live. People here can't drive regular cars with wheels in a non-life-threatening manner,
    let alone if the sky were literally the limit.
     
  3. Misterecho
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    Misterecho New Member

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    The biggest change in technology i have seen is form over function. back in the 80's a ghetto blaster was designed to produce sound. you only bought a new one when your old one broke. now an ipod's look is almost more important than if it works. technology has become jewellery that goes out of fasion. creating a market for more beautiful and powerful gadgets every few months. i think the pace of technilogical advance will get steadily faster in the developed world.

    my 2p
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Its true that form has become more important, but I don't think you could say it overshadows function. Each iPod is not only a stylistic improvement (possibly) over each previous generation but a vast technological improvement. Style/Form is a product of competition...all mp3 players are essentially equal, regardless of what the fanboys will tell you, so the only way for one company to gain an advantage is by marketing theirs the best, something Apple did extremely well. Now, you see white headphones and instantly you think iPod, but beyond that you start to generate ideas about who that person is. Apple created an ideal image that its customers inherit and aspire to. Its almost a cult.

    Personally, I can't imagine a better time to be alive. The technological advancements that are being made every day are staggering. This is one of the few moments in history where the way we live is fundamentally changing; its not an evolution but an explosion, and the speed with which it is advancing is only increasing (exponentially). We're at a point where our capacity to innovate (technologically) is catching up to our imagination.
     
  5. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    Technology took a massive shift as the global society did. Instead of caring about flying cars (to which I agree with Wrey about) we started caring about advancing the ease of use of everyday items. We have a massively strong lust for living simple, easy lives devoid of unnecessary pain. You can see it in how many of us have started living. It's well known that the obesity rate is staggeringly high and that we generally have bad health. Granted, we're living longer now than we ever did before.

    So on one hand you have this incredibly astonishing technology which has blessed our lives, but on the other you have the downside of laziness. Another thing that we have to remember is that while we, in the Modern World, are living comfortable lives, there are millions who are not. Our technology has directly affected them, but not always in a good way. Our ability to turn corn into ethanol was a brilliant idea, but unfortunately it caused the price of corn to skyrocket and helped push the Modern World into a recession. If I remember correctly it also had an adverse reaction in many starving African countries who depended on corn.

    Either way, the technological advances we've made are mind blowing. To some it is a resounding affirmation of their faith, whether it be to the power of the human mind or their God. And to others it is a slap in the face to those suffering because of our uneducated greed.

    Personally, I'm a very proud Capitalist and Agnostic, so I'm perfectly fine with greed, but not when it's born out of stubborn ignorance. While I may have a cold heart to many individuals, I admit that I am sympathetic to those we've hurt for no reason at all. So I'm in the middle - technology is amazing, but I'm vigilante in my concern for those who are suffering under its heel. Now I'm going to go watch I, Robot and wish I looked as cool as Will Smith does in Converse. Damn him!
     
  6. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    The thing that frustrates me about technology is ridiculous media scare-mongering and the subsequent encouragement of a growing luddite culture. There has been no scientific study ever that shows genetically modified grain has any negative side-effects, and yet African countries have chosen to starve their populations rather than accept and cultivate genetically modified grain. It has nothing to do with science, it has everything to do with perception, which has been controlled by irresponsible media and the confusion of fact and fiction. Genetic engineering isn't something radical and new and dangerous, we've been actively doing it for thousands of years to plants and animals, improving and altering them as we see fit. Our advances in technology have made us better at it and yet the reaction is that somehow it's now dangerous. I can't help but feel that people with little scientific knowledge have been conned into believing that genetically modified corn and the monstrous genetically modified freaks of sci-fi fantasies are one in the same, when the reality couldn't be further from the truth.

    This attitude, like I said, is nothing new, there have been people opposed to change as long as there has been people, I guess its just a little disappointing that there seems to be a disconnect between the exponential increase in our scientific knowledge, and the popular understanding of that scientific knowledge. That said, the fact that stem cell research has been legalised is promising, and hopefully is indicative of a shift towards acceptance of scientific advancements, rather than scandalised fear.
     
  7. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually I have read that due to our staggering ability to transform our environment, evolution in its traditional sense has ceased for us. I assume our evolution has left the "natural" states and now is a function of technology, if not its new embodiment. Yet it is difficult to categorize technology, seeing only its current motives, but perhaps the next modern age will have a better understanding.
     
  8. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I don't think its fair to say that it's "stopped"...I saw a speech a few days ago from a neuroscientist who argued that the brain is evolving now at a rate unmatched in anything we've seen before, and it is occuring naturally in response to the huge shift in the way we use our brains. But certainly, our increasing technological power is giving us the ability to accelerate evolution, as well as allowing us to take evolutionary "side-steps", reimagining things in ways that didn't occur in nature. And that's religions cue to enter: as soon as you get into un-natural mutations (which doesn't have any negative connotations necessarily; if you subscribe to the theory of evolution then you would probably agree with the idea that there is a truly limitless field of genetic permutations possilbe that do not appear in nature that we know of) then you encounter accusations of "playing God", which to me is one of the more interesting theological debates of the modern age.
     
  9. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    I assume only the the state through which it operates has changed. Things are ever changing, ever reaching for an unknown stage of perfection....haha, where is Nietzsche when you need him?
     
  10. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Nietzsche doesn't see us heading to perfection, just heading somewhere that's not here. Or at least that's the impression Foucault and Deleuze give. But that's anther discussion :p
     
  11. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always think of Nietzsche when the notion of God is uttered. It is certainly another discussion for worthier people than I.
     
  12. M9A8E6S4TO
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    M9A8E6S4TO Senior Member

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    Pick up "The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil.
     
  13. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    I actually don't blame people for their fear of technology. If we are to believe that we act certain ways because of not just our past experiences but the past experiences of our relatives and even our ancestors then there is rightful evidence that we should we afraid. Sure, technology can be amazing, but tell that to all of the people who saw the building of the first trebuchet and it wasn't by the hand of their king and protector. Nevertheless, we should never let our fears grow to the point where innocent people are being hurt because of it. It's ridiculous that people are starving because of a paranoia.

    As for the whole perfection thing, it doesn't exist if created by mankind. We're exemplified by our imperfections and our ability to learn and avoid them. So long as we remain human there is absolutely no way to attain perfection. Why would you want it though? Sounds terrible to me.
     
  14. Lavarian
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    Lavarian Contributing Member Contributor

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    While I agree with the idea that it isn't possible for any man to attain perfection, I'm not sure how it sounds terrible. Why does it sound terrible?
     
  15. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    I want to be perfect, but then again wanting is not an assurance of attaining. No one would deny the human condition is flawed, but ever striving for an ideal is also very much part of it.
     
  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    In Arthur C Clarke's The City and the Stars, he takes on the theme of physical and sociological perfection in the city and the inhabitants of Diaspar, the last enclave of human existence.

    He points out that a perfect society is imperfect by default in that imperfection is required for a society to function and evolve.

    Just sayin, yo. ::p
     
  17. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    Humans are defined by their imperfections. It's not necessarily the failure of those imperfections, but rather how well we survive them. If society were perfect, we would never advance. No new technology, no new ideas, and no new opinions. If you want a perfect example of perfection, go look at Ants. Do you want to be an ant?

    While I believe being perfect is impossible and thankfully so, I still think we should continue to strive for perfection. The reason I say this is because you will never have it. At no point in time can any one man or society become perfect, mostly because perfection is based off of two things: personal opinion and public opinion. Just because you view someone or thing as perfect does not mean someone else does. So, in essence, perfection cannot be attained in full.
     
  18. Lavarian
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    Lavarian Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess, like you said, it also depends on what your view of perfection is. I may be opening a can of worms here, so I will remove myself from this discussion. It's nothing personal. :)
     
  19. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is indeed difficult to envision something, a society in this case, that has never been. I could watch ants work for hours.

    Lavarian do not go, haha
     
  20. Lavarian
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    Lavarian Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, no, I'm not offended or anything. I simply don't wish to debate at the moment.
     
  21. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    Too busy playing the guitar no doubt, haha
     

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