Technologies resemble animals in belonging to a specific niche in a specific society. They do not work well, if at all, outside that context. But the fact that technologies can be detached from their appropriate niche means they can be imported without bringing along all the contextual elements necessary for their proper functioning. Technologies can be plucked from the environment in which they originated and dropped into a new environment without afterthoughts. But this can be a formula for disaster,
American philosopher Andrew Feenberg writes in his paper “Ten Paradoxes of Technology”, presented at the 2009 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Technology.
And then an example аs proof of this argument follows. It is about the adoption of the private automobile by China. And the chain of events and consequences related to the fact that now China is the largest market for private cars in the whole world.
Mistakes such as this occur because policymakers fail to realize the dependence of the parts on the whole. In this they resemble ordinary people everywhere in modern societies. Our common sense misleads us into imagining that technologies can stand alone.
It is not hard to replace cars or any other technological product with a service. A commercial, centralized online platform that has been operating globally but is designed and managed in a country and even at a place (valley) in that country that is so different (in every aspect you can think about) from almost every other part of the world.
Ten Paradoxes of Technology – right here for you and me to read and reread again and again.
Thought bubble of mine: What about flying fishes?
Featured image: The 1956 Cadillac in Arizona Dream