To understand technology in a different way we need to first ask what it is, and that is not always the easiest question to answer. We can think about technology as a solution to some given set of constraints, it is part of a broader process, a process through which we try to achieve our needs and desires, to get from where we are now to some desired future state. We are cold and wish to be warm, we are poor and wish to be rich, sad and wish to be happy and so on, the process through which we get from where we are to where we want to be, from A to B. This process starts with us forming some conception of how our world is and imagining how it could be, this is the first stage in the process, the next stage consist of us creating a solution to the set of constraints that are preventing us from getting to where we want to be. If I want to be rich I need to figure out how to do this, if I want to get to the other side of the river I need to engineer a solution, a bridge, this solution that gets me from A to B is the technology. Technology is also about automation, automation means done or occurring spontaneously, without conscious thought or intention. Technology doesn’t just get one from A to B once it, in fact, automates the process, the next time I want to cross the river I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, I already have an automated solution, I just drive across the bridge and of course this solution can be easily duplicated.
But this is just one way of thinking about and using technology, as a tool that enables us to realize a process that takes us to where we want to be, thus enabling a different world. If we don’t go through this process, if we don’t have a conception of how the world is and how it could be improved, which gives us some direction, then technology starts to be an end in itself, we use it because it is available. When we use technology because it is available this means we do what technology makes possible, and this is a form of technocracy, where technology decides what happens and it leads to a world of endless possibilities without any having any meaning. A future of complicatedness, too many possibilities, which in many ways is the definition of randomness and chaos. This is the risk of moving forwards into a world of new technologies and the possibilities that they give us without any understanding of this new environment. If technology moves too fast without us being able to contextualize it, to understand how it is a tool to be used within that context, then we don’t have the frame of reference to understand how to use it appropriately and responsibly, meaning its usage can very easily become distorted. Technology offers us the possibility to do more and go farther, but without the context to define its appropriate usage it can be as destructive as it is creative.