Many people argue in favor of our way of life. And the greatest and easiest way of arguing is throwing away lines like “Technology works”. Well, I was recently watching a video were a man with a scythe competed against a loan mower.
And guess what: the man with the scythe won! Not only did it complete the job faster, but it also worked as an “exercise” for the man who used it. Two in one! Way to go scythe!
Many times we see technology as something which is good but which has some drawbacks, i.e. alienating people, dehumanizing society, etc. But the fact is that technology does not actually work like we believe it does!
As in the example of the mower vs. scythe above, how many other examples are there out there where we have been FOOLED INTO believing that modern technology is better than the old?
Again I was watching in Youtube a video where an old tractor of 18 hp competed against a brand new one with a horsepower of 850. Guess who won the contest…
Yes, you guessed right! The OLD tractor won! What?!? It seems torque is something important when working on a field and not just being shinny, new and… fast. 😉
Examples keep coming up.
We all remember how that pigeon won the Internet in relaying information some years ago. In South Africa a Durban IT company pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country’s biggest web firm, Telkom. Winston the pigeon took two hours to carry the data 60 miles – in the same time the ADSL had sent 4% of the data. (source)
Another interesting example is this: A soldier in full gear bear the same load as a medieval armored fighter. Which one will perform best on the run? Well, if you bid on the modern soldier you would lose. The weight of a late medieval full armor is around 30 kg (similar to that of the weight of the backpack of the soldier), but the burden is well distributed over the body. Thus, the medieval soldier is more flexible! (source)
Sure I know what you are going to say.
That these are specific examples, that in GENERAL technology works, that the Internet is faster in USA or in Europe than in Africa and so on and so forth. But have you put your BELIEF to the TEST? Would you expect that you should sell your mower and do everything by hand if you hadn’t seen that video? We should know better than to talk to unknown people via the Internet and call this “communication”. More… “primitive” people like in ancient Greece talked face-to-face every day in the Agora. And that worked pretty well for them…
Try to walk a steep hill on a street paved with asphalt. Now try to do the same on a steep paved with… nothing. By just walking on the uneven ground. Yes, I know. Walking on the “primitive” soil is easier and feels better.
Try to climp a steep bumpy hill with a car. Try to do the same with a horse. Yes I know. You do not want to ruin your car. But the horse is already up there on the top watching at you.
What else could you do better without technology?
As Arkas said, in the old days we had to get up from the couch to change the channel on the TV. Now we have to get up and walk the room 5 times to find the TV control.
Levi Strauss pointed out some time ago the fallacy of our times: What is “new” is not by default better than what is “old”.
Test the obvious and it will soon become awkwardly wrong…