Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Is Technology Leading to the Decline of Humanity?

It would appear that the old saying “the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer” holds more weight than most of us think, at least in theory. In an article recently reported on BBC News, an evolutionary theorist from the London School of Economics, Oliver Curry, believes by the time we have the inevitable Y3K scare, the human species will have peaked and begun on its decline.

Pardon me, but…. huh?

According to Dr. Curry, the human race is on a road that will breed two distinct classes, which goes well beyond just bankrolls.

In the red corner: the genetic upper class. Tall, slim, healthy, attractive, intelligent and creative. Height in the 6’ to 7’ range. Average life span: 120 years. Uniform race of coffee-coloured people.

In the blue corner: the dim-witted underclass. Ugly. Squat. Goblin-like creatures. Height? Probably won’t get close enough to be exact, but I’d guess somewhere in the 3’ to 4’ range, if they’re lucky. Life span: who cares, they’re ugly and goblin like.

For a better understanding of Dr. Curry’s depiction of where the human race is headed, go out and rent the movie (or god forbid, read the book!) The Time Machine, by HG Wells. Odds are Dr. Curry has seen it a few times.

Unsettling? Maybe. What’s even more unsettling? Dr. Curry’s vision for 10,000 years out, in which he feels it will be blatantly apparent that humans have paid a genetic price because of our constant advancement (more specifically, subsequent reliance on) technology.

Dr. Curry’s vision? Social skills and emotions will be lost, with technology creating continuous divisions between direct human interactions.

How about physical health? Reliance on medicines, resulting in weaker immune systems, could bring us all down. We “may” live 40 years longer, but we won’t be any healthier. Diseases won’t recede – our ability to fight them without clinical advancements will.

Damn you, technology and science - false idols if there ever were!

Personally, I find Dr. Curry’s theory intriguing, and not entirely far fetched. The majority of the conversations I have daily do not include the sound of a voice or the sight of a face. They involve an inbox and send button. When I get sick, I head for the DayQuil without a second thought. It makes me feel better, but is it helping me to be any healthier? Probably not.

However, I have one major fundamental qualm with this theory, which I think stands some considerable weight.

Is it really going to take 10,000 years for technology and science to bring us down?

In 1846, could we have fathomed a weapon so advanced that it could wipe out hundreds of thousands in a single explosion? Did anyone believe you could go 100 mph by turning a key and pressing down on a lever? Was anyone in Washington able to compare weather conditions with Beirut, just by writing a few words?

We’ve come a long way in less than 200 years, and innovation and technological advancements are happening faster than ever. Is this really going to subside?

Think about the damage we’ve done to the planet in that amount of time. Think about the damage we’ve done to each other in that amount of time. Are we really on a path that’s going to lead to a 12,006 AD?

Technology is supposed to be about advancements, yet often we’re finding the hands holding the technology to want nothing of the sort.

And really, should technology take the blame? Or should it fall solely on those that hold it? Is it the advancement of our technology that will ultimately lead to our demise, or is it the deterioration of our being that poses the ultimate threat?

If “technology” is going to bring us down, it’s doubtful to wait 10,000 years to do so. Patience isn’t a virtue when “progress” is at stake.

At first glance, Dr. Curry’s theory appears to be extremely pessimistic. Upon further thought, it would appear that he’s actually quite optimistic. Ironic, isn’t it?

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