Most of the topics addressed in this column focus on the Internet as just one of many technologies. To begin with, let’s be sure what “technology” really is. According to the Britannica, it is “the application of scientific knowledge to the practical goals of human life or, as it is sometimes expressed, to the change and manipulation of the human environment.” (https://www.britannica.com/technology/technology)
Of course, there is an opposing school of thought that warns us to be wary of change, from “The best way to clear muddy water is to leave it alone” (an old Zen Buddhist proverb ) to the shorter word given by the Beatles in the song “Let it Be”. Obviously the truth lies between the two philosophies. Another way to look at it is a beautiful symbiotic relationship between science and engineering. Science advances engineering which in turn advances science. Science is the basis of engineering and engineering is used to build structures that can be used in scientific testing. Three good examples are medical, sports and climate technology.
Medical technology has evolved from the use of plants and songs to X-rays and medicines to prevent, diagnose and cure many diseases and other injuries. A contemporary example can be found in our country’s response to the COVID scourge. Due to advances in other technologies such as transportation and communication, COVID is slowly but steadily being beaten.
Games, on the other hand, are considered a waste of time by many but a tonic for many others. They thrived under the wing of the Internet but they existed in various forms several thousand years ago.
“The history of games started with ancient people long ago. Games are an integral part of all cultures and one of the oldest forms of human social interaction. Games are the formal expression of the game that allow people to transcend immediate imagination and direct physical activity. Common features of games include uncertainty of outcome, agreed upon rules, competition, separate space and time, elements of fiction, elements of chance, set goals and personal happiness. Games capture ideas and worldviews in their cultures and pass them on to future generations. Games are important as cultural and social cohesive events, as teaching tools and as indicators of social status. As pastimes of royalty and elites, certain games became a common part of court culture and were also given as gifts. Games … are seen as a way to develop the strategic thinking and mental skills of the political and military elite. ”
“In his 1938 book, Homo Ludens, Dutch cultural historian Johan Huizinga argued that games were a fundamental condition of the generation of human cultures. Huizinga saw the playing of games as something that “older than culture, because culture, despite its inadequate definition, always expects human society, and animals don’t wait for man to teach them how to play.” Huizinga views games as such. the origin of such complex human activities as language, law, war, philosophy and art. ” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_games)
You don’t read much about Climate Technology (except in my close friend’s column above) but I recently came across a Wall Street Journal article by Patricia Price updating the general public of existing technologies that respond to climate change.
The article begins with a brief discussion of the problem and is followed by a variety of possible solutions, “Climate experts at a United Nations panel recently expressed concern about the state of climate science, which said the past decade has seen the highest average annual greenhouse-gas emissions.from human activities recorded since.Countries, they say, should make large, rapid transitions from fossil fuels if they have them. hope to achieve the goals outlined in the 2015 Paris Climate Accords …. The Wall Street Journal recently asked energy academics and researchers what specific climate technologies The achievements they think have potential to be the most innovative.Some talk about space technologies; others focus on existing technologies that can be deployed to help create yours in the world to zero emissions by 2050.
In a future column, I will try to summarize what they have to say about new technologies being developed to end or at least reduce the effects of climate change. and if you can’t wait, the quickest way to get to the full Price article is to search for: “Can technology save the day? “It’s an interesting question, because technology is a part responsible for our current problem. Will technology be used to solve the problems created by technology or will it make it even worse? I don’t have an answer but I know I think we have to keep going a lot.
Dr. Stewart A. Denenberg is an emeritus professor of computer science at Plattsburgh State, retired recently after 30 years there. Prior to that, he worked as a technical writer, programmer and consultant in the U.S. Navy and private Industry. Post comments and suggestions on his blog at www.tec-soc.blogspot.com, where there is more text and links. He can also be contacted at [email protected]