#

From The Revenge of Analog by David Sax, on the story of digital progress:

Our world would be successively rendered into bits and bytes, one program at a time, until we reached a state of digital utopia, or the Terminators came for us.

The Revenge of Analog presents a different narrative, however. It shows that the progress of technological innovation isn’t a story of a slow match from good to better to best; it’s a series of trials that helps us understand who we are and how we operate.

This brings to mind an analogy to evolution by natural selection. It’s often misunderstood that evolution represents a sort of upward progress to perfection. The reality is that it is progress toward reproductive fitness, integrating whatever allows a species to propagate. An evolved species is not ideal in every way. Rather, in some ways it may be worse off than its earlier iterations. (See Breath by James Nestor for examples of how our evolutionary adaptations have actually devolved our breathing functions.)

Technology evolves, but its latest iteration may not be ideal in every way - may be worse in some important ways. This is where human judgement about the purposes of life and technology must engage, refusing to allow ourselves and our world to become slaves to our technology.

✍️ Reply by email