Thursday, 28 October 2010

Technology is an extension of evolutionary life

We have domesticated our humanity as much as we have domesticated our horses. Our human nature itself is a malleable crop that we planted 50,000 years ago and continue to garden even today

Homo sapiens is a tendency, not an entity. Humanity is a process. Always was, always will be. Every living organism is on its way to becoming. And the human organism even more so, because among all living beings (that we know about) we are the most open-ended. We have just started our evolution as Homo sapiens. As both parent and child of the technium-evolution accelerated-we are nothing more and nothing less than an evolutionary ordained be- coming. "I seem to be a verb," the inventor/philosopher Buckminster Fuller once said. We can likewise say: The technium is a tendency, not an entity. The technium and its constituent technologies are more like a grand pro- cess than a grand artifact. Nothing is complete, all is in flux, and the only thing that counts is the direction of movement.

As we refined this stuff through generations of technological evolution, it lost much of its hardness. We began to see through technology's disguise as material and began to see it primarily as action. While it inhabited a body, its heart was something softer. In 1949, John von Neumann, the brainy genius behind the first useful computer, realized what computers were teaching us about technology: "Technology will in the near and in the farther future increasingly turn from problems of intensity, substance, and energy, to problems of structure, organization, in- formation, and control." No longer a noun, technology was becoming a force-a vital spirit that throws us forward or pushes against us. Not a thing but a verb

Excerpts from Kevin Kelly's new book What Technology Wants

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