Balancing Technology – Where are we headed ?

 It is often said that advancements in science and technology  represent the triumph of human spirit,  imagination and resilience over the forces of nature.  Of course, the effects of such triumphs, whether positive or negative,  can and will be a matter of intense and endless debate,  the fact remains that across all ages human beings have used their ingenuity, intelligence and available knowledge to capture, harness and control the forces of nature.  This battle (for want of a better word) finds its origins on the desire and need of human beings for advancement, betterment in the quality of living and a constant desire, sometimes bordering on obsession, to overcome surmount and even derail the forces of nature.

Another related phenomenon, endemic to this process of evolution, is the rapid acceleration of the process of change over various time periods.  From the stone ages which lasted for eons of years to the metallic ages which  lasted only a couple of centuries to the present information technology age where technology gets obsolete over months, if not weeks and days.  To give a more contemporary example, the rapid pace of change is evidence by the obsolescence that we observe in the gadgetry that we use in our daily life (be it Televisions, Refrigerators, Laptops, Mobile Phones and the like) which have extremely short shelf-lives – governed as they are by an extended version of Moore’s Law.  Another example highlighting the rapid acceleration in the pace of development is the fact that the number of mobile phones has already touched a figure in about two decades what landline phones took about a century to reach –  indeed a live and contemporary exposition of the pace of change.

While this battle between human spirit and the forces of nature and the rapid acceleration in the pace of development has had its positive effects on living standards and human development including  increased life expectancy along the way there have been unintended and  unwelcome consequences exemplified by rapid ecological degradation, climatic change, proliferation of never and hitherto unknown diseases and not to mention the severe stains and stresses that the human mind is now  subject to – again evidenced by the increased incidence of mental, psychological and physiological  disorders –  something which get compounded by the breakdown of the joint family system

At this point of time, there is an intense need to balance, not just seemingly, but perceptible diverse effects of the rapid acceleration in the pace of change – without pressing the panic button or resorting to  knee-jerk,  short-sighted, myopic solutions.  There is a need to look at development and technological advancement as an aid to a better life –   the focus being on the end-result and intent being to make the process enjoyable, welcoming and soothing with an attempt to try and eliminate the attendant strains, stresses, pulls and pressures. Simultaneously, attention should put be on restoring mental balance (sadly but truly it seems in the entire battle the “balance” seems to have get skewed) and a shift to arrive at an equilibrium between the materialistic, spiritual and social segments of life.  At the same time, without getting bogged down by the ever-present and burgeoning threats of eco- terrorism with their rabid doomsday predictions, there is a need to restore ecological sanity and balance. Our future generations will judge us on our ability to balance these diverse considerations – a task seemingly onerous but not beyond the realm of human intelligence and endeavours – again a battle wherein the progress of science and technology would attempt to harness, control and direct the forces of nature albeit in a different direction.

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