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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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Musings on the Nature of Technology

Musings on the Nature of Technology

A picture taken during the trip (own photo)

Recently I have been on a four-day hiking trip, completing another 80 km (~50 mile) stretch of the 1171 km National Blue Trail running across my tiny country. This gave me plenty of time to tune into and ponder on the many podcasts I downloaded previously, but never had the time to listen to. One of them was a pretty long one, but it was definitely worth the time; every single minute of it. Out of the many concepts and ideas thrown out there the one that really captured my imagination was the distinction between regenerative and degenerative technologies. While this might sound abstract and theoretical at first hearing, nothing could be further from the truth. As you will see, this dichotomy explains a lot about our past, present, and yes, our future too.

Without further ado, let’s start with degeneration, as known as the decline or deterioration of things. Needless to say, everything we build or make degenerates over time. Paint peels off, rust starts to develop. Abrasion eats away machine parts. Break pads, batteries, bearings etc. all need to be replaced from time to time. Water enters concrete structures, and rusting rebars throw off large chunks of cement. Without constant maintenance and repair both buildings and machines become unusable then dangerous, until they finally break down and collapse.

Compare this to regeneration: the renewal, regrowth, or restoration of body parts. Notice the difference, how even the definition itself refers to ‘body parts’ — not machine parts. Everything in nature is in constant recycling: either growing and living, or decomposing. Nothing is exempt or goes to waste, and everything has its place and its role to play…

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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