Whilst weaving the web of tech..

Two million years ago, we were mere insignificant creatures, as Harari used to say — group of species who used to trod the dirt and mud of rough sand, and the fallen leaves of elegant flora in the misty mountains. Our repasts were mainly animal flesh, processed for appetite, of course, and leaves of magnificent wildlife. Ancient hunter-gathering communities dwelt in large landscapes — making those peculiar architectures their hunting grounds. Our forefathers dwelt in the midst of the most magnificent creatures — who now have become extinct — often making them their preys for survival and sport. Enough evidence share the fact that hunter-gathering physiques were covered with mammoth skin — to overcome the cold of climates and to dignify themselves of slaying these majestic creatures. However, Darwinian evolution segregated our childhood heroes Dinosaurs and mankind, maybe to avoid an utter catastrophe. Nevertheless, it is a known fact that the sheer size and breeding rate lead these enormous creatures to extinction. For the evolution to happen for any species, the rate of births and deaths needs to be slightly equal — or the former a little higher. Giant creatures such as mammoths bred at a slower rate — which paved the way for the extinction of themselves at the hands of our forefathers who knowingly or otherwise, slayed these wonderful creatures.

Thousands of creatures were slain, hundreds of species ceased to exist from the face of the planet. Yet, we remained on soil. Our wit has become thicker , tools have become sophisticated and dominance has become pivotal. The Cognitive Revolution which took place 70,000 years before, lead us to a standpoint of an Industrial Revolution which began in Eurasia. One of the core cognition for the modern revolutions such as Industrial Revolution was the question “Do we know everything?”. Europeans, whose lifestyle was transformed after cognitive revolutions made them ponder on this particular question — thus lead them to investigate more. While other regions believed they knew all how-and-when, Europeans went to many explorations worldwide. They were not enriched with technology — but their quests lead them to conquer such lands with enormous heritages, human resources, wealth and technological contraptions — eventually leading them to superior infrastructures. Aztecs were not skeptic of the Spanishard Cortes’ words that he uttered of himself being a Kings’ Messenger. Aztecs themselves believed they knew everything of their own empire, and of these Spanishards who had hair of the color of the sun, which ultimately lead Aztec Kings’ guards to be slaughtered at the hands of Cortes’ mates and hold the King as a leverage.

On a separate note, most of the uttermost architectural findings and archaeological valuables were discovered by Europeans. A good example would be William Jones, a European who discovered the roots of Sanskrit, the ancient language of ancient India. No Indian knew how and where the origin of this language was, and they never cared. It was this quest for knowledge that lead Europeans to discover more and more.

We, living in the past colonies of the Queen and King, tend to blame the Europeans for conquering the country and killing its populations. But heed this paragraph from Sapiens by Harari.

“ European empires did so many different things on such a large scale, that you can find plenty of examples to support whatever you want to say about them. You think that these empires were evil monstrosities that spread death, oppression and injustice around the world? You could easily fill an encyclopedia with their crimes. You want to argue that they in fact improved the conditions of their subjects with new medicines, better economic conditions and greater security? You could fill another encyclopedia with their achievements. Due to their close cooperation with science, these empires wielded so much power and changed the world to such an extent that perhaps they cannot be simply labelled as good or evil. They created the world as we know it, including the ideologies we use in order to judge them.” — Sapiens, pg. 336.

Time flew on rosy wings. Immense territories which our forefathers conquered were divided amongst small groups of nuclear families. Razor-edged stones were replaced with metal knives, stone age bows were transformed into heavy metal guns. Stars no more guides us to the destination, Google Maps does. Wall paintings no more give us wisdom, Amazon Kindle does. Passerines won’t carry our memos anymore, our phones do.

Funny thing about Kindle-like devices/applications, I heard from one of the TedTalks. 15–20 years back, we read books. Books kept in silence, giving us wisdom. But now, books won’t keep still — they’ll watch you, reckon your reading appetite, and give recommendations (There’s a whole new area of Machine Learning techniques for Recommendation Systems) and judge you based on other peoples’ choices. Have you ever though about this when you’re reading? Maybe not — because our inner selves are immersed in the modern world tech.

Relationships, nowadays are very different from what the condition was 15 years back. When you’re in a need, you called a friend — now you call Google. When you want to turn your lights off when you were on the bed, you had to shout you mother to do it — now Google Home does it for you. When you yearned for an intimate relationship, you pursued the person, stalked his/her instincts and behaviors, got to know him/her from a distant and got a clear mental picture of the person — but now, “You do swipe right and bang! You’re a Stud!” , as Simon Sinek used to say. It was perseverance and physical communication which made good relationships back in those days — but now things have changed. It was always the sheer awkwardness of social protocols which gave birth to wonderful intimacies— not contraptions with a touch screen displays.

Human perception is altered to adhere to the spinning wheel of technology. Leisure is given away to liquid display screens, despite the wonderful chirps of fauna and the fresh fragrance of flora. Music, as we knew it, is gone — replaced by monotonic waves of computer signals. Strings, as of yet, plays a very minor role in the realm of music but millennial souls rarely seek for the solace of the trembling strings — rather, they would pick the artificial remakes. Feelings of human beings are replaced as well. Inevitability of the mobile phone has become crucial — that a tendency has been molded inside our ulterior to lift our hand up and reach it in a periodic fashion.

Most of the modern revolutions yielded negatives and positives. The world is full of negating binaries — for every positive, you have got negative. Thus, an occurrence of any factual element cannot be categorized either as black (Wrong) or white (Correct). Facts are grey. Technology, is the same. It not only caused turmoil, but helped to build the society stronger in a way.

One would have to lay low if counter arguments arise against advertising the adversities of the advent of technical contraptions, for it has provided so much for the societies. A significant percentage of human society gets treated for cancerous diseases, with medicine invented throughout the passage of these technological inventions. Electricity, from which I use to power up my laptop which the contents of this article reside, is an invention of technology. One wouldn’t have to ponder on the calamities of oceans in order to reach another person in another country — just have to use some sort of a VoIP (Voice over IP) method. Our forebears, in need, used to travel the vast calamities of tides to reach another country in old ships where wind was the sole driver forward. Now the case is entirely different — use either an airplane, or a cruise ship. Just google the size difference of the Titanic and a modern cruise ship — just for the sake of entertainment.

However, if one contemplates about this, he would attend to the conclusion that the positives outweigh the adversities. That, is the truth. We benefit so many advantages evolved from technology, than the negatives that we are facing.

Nevertheless, think about what aspects of our lives that these negatives are affecting. Relationships, as discussed, need old-school endurance and perplexing circumstances to endure. Peace and solace of mind needs to be attained through humanism, that is, being human. Old-school techniques of attaining solace are still in play in the remote regions of the planet. They still worship the same old sculptures and sing the same old scriptures. Somehow, they are in total happiness. Why? Because their needs are minimum, as their lands are not befallen with the shadow of tech.

We are not the only species who have come across evolution — all the other creatures endured the same gradual process. The difference is, only us, Sapiens, have the wit and capacity to understand this phenomenon. The root of the Dog, is for example, is the Grey Wolf. Winter seasons lead these wolves for the left-over meals in the midst of groups of tepees. One particularly mischievous wolf cub somehow got through to one mischievous man cub, and the playful cub was not harassed by human parents. This formed a new relationship between Sapiens and Canis, marking one of the strongest bonds in our historical manifesto.

The following extract is from The Cat that Walked by Himself, by Rudyard Kipling.

When Wild Dog reached the mouth of the Cave he lifted up the dried horse-skin with his nose and sniffed the beautiful smell of the roast mutton, and the Woman, looking at the blade-bone, heard him, and laughed, and said, ‘Here comes the first. Wild Thing out of the Wild Woods, what do you want?’

Wild Dog said, ‘O my Enemy and Wife of my Enemy, what is this that smells so good in the Wild Woods?’

Then the Woman picked up a roasted mutton-bone and threw it to Wild Dog, and said, ‘Wild Thing out of the Wild Woods, taste and try.’ Wild Dog gnawed the bone, and it was more delicious than anything he had ever tasted, and he said, ‘O my Enemy and Wife of my Enemy, give me another.’

The Woman said, ‘Wild Thing out of the Wild Woods, help my Man to hunt through the day and guard this Cave at night, and I will give you as many roast bones as you need.’

This domestication lead wolves into dogs, which ceased the sheer aggressive behavior, and most of the capabilities of the wolf.

Back to human. As for already industrialized regions, there’s no going backwards. Thus, what’s the alternative? It is awareness. One might have to be aware of how to be free inside his/her own freedom. One has to be aware of how to pursue relationships. One has to be aware of how to attain the satisfaction of choices. One has to be aware of the importance of perseverance and skill. We, Homo Deus, are no longer hunter-gatherers. We are a product of Darwinian evolution of Sapiens. The strength of muscle and the wit for hunt have diminished gradually and incrementally. Instead, one must remember, that wit has been transformed into a different form which leads to a scientific pursuit. Our brain structures are altered and refined to collect intellect. Our goals are different, than that of our forefathers. Thus, it is a different society. Nevertheless, be aware, the human factor is still the same. Thus, we shall keep the human in tact — not letting shadows of tech darken our ulterior. We shall be the best of humans.

Software Engineer, CSE Graduate @ University of Moratuwa