Life, Economics and the Machine
One hundred years ago our cities were very different than they are now. Many people traveled around town in horse drawn carriages. Then to travel large distances from one city to another they would take the train. Everyone was excited about the harnessing of electricity and all the new found applications for it. The industrial revolution was well on its way.
Machines were being invented at a rapid pace, and changing how we work. The electric motor and the diesel engine, could do the work of many men. People who used to be manual laborers were now running machines that dramatically increased the amount of work one person could do per day.
As a result there was this idea that eventually mechanized technology would be perfected and be capable of doing all the work that mankind used to do. Then finally mankind could focus on the more important things in life. The common idea was that the machine was going to shift us from a labor intensive society to a leisure society.
Now that the modern age has been here for some time now, we can see that, though the machine has significantly reduced the work load, our society is not any closer to being leisurely. Machines are expensive to design and build, so we have to work harder longer hours to be able to afford to purchase and maintain our machines. Machines produce a lot of pollution, and we now know that this pollution is effecting our climate. Climate change is costing us billions of dollars every year. Machines have given us the ability to change the face of the earth and the changes are not always an improvement.
Can we find a balance that will work for our planet? Can there be an environmentally conscious high tech industrial evolution? Or has the window of opportunity passed us by. Will the earth’s atmosphere deteriorate till the planet is no longer hospitable? Should we turn back to a simpler way of life to reverse the effects of climate change, or proceed further down the path of technology, in the hopes that in our future machines can increase our quality of life, and preserve our environment too?
Technological advancement is like gambling with our planets economic future. Maybe we will win or maybe we will lose. There is no way of foreseeing the long term effects of massive technological changes and preventing them.
If there were other life sustaining planets like the earth, in our solar system. Then if the weather becomes really awful on earth, we could just move to another planet. But as of yet we have not found a single planet like our own in this universe. It is amazing that we have changed our planet, possibly causing irreversible damage to it, without having a second planet to live on. This leads me to wonder, is mankind really an intelligent species? Or are we still just learning what intelligence is?