Is technology getting out of hand?

Sorry, using a rock and a wooden spear would be a use of technology. I’m willing to bet that Ug the caveman ragged on his kids because they used a spear instead of running the beast to ground and biting it in the neck to kill it.

We humans are tool users.
Technology = tools.
Being able to do math in your head is simply no longer a particularly useful skill. Being able to read will not be all that useful much longer.
Somebody needs to know how to make things work–that’s what geeks get paid for (he says proudly); but that’s no reason that everyone has to know. They (non-geeks) should have better things to do with their time. Then they can pay us to make it work/explain it/fix it.

Terrific connection between poster’s name and message!

As Ogden Nash said, Progress might have been all right once, but it’s gone on too long.

I don’t think the OP is condemning technology as a whole and saying we should regress to flint and arrows. I think he’s suggesting that the direction technology started heading in in recent times isn’t particularly useful (or maybe a better term would be advancing?), and I agree. For the most part, you can divide modern technology into two kinds of toys - toys that save time, and toys that give people something to do with their new-found time. But let’s not confuse toys with tools - and self-parking cars are a good example of the former.

(this may be better suited to GD?)

Off to Great Debates.

DrMatrix - GQ Moderator

Since we’re in GQ, can you provide any evidence to support this assertion? (Keep the anecdotes, please.)

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” --Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.


Sure it is. It’s much less efficient to use a calculator for simple math than to do it in your head. What do you do when you’re on your roof, measuring? Climb down and find a calculator to add 11’ 8" and 30"?
Maybe you don’t do things like this, but my hobby is home repair and I do it all the time. I use geometric theorems and formulae as well as simple algebra, and although I may write things down on a scrap of paper to do so, I rarely use a calculator for it.

This isn’t based in any connection to the past, but is a practical skill, still useful in the real world.

Please don’t repeat that completely fabricated quotation! We’re trying to fight ignorance here!

Well it’s nice to know that there is someone out there using this stuff. While I was in public school I was taught the math skills that you mentioned for twelve years. For about an hour a day, five days a week, throughout an entire nine month school year which equals approximatley 2160 hours of learning basic math skills throughout my public education. Multiply this times the population of the United States that has learned their math skills in public schools equals a few trillion hours spent teaching math.

I’m glad there is somone out there putting all this time, money, and effort to good use.

Clarke’s Third Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

The problem isn’t the technology.

Its the designers and the buyers.

My favorite technolgy to hate was 8-TRACKS. I could never understand why anyone bought that junk. I wonder how many 8-track tapes are in landfills today? My 20 year old cassette deck still makes good sounding tapes. A new one could do better but it probably wouldn’t be as well constructed.

People that don’t know technology buy stuff to impress people that don’t know technology.

Too much English literature in school and not enought sci/tech.

Dal Timgar

Because every time I put my turntable in the car, the records would skip. And those reel-to-reel tapes were just to difficult to change while tooling down the Interstate at 70MPH. Plus, I couldn’t get my girlfriend in the front seat with the machine - it took up too much space.

There’s a sybian joke in there somewhere…

Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) said it best: our tools are evolving faster than our brains.

Sybian, or sybaritic?

As long as technology can fix “could of” it’s fine by me :wink:

From the website:

“These are unlikely words of someone who thinks that everything has been invented.”

Sounds like they are stating an opinion here. But an opinion stated on a website is interpreted is stone cold fact by most people these days, unfortunately.

You were the one who mentioned the quote and you seem to have missed most of the article commasense linked to.

“Unlike Ellsworth, who may have been merely misquoted, there is absolutely no basis to support Duell’s alleged statement.”

"Further, Duell quotes President McKinley’s annual message saying “May not our inventors hopefully look to the Fifty-sixth Congress for aid and effectual encouragement in improving the American patent system?” "

“These are unlikely words of someone who thinks that everything has been invented.” seems a lot a lot more relevant considering the above quotes.

Where is your cite, ccwaterback?

I’ll post my opinion out on a webpage in a minute, then I will post the link here. Then we call all agree, we saw it on a website, so it is fact. Fighting ignorance? Indeed. :rolleyes:

Not to get into a big thing about it but…
a) I have my Palm in my pocket, now and always. :slight_smile:
b) I do a lot of home repair stuff as well.
c) I do understand algebra and geometry–I never said those were less than useful.
d) I believe math should still be taught in schools because everyone should have at least a clue where the info comes from, even if they can’t actually do it themselves. Understanding math is not useless; being able to do it in your head is only useful on infrequent occasions (for most folk).

Even more, I wish they would teach the scientific method in schools–until the kids actually understand it. That’s a tool that’s REALLY useful.