Technology is a beautiful thing. And we live in an age where its exponential march can be not just witnessed, but gloriously experienced every single minute. Back in the day, despite the best efforts of our brightest minds, most inventive individuals and collective enterprise, humanity could not compress the arc of progress from, say, a slingshot to a catapult, into one lifetime. Today, however, we can see and benefit from a similar magnitude of technological advancement in about a day - or as long as it takes for someone to post the new App on iTunes.
This is both wondrous and onerous, and for the same basic reasons. We're now, as a society, so high tech - teetering on the verge of yet-more-exponentially amazing revolutions in robotics, holography, and Minority Report -style information and communication management-that it's freakin' scary. There's no avoiding this advent in any quarter; it's time to get on the train or be run over by it. Or at least that's the message both media and commercial sectors are delivering - via text, email, tweet, FB post and a variety of more traditional means. But there's a problem with shilling all this technology to make our lives better/easier. Or, more succinctly, with developing a reliance - indeed trust - on ever-higher technology: technology itself.
Let's say you used a slingshot for food procurement. If it broke, you could easily make a new one - the design and action were easily understood, materials readily available. Plus there were a plethora of not-so-efficient backups at hand: spears, arrows, clubs etc. Animals would get killed, peeps would not go hungry. But with today's linking and tethering and hyper-connectivity, the failure, breakage or loss of your slingshot (cellphone/computer/touch pad) results in a major catastrophe that can often take days or weeks to resolve. If information is your sustenance, you may go hungry for a while. You won't starve to death, of course, but navigating what should be the simple blips of daily life will be difficult. Solving the problem would be a lot easier if you were, well... connected. But you're not.
I'm currently writing this in a van driving down a highway in Chile on my way to the storied ski area of Portillo. I'm down here working and need to get shit done so this ability is a good thing. When I get to the hotel I'll file this column over a wireless network. Also wondrous. But this entire trip has, so far, been plagued by problems, and every one of them has to do with modern technology and the level of buy-in someone like myself might make without thinking about the consequences.