Medieval Beliefs and Technology – A Dangerous Combination

In a previous article – I set forth with specific examples and then social activities that prove that some beliefs are dangerous to people.

For the sake of brevity – let’s call these beliefs “Medieval” beliefs.  Hence, the article title “Medieval Beliefs and Technology – A Dangerous Combination”.

The era of the car has two major segments.  The segment from inception through the early 1980s where mechanics could easily understand the operation of cars, how to fix them, and the theories behind how the car works.  Sometime in the 1980s this changed as cars became computerized.  Now we have advanced cars with ABS, Traction Control, computer controlled intake and exhaust valves on the head, EPA pollution controls, and vast entertainment systems.

When purchasing a Honda Odyssey Elite it came with two thick books explaining the end-user operation of the vehicle.  Not even breaching any technical details.

This parallel continues in many portions of our lives.  In fact, this concept is so prevalent that people are beginning to think of technology as magic rather than obeying understandable principles and physical laws.

The third law of Arthur C. Clarke states: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Honestly, though, we are far from that point.  At some point in our history though we have been developing technologies and not adequately education the population on how technology works.

In another article I will discuss concepts on science fiction and levels of technology and culture across the world.  Suffice it to say for now that there are people on many different levels of culture and technology and some of those levels of technical knowledge is extremely low and the culture is somewhere in the Medieval era.

So here we are.  Many different levels of technical knowledge groups in the world and many levels of cultural groups in the world and all of them have access to technology.  The irony meter spikes hard when anti-technology, anti-science, and anti-future people use the internet to spread their ideas.

There should be requirements for people to use technology – that while they don’t (and I certainly don’t) understand how a specific device works (say an iPad) and there might not even be a single person that understands all the aspects of technology that an iPad uses – they should understand the basic principles involved in order to be allowed to use the technology.

For example: the iPad depends heavily on the speed of light, the speed of electrons through a medium, and programming.  People who use iPads don’t need to be doctorates in any of this, but they should understand how light works on a basic level.  They need to understand the implications of light, the speed of light, and how light from the stars takes millions to billions of years to get to the Earth and what this means for the size of the universe.

This is, of course, what Neil deGrasse Tyson tried to bring out in the reboot of the Cosmos series.

For example: the use of cars, trucks, and many other forms of transport depends on fossil fuels.  In order to drive a car, people should understand where fossil fuels come.  That those fuels were formerly plant matter trapped for millions of years and with the pressure of rocks turned from living matter in to oil.  We should understand on a high level the pollution caused as crude oil is processed in to gasoline for our cars and plastic for use, well just about everywhere.  We should understand how much pollution is generated by burning a single gallon of gasoline, and multiply that out by roughly the number of cars in the world or gasoline produced in a year to understand the volume of pollution created every year.  This should then be related to the total volume of the Earth’s atmosphere – and then the understanding that climate change is a result of human creation of large amounts of pollution which when multiplied over the years results in a change in the overall composition of the Earth’s atmosphere.

It doesn’t take a lot of math to do the above.  It doesn’t even take hard math.  Just some numbers and a little multiplication.  A simple PowerPoint could get the point across.

Alas, access to this information isn’t easy or I would create a short YouTube video to explain the process.  Maybe I still will do that if I can do a little research to find out the necessary information.

We find ourselves in a world where a significant percentage of people don’t have any understanding of technology and science.  People who continue in beliefs that are damaging to humanity on an individual level and as a whole.

What happens when these people have access to powerful technologies, such as nuclear weapons, advanced data analysis techniques, and governing apparatus (government itself being a form of technology) and access to information?  People with Bronze age ideas could use powerful technologies to suppress the people who have developed and want to continue to develop humanity, science, and technology.

Consider if someone gained access to government data, the government was watching a specific group, and then used data analysis or even just the master data (such as the names of people and their addresses) and began a campaign of the members of that organization?  Once, this was part of a storyline of some Science Fiction story that I’ll never write.

Data analysis of government sourced data, commercially sourced data, or even through infiltration of organizations of master data such as lists of members and their addresses could be used in a much more nefarious and damaging way.  By cross-referencing the members you could find people that are members of many organizations that are against your belief system.  Killing people that are members of multiple organizations such as Planned Parenthood, NOW, and the American Humanist Association would be a targeted approach that would impact all your opposing organizations reducing their members by one each instead of just one organization by 1 member.

Data analysis can do many more things with membership lists.  Suppose you had ten organizations on your hit list and you were able to access the minutes of all those organizations as well as the master data of membership and address lists.  You could then get the frequency of attendance of the members as well as an additional master data of their position in the organizations.

Talk about targeted approach – you would then target people not only who were members of multiple organizations, but people who were contributing members, and weight your output towards people that have position in the organizations.  If you have ever been a part of an organization you know that often there are many members and few that contribute frequently.  Targeting members that contribute frequently to the organizations in terms of effort and not just in money – would have a deafening impact on freedom of speech and those organizations would become very unpopular to be members.

This, too is part of an idea for a Science Fiction story I was thinking about years ago.  Except, now instead of Science Fiction it could just be written as something that could easily happen today – and it could be performed by people who have very little knowledge of technology.

And there is the problem.  People with little knowledge of technology using advanced and dangerous technology.  ISIS using video cameras and the Internet of which they as an organization and no doubt the vast majority of their members have little knowledge of how it works.  Christian preachers such as Pat Robertson touting their anti-education agenda on the Internet that was built, founded, and is maintained by thousands of people who had a lot of education and capability and no doubt put many hundreds of thousands of man-hours in to the creation of the Internet as it is today.

Today technology is still relatively limited in capabilities.  Tomorrow, as technology rises in capability it can be used easily as a tool of oppression by governments, antagonistic organizations, or even rogue highly intelligent individuals.  Safeguards need to be developed and technology may need to be controlled in terms of who has access to it.

It is ridiculous to restrict access to smart phones, iPads, the Internet, computers or cars – even though basic knowledge should be a requirement before people can use them.  Tomorrow there will be AI systems, codops (computerized doppelgangers), vast computer systems controlling military systems, and already today there are vast computer networks that control financial and logistical systems.  Ease of use has a nasty problem that if anyone can use it what happens when someone gets access that means to do harm?  Imagine if all the traffic lights in a city or a state were computer controlled and that system was hacked and completely disabled?  The complete chaos that would be generated would be similar to the major blackouts in NYC in 1977.


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