We love Karl Schroeder. We had him as EcoGeek of the Week a while back, and he spent some time talking about how technology, really, is a form of legislation. In a recent post at World Changing, he's fleshed out his ideas, and they are absolutely worth a look.
The basic idea is that there are a few ways to change the world. You can change the way you act, and maybe society will also, voluntarily, change. This approach is generally very slow. Or you can change laws, though government is so slow-acting and beholden to industry that this may be even slower.
Finally, you can change the world by changing technology. So, you can try and ban coal-fired power plants all day and night for the next thirty years and you won't have much luck. But if you go get a degree in physics, and create a solar panel that produces cheaper electricity than coal power plants, then no legislation in the world is going to keep coal alive.
Technology is thus probably the largest (and most unrecognized) vector for change. That change can be both positive and negative, but it is my belief that it has been, and will continue to be, positive. But we have to watch it. We have to be a part of it, and promote the good, and attempt to control the bad. Because once a truly useful technology is loose...there's no putting it back into the bag.
written by Ryan Baker, September 29, 2007
written by Karson, September 30, 2007
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