Stirred by the warm breeze of utilitarianism, it is not surprising that technology is more in favor with people than science is. The age of great scientific discoveries had already been left behind before Einstein’s time. However, modern man is increasingly inclined to seeing all his dreams come true during his lifetime.
This causes him, when betting on his own future, to prostrate himself and expect wonders from technology through a thousand-power concave lens. In this way, technology has achieved startling and explosive developments in a rather short period of time, and this has resulted in innumerable benefits for mankind, which is anxious for quick success and instant rewards.
However, we proudly term this technological progress, not realising that at this time we have already consigned ourselves to a benighted technological age in which we have lost our hearts.
Technology today is becoming increasingly dazzling and uncontrollable. Bell Labs and Sony continue to put out novel toys, Bill Gates opens new “Windows” each year, and “Dolly,” the cloned sheep, proves that mankind is now planning to take the place of God the Creator.
The fearsome Russian-built SU-27 fighter has not been put to use on any battlefield, and already the SU-35 has emerged to strike a pose,3 but whether or not, once it has exhausted its time in the limelight, the SU-35 will be able to retire having rendered meritorious service is still a matter of considerable doubt.
Technology is like “magic shoes” on the feet of mankind, and after the spring has been wound tightly by commercial interests, people can only dance along with the shoes, whirling rapidly in time to the beat that they set. The names Watt and Edison are nearly synonymous with great technical inventions, and using these great technological masters to name the age may be said to be reasonable.
However, from then on, the situation changed, and the boundless and varied technological discoveries of the past 100 years or so makes it difficult for the appearance of “any new technology to take on any self-importance in the realm of human life.
While it may be said that the formulations of “the age of the steam engine” and “the age of electrification” can be said to be names which reflect the realities of the time, today, with all kinds of new technology continuously beating again the banks of the age so that people scarcely have the time to accord them brief acclaim while being overwhelmed by an even higher and newer wave of technology, the age in which an era could be named for a single new technology or a single inventor has become a thing of the past.
This is the reason why, if one calls the current era the “nuclear age” or the “information age,” it will still give people the impression that you are using one aspect to typify the whole situation.
There is absolutely no doubt that the appearance of information technology has been good news for human civilisation. This is because it is the only thing to date that is capable of infusing greater energy into the technological “plague” that has been released from Pandora’s box, and at the same time it also provides a magic charm: a means of controlling it [technology].
It is just that, at present, there is still a question of who in turn will have a magic charm with which to control [information technology]. The pessimistic viewpoint is that, if this technology develops in a direction which cannot be controlled by man, ultimately it will turn mankind into its victim.
However, this frightening conclusion is totally incapable of reducing people’s ardor for it. The optimistic prospects that it displays itself are intensely seductive for mankind, which has a thirst for technical progress.
After all, its unique features of exchanging and sharing represent the light of intelligence which we can hope will lead mankind out of the barbarism of technology, although this is still not sufficient to make us like those futurists who cannot see the forest for the trees, and who use its name to label the entire age.
Its characteristics are precisely what keep it from being able to replace the various technologies that we already have in great quantity, that are just emerging, or which are about to be born; particularly those such as biotechnology, materials technology, and nanotechnology, these technologies which have a symbiotic relationship with information technology in which they rely on and promote one another.
Over the past 300 years, people have long since become accustomed to blindly falling in love with the new and discarding the old in the realm of technology, and the endless pursuit of new technology has become a panacea to resolve all the difficult questions of existence.
Infatuated with it, people have gradually gone astray. Just as one will often commit ten other mistakes to cover up one, to solve one difficult problem people do not hesitate to bring ten more on themselves.5 For example, for a more convenient means of transportation, people invented cars, but a long string of problems followed closely on the heels of the automobile—mining and smelting, mechanical processing, oil extraction, rubber refining, and road-building, etc., which in turn required a long string of technical means to solve, until ultimately it led to pollution of the environment, destroying resources, taking over farmland, traffic accidents, and a host of thornier problems.
In the long run, comparing the original goal of using cars for transportation with these derivative problems, it almost seems unimportant
Excerpt From: Qiao Liang. Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.