Fire Escape?

Fire Escape?

An exterior fire escape of a DUMBO, Brooklyn building. You might remember this 1976 Pulitzer Prize winning photograph "Fire Escape Collapse" of people falling from a collapsed fire escape.

Fire escapes are an example of technology solving the problems that technology creates. All is fine until the fire "escape" collapses and technology can not solve its own problems. Now consider dangerous technologies like nuclear energy. Four years later, the Fukushima disaster is far from over. It is argued that technological progress can not be willfully stopped. That argument is inherently driven by martial fears; What if our enemies develop a technology and dominate us...

Arguably, it could be stated that most technology is born out of military ambitions. Computers, radio/television broadcasts, GPS and even synthetic fertilizers all had military applications before we put them to civilian use. Even the accidental discovery of penicillin by Scottish pharmacist Alexander Fleming had its roots in World War I. Eighty or so years after the introduction of antibiotics, we are now seeing superbugs resistant to all antimicrobial agents we have developed. There is no "fire escape". Will technology catch up, or will one strain of these superbugs wipe us out? Technology is not neutral when we've reached the point where one "failure" could mean an irrecoverable global catastrophe. It is delusional to think we'll come up with a "technological solution" to global warming "in the future", when technology and industry itself is responsible for it. I hope that I'll be proven wrong. We all know we're creating potentially catastrophic problems, but the fact is, you don't know, just as I don't know, whether we will come up with solutions to every threat technology is creating.
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