Articles by SARTRE
NASA and the Masada Complex
The HAARP that only angels should play
What Monsters We Have Become!
The Bull Gets Deneutered
The Joy In Micro Ruling The Soft World
Cells, Science and Morality
The Biological Basis of Morality
Do we invent our moral absolutes in order to make society workable? Or are these enduring principles expressed to us by some
transcendent or Godlike authority? Efforts to resolve this conundrum have perplexed, sometimes inflamed, our best minds for
centuries, but the natural sciences are telling us more and more about the choices we make and our reasons for making them
by Edward O. Wilson
The Dangers of Computer Technology
All our knowledge brings us nearer to ignorance
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death
But nearness to death,
no nearer to God.
Where is the life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
is the knowledge we have lost in information?
- T.S. Elliot
"The power of technique, mysterious though
scientific, which covers the whole earth with its networks of
waves, wires, and paper, is to the technician the abstract
idol which gives him a reason for living and even
- Jacques Ellul
(The Techies are)
"Making those elaborate worlds people play at living in, instead of worrying about the
one we're all stuck with."
- Marge Piercy
Three writers, writing years apart, all with the same idea: technology can be a very
dangerous tool. Every day computer technology is advancing, advancing at a rate that has rarely been seen. The difference
between computer technology and other technologies is that computers effect us more extremely, and for a number of reasons:
the pace of change is quickening, all aspects of life are affected at once, the consequences are long term as well as global.
Every day computers assume a new role in our lives; it is nearly impossible to avoid them. Whether it's at work, or in the
grocery store, or the library, or anywhere else we go, computers are usually always close by. We have come to take it for
granted in the last twenty years or so that computers are a part of life. But do they really have to be? Isn't that one of
the questions that often forget to ask ourselves. And what effects are computers having on our lives, our culture, and our
society? How many of us have actually considered these questions before sitting down in front of this box before us? Doesn't
it seem odd, maybe even a little scary, that a technology invented a mere fifty years or so ago has come to play such a primary
function in our lives?
Undoubtedly, computers can be useful tools, and in many ways their effects can be beneficial,
yet we would be remiss if we were not to consider the computer from a wholistic perspective. We cannot sit idly by and accept
this technology at face value for then we risk the terrible possibility of finding ourselves in a position someday that we
have no control over. We must ask the question: what sort of life are computers making for us -- one with peopless shops,
personless factories, better products, less work, less privacy, new products, home based culture, better weapons, longer lives?
Are these the things we want? Is it O.K. to sacrifice jobs to computer run machines. Will we accept less privacy for the opportunity
to surf the web? Will we allow ourselves to become more and more isolated from each other because we cannot peel ourselves
away from this screen? These are only a few of the considerations we must ask ourselves before we decide if this technology
is truly one we want in our lives. So often we fail to consider these questions, we take for granted that because our technology
seems to simplify parts of our lives, it's not complicating others.
That said, I now want to examine some of
the ways computers affect our lives in ways most of us never consider. Please remember, my purpose here is not to incite people
to action but rather to remind us that there is an inherent danger in new technology, whether the dangers of computers are
outweighed by their benefits, we have yet to see. I only want people to ask themselves a few simple questions when they encounter
technology: what is it for, where is it taking us, and who decides. Only by asking these questions we can evaluate technologies
and decide if they belong in our lives.
two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.