28 December 2010

The Age of Technology

When I was in high school I was roundly ridiculed for suggesting that we needed to call the times we live in something other than modern. Now, if by modern you mean new, up to date, fine. That is one of the meanings of the word. But if we use it to designate the age we live in, all epochs from here on out will have to be called modern and we will be unable to distinguish which age we are talking about.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica says that the Modern Age ran from 1450 to 1900. They, as did I, recognized that the age we live in is profoundly different from, say, 200 years ago or even the mid 19th century (1800's). Before World War I most of the world's population was rural. They had little by way of technology and social relations were much more traditional. After World War I life has become dominated by technology and runs on powered equipment. Now most of the world lives in large cities and people live from industrial and post-industrial jobs (if they can find one) and not off of agriculture. Social relationships are fragmented, fragile, and fraught with uncertainty. No wonder people feel unsettled, unhappy, and disconnected in spite of all our communications. We feel cut off from the past. People feel differently about the disconnection, but we all feel it.

We need to recognize at this point that the Modern Age is now over and we are in a new and different era. I will refer to our new era as The Age of Technology for convenience. In the next couple of posts I will discuss briefly what the change of eras means to us and how it can help us understand our circumstances and take control of them. In the background of my Angela series are the technologies that affect us and the social and political problems they bring on. The plot of each book turns on the main characters' ethics, which bring them in conflict with the interests who profit from technology at the expense of most of us.

One last observation: Technology is neither good nor bad in itself. However, like money and sex, it is very powerful and likely to be destructive if not handled ethically and with discipline.

Please visit my web site at http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Angela1.html to find out more about Angela 1. You can enter "David A. Bedford" in YouTube and find the trailer for the book (not a very accurate one, but worth a viewing nonetheless) and a TV interview about it.

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