“are new results, but not the end results, of modern science…”
The following quotes really stood out to me…all are within the same article…but each speak to me for a different reason. The first quote about new results not being the end results of science brought to mind my ever-present question about the ethical aspect of continuing advancements in technology and the hard sciences. When have we gone too far in what we already have or “know”, and when will we go too far in areas that are under heavy experimentation now? For the first portion of the question, I automatically think of cloning and genetic capabilities, such as scientists and doctors being able to “choose” dominant or favorable genes for newborns. Choose may not be the best word, but it expresses my thoughts about certain aspects of genetics no longer being completely left up to nature, but instead, us. Bringing this back to the article’s intent, the quote makes me wonder if there is a limit to what we achieve in computer technologies, perhaps in terms of copyright laws, privacy, and censoring. How far is too far, and who will make that determination? I’m eager to know who is responsible for already making these decisions, or if they are being made.
“as truly significant attainments become lost in the mass of the inconsequential…”
On one level, this made me think of my website searches for information when there are over 156,798 responses, but I only need the assistance of about two. Meanwhile, until I transformed into an expert website-sifter, I’d spend the majority of my research time looking for sources rather than reading, comprehending, and assessing what I found. Sometimes I’d think about the amount of information available between libraries and the Internet, and I’d feel absolutely overwhelmed. Hence, the necessary skill of website-sifting…however, in doing so, I’ve often wondered how much I miss while skimming through so many sites. It surprised me that Mendel’s work was “lost to the world” for a generation, all because there was SO MUCH else to wade through. Ultimately, this quote makes me wonder what I’m overlooking in my pursuit of knowledge in various areas. Have I been reading up on only the mundane and inconsequential?
“complexity and unreliability were synonymous…”
I have a touch screen phone, and an HP Laptop. My friends have a plasma-screen television, and my boyfriend has a PDA phone. My brother has a Nano Ipod, and my mom has an MP3. My grandmother has a toaster. I might be able to rebuild the toaster, if instructions were included. However, the other technologies are a lost cause. In my mind, the 1945 timeframe of this article makes the quote ironic. Near the end, Bush begins to discuss camera technology, stating that in the future, it “would be advantageous to be able to snap the camera and look at the picture immediately”. In 1986, Kodak scientists invented the first megapixel sensor, and in 1991, the first professional digital camera was released.
While in Bush’s time, digital photography was a hope of the future, it is one of my technological realities. In his time, the complexities that represented unreliability may now seem trivial to us as we progress so much further into digital arenas. In considering all that has happened since this article and many like it were published, it leaves much to the imagination of what will be invented or created by the year 2030 or 2067. Sometimes, I think that our use of technology has burgeoned to an excessive point, and wonder what would happen if times regressed into an age of no computers, phones, or even electricity.
The article, “As we May Think” is timeless in that although it was written over sixty years ago, it still corresponded to relevant questions today of technological innovation.