Quora – How long could the human race survive without technology?
[ 4/6/20 ]
Not at all – because technology is part of what defines us as human.
And in this sense, language is technology, our complex cultures are forms of technology, the use of fire is a form of technology.
It is our ability to be creative, to experiment with new tools, new ideas, new symbols, to learn, to change, to adapt, that defines us as being human.
New technology is the inevitable result of that process.
So if you removed all language, all knowledge, all culture, we become helpless (like newborn babies, unable to care for ourselves or survive).
One piece of technology that we need to seriously rethink is the idea of money. It was a very useful tool in our past, when scarcity of most things really was a real part of being, but in an age where we have automation, there is no real need for scarcity (except to maintain the market systems of value), and the very idea of money, of value in exchange, becomes a real threat to our survival.
Just look at the insanity happening in the world right now.
Some people are plowing food back into their pastures, at the same time as billions of people are actually hungry and in need of that food. And the only reason for that is the money system we have – a set of myths that are no longer optimal for the context we find ourselves in, and are in fact generating multiple levels of existential level risk.
We need global cooperation, and global cooperation is not global governance or global control.
Global cooperation means global acceptance of diversity (all levels), it means global respect for individual life, and individual liberty, and that demands individual responsibility.
I can agree to cooperate with someone without being controlled by them.
We all need to accept that cooperation and diversity are necessary conditions for any meaningful expression of security and freedom.
Technology is an essential part of being human – always has been.
Tracking humanity through the fossil record is done by tracking the tools and products we leave behind.
We are the apes with technology. We are apes with sufficiently complex and flexible brains to develop new and ever more complex technologies.
That is what we are.
We are getting better at it.
Some of us have explored enough of complexity theory and strategy theory to know that competitive systems are the enemy of freedom and the enemy of security.
The evolution of complexity is always based on new levels of cooperation. And at each new level the levels of strategy required to make cooperation work and to remove cheating strategies gets more complex. That is just how it works – an eternal part of reality.
Human beings are complex beyond the ability of anyone to appreciate in detail.
We need each other, and we need our tools and technologies, and we need the natural ecosystems of the planet. All of those things are true.
We need more awareness, and more responsibility; and we need to accept that the systems of laws and markets and money that once served us reasonably well are now the greatest threats we face.
We need to actually value individual life and individual liberty, and that is simply not possible inside a system of market values or strict laws.
And all complex systems require boundaries to survive. Freedom is not an absence of boundaries, it is about accepting the minimum set of boundaries demanded for survival. And there will always exist uncertainties in such things, as such boundaries are always context sensitive and the contexts are always changing.
We need technology, and cooperation, and responsibility. All are essential for our long term survival.