Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where does it go?

London traffic jams were getting worse

So the the M25 motorway was built and would usher in a new era of ease and convenience.

Well, everyone knows what happened.

The M25 facilitated new real estate development all around its circumference

It also necessitated the use of cars rather than public transport

Soon the M25 was jammed.

The solution?

Make it wider and add more roads.

Of course that caused even more development and congestion.

The immediate engineering solution of widening and adding more roads to accommodate the ever increasing number of cars only temporarily relieves the congestion

An excessive car-to-road ratio just results in a worse problem in the long run.

That is a perfect example of a technological short term fix which avoids the long term solution.

Technology usually has unintended consequences because it avoids any longer term thinking

Resulting in a worsening of the problem the technology was supposed to solve.

Globally we are near a tipping point where a lot of these technological fixes are becoming exposed

Exposed for what they truly are - temporary fixes

Fixes that hide the way they have ripped society into more and more tiny pieces

In this case pieces separated by roads

By money

By time

Because the technology divides us into those who can use and those who cannot

Generally speaking, unintended consequences are not the result of poor engineering

Or even bad planning but more because no one was looking at the long term

No one was thinking laterally

Everyone sits in his little sphere of interest

These unintended problems cannot be eliminated through tighter controls

Technology by its very nature introduces the possibility of ever more controls

A delight to bureaucrats and governments alike

And one they seldom miss

But the limited understanding of all the variables results in plethora of unintended consequences

Consequences that are now becoming clear to all

A planet raped and pillaged in the name of technological advancement

So imagine that we are living in times where many of these events are likely to unfold before our very eyes

Like it or not

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