Monday, April 12, 2010

What if Tech Were a Fad?

This is an actual conversation I had:
- Buddhist scholar: "Tech is a fad."
- Engineer (me): "I think you may be right. But it's a fad that will last for the rest of my lifetime."

So what if I was wrong?
Not to say I believe that statement was wrong, but what might you get by thinking about things as if my Buddhist friend were right?

Wired Magazine posted an article about Lost Tribes of the Amazon using land that modern people consider unfarmable in order to grow crops. Here is an example of knowledge that was indeed lost about leveraging the natural system in which we live:

" “Human engineering, if we do it cleverly, can work together with natural ecosystem engineering,” said McKey.

The mounds appear to have been constructed from layers of surrounding topsoil, which was shoveled out and layered like cakes. That formed the basis of the mounds, which put crops above the flood line...