Technology is the Social Engineer
Technology, where are we heading
We have advanced robots building our cars and working in our factories. Where is your automatic cleaning robot? or your flying car?
The future is not the easiest thing to predict. Science Fiction writers have been trying to imagine what the future will look like and in most cases they have failed to get it right.
Humanoid robot servants and flying cars have always been popular in the imaginations of writers but at our present point in time the reality is much different.
Is the technology really not available or is it so expensive that we can not afford it? The economics of our technology plays an important part in our lives. Is it possible we are heading for a world of poverty where only the elite few have the money to afford the luxury of a robotic humanoid butler and maid. Is our technology dooming us to the biggest catastrophe the world has ever seen. Even bigger then the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Robots in the Kitchen??
Microwave - Pinnacle of our home technology
A look around the average home will show there are no automatic cleaning robots at work, there are no servant robots and there are no flying cars in the garage.
What we might see is a range of more efficient machines. Small light vacuum cleaners, a replaceable head mop (bought from a home shopping channel, that seemed like a good idea at the time), you might even find a ducted vacuum system.
In the kitchen there are a range of gadgets available to help us chop, mix, and cook. Especially the microwave oven which has to take the prize for best kitchen technology.
We also have machines such as bread makers, food processors, coffee machines, a fridge/freezer, etc.
Unfortunately we do not have any where the sophisticated machines that will cook our meals automatically, which science fiction writers have envisaged.
Our cars might not fly, but they have become a lot more advanced and reliable but they are still not driving themselves although they might not be far off it.
It is the military that has had dreams of robotic soldiers. A terminator style robot army would be superior to a man with a gun. The military is actually not doing too bad in the field of robotics but not with a robot soldier. Making a robot that can walk on rocky terrain is not an easy task.
Instead it is much easier to make flying drones. Drones can be autonomous and in the air there are no obstacles like on the ground. The military’s drones can also be controlled remotely by real people when decisions have to be made.
While the military's budget helps to develop these hi tech toys. The basic technology is available to everyone. A "toy" Autonomous drone can be purchased for $500 that has some amazing abilities such as way-point navigation, sonar for detecting obsticles, GPS, and a gyroscope for stability.
We're being replaced!
In our day to day society there has been a gradual evolution to replace people with computers and machinery.
Manufacturing is the biggest users of robotics and computer controlled machinery. Robotics are faster and better than humans for many tasks. There are many tasks that a human just cannot perform. For example a human cannot make the computer chips that run all our computers and technology.
With the use of robotics there has been less need for people in manufacturing and we have seen cities such as Detroit, a onetime manufacturing Mecca go broke as unemployment figures went through the roof.
Our society has replaced people with machinery in just about every industry. We have even replaced our supermarket checkout people with machines. It is probably not the replacing of people that has had the biggest impact, rather technology improving our efficiency.
100 years ago we had people with picks and shovels out digging our roads. Now we have a man in a digging machine that has replaces them all.
Police now have number plate scanners that connect to a data base that can check every car that goes past.
Nurses use computerized pumps to administer medicines, making them more efficient and saving time.
Our cars we drive are run with computer control and made by robots. Making them more efficient and less likely to break down.
Everyone uses a computer or smart phone to do a range of business activities and mobile phones have replaced most secretaries in small businesses.
So as we keep advancing we are getting more efficient at our jobs or replaced entirely. Obviously this creates a problem of what all the people are going to do.
Well fortunately the new technology does create a great number of new occupations and a great number of them require less manual labour then jobs in the past.
There is a natural supply and demand relationship that can control unemployment and keep society rolling along.
Technology will save us?
Do you think technology will save us from ourselves?
Are we Locusts?
There are going to be a number of unforeseen technologies that will make our life easier. Technologies that give greater economic advantage have been the norm in recent history. It would seem there is going to continue and we will see a continuation in redundancies and change.
Technology has allowed our population to greatly increase. This increase in population could cause the biggest problems in human history. In nature , whenever a species increases in large proportions, it always gets its population put back into check by predators, starvation, loss of habitat or disease. Human population is at risk of a natural recalibration that technology has so far been able to avert, but in the future better handling of resources and the environment might be the smartest choices we can make