Big Boom is off the radio. But it’s on in a whole new way. Join #ADiscuss tomorrow on Skype (SN: tipiopal, 11(ish)am-12,Central,US)! It’s a new series of Big Boom discussions on various topics. Follow me on Twitter @BigBoomCU for #ADiscuss announcements.
6/5 #ADiscuss preview: “We’ve made a world we cannot control.” This quotation comes from a May New Scientist opinion piece, which describes how we will “innovate” ourselves out of existence. We put our trust into science, and reap the benefits of medicines, energy, food, everything. Pesticides makes our crops immune to bugs and specially engineered corn can grow tightly without suffocating. Oil is an incredibly efficient fuel source, and antibiotics were a miracle drug in the developed world and are still a miracle drug among developing societies. But then we realized that we made mistakes in implementation, or outright maliciously disregarded the negative effects of our innovations. Pesticides began to build up in and destroy adjacent species of plants and animals and the new engineered plants disrupted ecosystems. The effectiveness of natural fuels lead to a rampant overuse and destruction of our envrionement. Overuse has also lowered the effectiveness of antibacterial medicines.
We developed the technologies, used them in our societies, but then ignored the collateral damage because if we just narrowly looked at the positives – cheap abundant corn and gas – the world looked great.
In the words of Tom Wolfe writing an opinion piece for the New York Times in 2009, “[They] neglected to recruit a corps of philosophers.” Wolfe was writing about an innovation that failed in the eyes of the American public: NASA. Once, NASA had a goal to put a man on the Moon. Then, the scientific benefits became less catchy and, thus, too complicated to understand. The marketing sucks.
Oil has no problem with marketing. Neither do car companies. Neither do cheap food manufacturers. But they still need the philosophers to look at the mess we’ve created in the name of the Green Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, and say “What the hell are we doing? Where will we end up?”
6/5, Skype SN: tipiopal, 11(ish)am-12,Central,US
“One Giant Leap to Nowhere,” New York Times