Slack and Wise Chapter 1

Chapter 1 in Culture and Technology goes into detail about the story of progress. Progress tends to go hand and hand with technology because technology can be measured, is linked to scientific advancements, is rational, and allow more production more efficiently. Progress by definition is to move forward but it implies moving forward towards a goal or a direction.  Slack mentions Robert Nisbet’s ideas that “We aren’t marching blindly into a future. Rather, we are advancing toward what we envision as a utopia on Earth. Things will get better and better, and eventually we will achieve what we understand to be ‘the good life’” (pg. 10) This stood out to me because these statements are evergreen. With each generation there are going to be new goals and advancements people strive to achieve in order to make progress. People used to strive to have solid houses to live in and food to eat, now we are looking for the most efficient and cost beneficial accomplish these simple tasks, like building houses greener to cut on costs and fast food to save time.  There are two types of goals progress moves toward, material betterment and moral betterment. Material betterment is to live a more comfortable life, like to be healthier, have more material things and so on. Moral betterment is to be spiritually enlightened. Progress draws out two other concepts, evolution and sublime. Evolution is the slow adaptation of living creatures to environment conditions over generations. Evolution partners with progress because evolution is living creatures working towards progress. The bodies adapt to the circumstances before to “better” the next generation. The other concept is sublime. Sublime is a glimpse of perfection, or viewing of God’s work, like the Niagara Falls. There are multiple types of sublime: technological, mechanical, electronic, digital, and mini. Digital technology is already advancing and progressing towards artificial intelligence. Progress is meant to be a positive attribute because as a whole we are moving together towards a goal, but is that goal going to be worth it when there are robots taking over humans’ jobs? There is a movie, Ex Machina, which shares a glimpse of what a robot with artificial intelligence is capable of and what the future could quite possibly hold.

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