Monday, December 24, 2007


I was in the Manchester Museum recently (it is rather good), and I saw a rather splendid display of bows and arrows. These were in many different styles and from many different cultures. There were little interactive displays that told you how the bows were made. An awful lot of effort and craft goes into what I had always assumed was a simple piece of wood.

Thinking about this as I struggled to operate my rapidly aging Sony Ericsson K750i it occurred to me that nowadays that level of development is rarely reached. Innovation and evolution happen so quickly that there is no point in refining a particular device. Hence mobile phones and mp3 players are rather unpleasant and tacky. Good design does crop up occasionally but the general rate of development is such that avenues of design are left unexplored and concepts are left incomplete.

Putting aside speculative discussion of a spike or singularity in the near future I sometimes wonder what “technology” and devices will really be like in, say, a thousand years time. What will human beings look like and how will they move around? In what manner will they reach orbit? Will they even bother?

In the realm of the state change seems constant and always disruptive. The pointless and dangerous desire to collate and store information is partly simply due to the technology being available to do it. This leads to accidents.

I feel privileged to live in this time of change but I do sometimes wonder if humanity will ever achieve an equilibrium with its environment. 99% of human history consists of people living in hunter-gatherer style societies. The current "singularity" we're living through will presumably result in either out destruction or in some new equilibrium. I wonder what it will look like.

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