We’ve been crafting products and implementing solutions to problems from the beginning of time. From paper, to moveable type and the printing press, to electricity, the internet and to penicillin, scientists have labored to make our stay on earth that much more convenient.
Today, it seems to me, we’ve reached a plateau, where many of the things being invented do nothing to solve things we’d consider problems. Things like overpopulation, energy and food shortages, etc. Intelligent minds, now flex their mental muscles to create products for the sake of it. Much like consumer electronics companies like SAMSUNG increment technical specs each year, with no discernible difference in the user experience, or value added when using these products.
In the same vein, forward strides in technology usually have attendant negative effects. For example, we had no car crashes before automobiles were invented. We had no mass shootings, before the gun was invented and commercialised. We have made great strides in telecommunication, which increased our exposure to radiation, making us more liable to develop brain cancer. In my opinion, rather than try to solve problems that don’t exist, shouldn’t we focus our efforts on improving existing solutions? Has the time finally come, where EVERYTHING man needs to exist meaningfully, has been invented?
I mean, people have now invented USB powered Pet Rocks (WTH?), Shoe Umbrellas (yes, umbrellas for your shoes), Walking Sleeping Bags, Remote Wranglers (yes, attach spare remotes to your head, so you don’t lose them), even Touchscreen laptops (completely irrational, if you think about it), and many others.
Then again, I reckon if you asked people in 1768, when the first steam powered automobile was created, they’d have preferred to ‘horse’ around their cities. And in the 1970s, when ARPANET adopted TCP/IP as the future, I’m guessing lots of people laughed. Yet, those were the humble beginnings of the motor car, and the internet, as we know them today – two things we literally cannot live without in the 21st Century.
Perhaps it is best to, rather than map out the course of innovation or technological development in the world, allow the crazy ones do their thing, and hope to God their endeavours do more to drive the vehicle of humanity forwards, not obliterate it.
Till then? I enjoy the wait.