Seminar in Composition A blog for Annette Vee's section of Pitt's SC

20Jan/114

Limits of Technology

When looking at trends in the world, we often see patterns. We can predict what these patterns will do most of the time. For example, the s-curve can be applied to populations of wild animals. That is to say, animal populations will grow and after a period of growth will begin to level out. The population reaches its limits and the rate of birth will no longer exceed the rate of death. Some scientists speculate that humans will one day reach a population limit. Limits are also used in areas of math and physics.

A general argument would be reasonable to state that most if not all things reach a limit of some sorts. In simple terms, "all good things must come to an end." The sun will eventually burn out, humans will eventually cease to exist, etc. Logic would suggest then, that we will eventually reach a plateau in the advancement of technology. With the exception of the dark ages, technology has continued to grow since the beginning of human existence.

My question is whether or not technology will eventually reach a limit in which it can advance no further. Obviously, when humans are wiped off the face of the earth, there will cease to be technology. Yet will there be a day before this happens in which technology reaches its limit and innovation is dragged to a halt? How and when do you think this might happen? If you see no stoppage in the ingenuity then state why and describe the pace in which you see technology rising in the future. In other words, do you see technology growing at a faster, slower, or constant pace in the future?

Posted by taylormoo14

Comments (4) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Technology is not a living thing and therefore is not bound to the same standards of living things, and therefore won’t become lesser or extinct. In the definition of technology we use in class it has the word advancement in, and that means if technology no longer advances it not be considered technology anymore. As long as the humans inhabit the earth its progress will not be halted, unless there is some sort of worldwide disaster or nuclear war. Technology is directly correlated with the humans who create the technology.

    It is tough to describe the pace of technology because it is society’s opinion of the pace at which it is moving. Technology is the advancement of things and pace at which technology is advancing is more of an opinion than a fact. Some may believe a new technology greatly advances something while another person thinks that same thing doesn’t help at all. One example of this that I found was an article (http://www.teleread.com/chris-meadows/newer-isnt-always-better-the-ipad-and-wi-fi-geolocation/) wrote about the iPod Touch. Basically it was about how the first generation Touch was much better than the preceding generations because one application did not carry. But, if you polled this question the majority of people would say the newer versions of the iPod are much better and more advanced than the ones that came before.

  2. ^^SORRY.. second to last sentence should be^^

    Basically, it was about how the first generation Touch was much better than the following generations because one application did not carry over to the next generations.

  3. I agree with thelastairbender when he recognizes that because technology is not living it should not be held to the limits of the living. However, as taylormoo14 states, limits are not only found among the living, but they are also found in the fields of science and math. Therefore, I believe that the progression of technology lies somewhere in between these two ideas of the limit-bound and the limitless. There will probably come a time when certain fields can be extended no further in terms of technology. For instance, telling the time has most likely progressed as far as it ever will, because you cannot get much simpler than glancing at the time on your cell phone. However, there will always be other fields that never seem finished progressing and moving forward. For instance, computers will probably always work towards the goal of becoming faster and easier to operate.

    Humans do have limits, for example we cannot progress past the technology of our latest clock. However, technological discoveries will never cease because as one breakthrough occurs, that opens up the door for many other breakthroughs.

    A book I recently read entitled “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” describes the first successful attempt at keeping human cells alive and growing them. This process was a major scientific breakthrough. However with the “HeLa” cells, as they were called, scientists were able to make many further medical discoveries. Similarly, any new technological discovery opens the door for many more.

  4. Technology is not subject to the Rule of Threes. It has no birth rate, no mortality rate, no vulnerability to disease. Typical lifetime models cannot be applied to inanimate objects, leading to the conclusion that technology will continue advancing in the same manner it has been – exponential increase.

    However, if we consider the definition proposed Ruth Cowan concerning “homo faber,” technology becomes entirely dependent on the human population. After all, what use is a tool (here defined as anything designed to make a task more efficient, i.e. a hammer, a mathematical equation) without a person to operate it? We are constantly told that “a computer is only as smart as the person using it.” If this statement is true, does an advanced piece of equipment still count as “technology” in the hands of a three-year-old?

    In short, there will one day be a limit to technological advancement, even if only a horizontal one, for the sole reason that technology is dependent on human innovation and human operation.


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