Where the Technological Meets the Natural

Cities of the Pacific Northwest

 

 

City Arch

Eruption of the Technium

 

Ever since I was a kid, I marveled at the intricacy of circuit boards and silicon wafers.  It was clear to me that man was making objects that competed with some aspects of nature for lovely detail and complexity of function.  What would we be making by the time I reached adulthood?  Could we create life?

Some would say that the last question is a heresy of sorts.  It’s a reflection of man’s hubris to even suggest that we could create something to rival the natural world.  But I don’t see technology and nature as polar opposites of each other.  Rather, I see them as different ends of a spectrum of life.  After all, what are we but aspects of nature?  Isn’t our technology nature, extended – a reflection of the non-man-made world in tool form?

Kevin Kelly coined the concept of the technium in his book, What Technology Wants, how all of technology could be interpreted as a sort of symbiotic organism which relies on the human mind to be created and to evolve.  This could be both something beautiful and something horrifying.  It’s up to us to evolve not just our technology, but our own minds – and then we can steer the technium into being a mutualistic relationship, rather than a parasitic one.

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