April 5, 2011 4:05 am
by Jonathan Laba
J_Lab’s Awesome book review: What Technology Wants
This week in J_Lab’s awesomebook review: Kevin Kelly’s “What Technology Wants”
The technium is the unstoppable driver of humanity’s trajection. Made up of the complete mesh of human invention, thought and constructs, its (the technium’s) motivations can be understood and harnessed for desired outcomes — be they desired by the individual or collective; at least that’s what Keven Kelly argues.
In Kelly’s What Technology Wants, readers are brought through a broad and incredibly diverse range of theories and stories, it’s a fantastic book for any technology, biology or sociology enthusiast.
OK, review done. Now for the awesome.
The following are my five favorite take-always from What Technology Wants. If this was fiction, these would be the juicy twists.
Technology is the 7th animal kingdom
Are these traits reflective of technological or biological evolution?
- From energy waste to efficiency
- From Uniformity to Diversity
- From simple to complex
- From the General to the specific
- From individualism to mutualism
- From slow change to greater evolvability
The world of simultaneous inventions is fierce
With little proving otherwise technologies are always developed in cohort. Paradigms of technologies show the almost inevitability of inventions. This inverted pyramid of invention displays the weeding out of technologies on the path to mass adoption.
|10,000 – 1,0000||Think of possibility||Recognizing an opportunity for solutions||We should use electricity for lighting||We should have an open standard for internet logins|
|1,000||Idea of how||Imaging the crucial elements of the solutions||An incandescent wire in a sealed bulb||Use a tokens handed out by trusted systems|
|100||Details specified||Selecting specific solutions||Welded tungsten, vacuum pump, solder exhaust port||Implement specific API requirements|
|10||Working Devices||Providing your solutions work reliably||Prototypes by Swan, Latimer, Edison, Davy, etc.||Open IDs by Twitter, Ma.gnolia, Google|
|1||Enabling adoption||Convincing the world to adopt your solutions||Edison’s bulb||OAuth 1.0|
Mapping Energy Density
The largest structures in the cosmos are galaxies; they have energy densities of about about 0.1ergs per gram/s. A star has 1, the earth has 100, then there is an animal body, the human brain, a 747, and finally a Pentium chip, which has 1 trillion ergs flowing through it per gram per second. Simply put, a microchip is the most energetically active thing in the known universe.
The Unabomber was one damn intense Luddite
Ted kaczynski went to Harvard at the age of 16 and had his PhD in Mathematics by the age of 25. He then went pretty damn crazy, killing people because of the following:
When a new item of technology is introduced as an option that an individual can accept or not as he chooses, it does not necessarily REMAIN optional. In many cases the new technology changes society in such a way that people eventually find themselves FORCED to use it.
I don’t know if the above is fully true. The long tale and my grandma prove that. That being said there is a strong PULL factor to new technologies. Crazy guy was crazy.
Kevin Kelly founded Wired Magazine and coined the term “technium”