Vivek Haldar

Grateful for technology?

Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy. — Louis CK.

Does technology induce feelings of gratitude in you? Does it make you behave better? Do you ingest a life-enhancing (or life-saving) drug and then go about your daily snark? When your browser loads a webpage do you marvel at the straight line made through a stack of disparate but amazing technologies (silicon, displays, networks, Ethernet, TCP/IP, HTTP, HTML, CSS, Javascript…)?

I suspect the answer is no. And at some level that always upsets engineers. We want people to feel the same sense of awe at our creations as they do when they see oceans and mountains. To feel humble and repent their petty ways.

We want the world to be like Star Trek. People are clean and reasonable and polite and well-behaved. Violence and conflict are moderated by thoughtful leaders (Kirk, Picard). Human emotions are finely embroidered into the plot, not splashed randomly.

But the real world is a lot like another lesser known sci-fi series — Babylon 5. It shows a world with spacefaring humans, but also with politics and class and violence and addiction.

Technology doesn’t change human nature.