Is technology making us immature?

It is undeniable that most technological advancements have become indispensable in all areas of our daily life. Some, however, leave doubts …

I have already mentioned in some posts on this blog the impossibility for humans to ignore progress (because it is difficult to forget what we have learned), with rare exceptions: in Antiquity, the Greeks would have discovered the principle of the steam engine, but would not have exploited it, preferring humanism to technical progress. We cannot remake history, but it would be interesting to imagine what would have become of our societies if the Greeks had been as keen on technological gadgets as our current world … (although still, for the famous science fiction author Isaac Azimov, History would be comparable to a pendulum which always returns to its initial period after a “certain time”, whatever the disturbance which affects it).

As an engineer, I obviously cannot denigrate progress. But neither can I not ask myself questions about the consequences of certain advances: a recent event reveals a drift that says a lot about the growing immaturity of our society.

Tesla has just modified the software of its vehicles to deactivate, when they are running, the video games accessible on the central console; this fun feature of the 3, S, X and Y models, which previously could only be activated in parking mode, had been available for a year also while driving. It took the intervention of the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the American federal agency in charge of road safety) to put an end to what is immediately obvious as an aberration: according to the NHTSA, more than 3,000 Road accidents in the US have been fatal, so Tesla recognized that Passenger Play could indeed “distract” the driver and cause accidents. In this case, it’s hard to say who is more immature: the Tesla engineers who allowed the software to be active in drive mode, or the drivers who can no longer look at the road?

We can better understand why China is exerting such pressure on its high-tech manufacturers so that they no longer focus on video games, even if they generate comfortable income, but on high added value developments: China’s desire for economic hegemony can have accents of common sense in the face of the decerebration well underway in our Western societies, which was the subject of a post on this blog in May 2021 (The long, but sure path, towards decerebration).

It remains to be seen whether this position will be sustainable, the algorithms of video games, which increasingly use artificial intelligence, constituting the building blocks for sophisticated industrial software, including those used for the (future?) War in the world. ‘space. In the meantime, the West is making giant strides towards the metaverse which will remain the high point of this digital lobotomization. In a blog post published in November 2019 (Fascination for the absurd: an incurable evil?), I underestimated the extent of the damage to come: because if the absurd can take on a logical side, it it is different with immaturity. The Romans, who had become slaves to bread and games, did not resist the barbarian hordes for long …

There is something disturbing in this race for technology which is increasingly obliterating the part of the human being: it facilitates its tasks, of course, but it also makes it a being less and less able to think through itself (a simple example: what will our drivers of tomorrow, unable to read a road map, do when their GPS breaks down?). But we can find worse: the war games in which the great powers have been engaged for several months with permanent provocations do not augur a bright future for the planet. When we entrust the means of mass destruction to humans who have become grown-ups again, we can imagine everything and see again in a less hilarious light the famous “Doctor Struggle” by Stanley Kubrick: the film leads to a nuclear conflict caused by the release on a Russian target of an atomic bomb ridden by an American officer who has “gone wild” and, rushing towards the ground, howls with joy while waving his stetson. An immature of his kind, too. The film dates back almost half a century and is based on the book “120 Minutes to Save the World” by Peter George: A Visionary?

Readers of this post will note that, out of politeness, I used the term “immature”, but they will guess that another term would have been more appropriate, a term which irresistibly makes me conclude with this famous phrase by Michel Audiard uttered in the no less famous “Les Tontons flingueurs”: “The c …, it dares everything, that’s even how we recognize them».


Source: UsineNouvelle – Actualités A la une by www.usinenouvelle.com.

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