Critical Engineering

I think I’d like to talk about tenet 1. To view technology as both a challenge and a threat seems reasonable, though perhaps this distinction is somewhat vague. I took challenge to have a more positive connotation than threat in this case. It is a challenge to be dependent or strive to depend upon a technology. I would like to depend solely on solar technology for my energy needs, but currently it would be quite challenging for me if I didn’t also want to change several aspects of my lifestyle. Then there is the notion of threat from dependence on technology. This need not be entirely ominous, given that my dependence on spelling correction often allows me to avoid embearassment and mistundersandings. Although I am not actively becoming a better speller, I am not yet reliant on the computer to choose my words for me. The calculator is probably the more familiar example, since it allows me to get away with not doing strenuous math. But ideally I can open up that calculator and learn something about what it is that I forgot I once knew. Some technology feels like magic, to butcher Arthur C. Clarke’s third law. I think a potential risk/threat/challenge that comes with sufficiently advanced or digital technology is that the inner workings may no longer be intuitive. I love watching gear-driven mechanisms because I can see how each part moves the next, but what happens when exploring the inner workings of an object does not also reveal how it functions? I suppose we have the human brain for analogy.


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