The Problem with Technology

I look at contemporary technology as someone who works with historical tools and notices the comparisons and contrasts. I think we take for granted some very ancient technologies: fire, the wheel, levers, the printing press, mathematics… Once upon a time, those technologies didn’t exist. I can imagine it now; someone complaining about how fire has changed their lives, life was simpler before fire. People try to use fire inappropriately and cause all sorts of accidents. The kids want to stay in and watch the fire instead of going outside to play. Substitute your least favorite technology into these phrases and see what I mean. Victor Hugo complains about “The German Pest” in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. He’s referring to the printing press and how it was going to “destroy the knowledge of the past.” The printing press was a machine that could print hundreds of copies of the same written work and the church that this was going to remove the church’s influence over the common people. The people would stop coming to masses and no longer listen to the priests. The only evil I attribute to the printing press is the telephone book. At least the Internet is making that artifact obsolete.