Alas, a Blog asked the following question on Tuesday:

If you could name one single piece of technology (and I will leave the individuation problem up to you) the elimination of which would most improve life on earth for us humans, what would it be?

Almost fifty people have suggested their answers to this question. Before you read what they said, think about your answer first. Then go here , read the original post and its fascinating comments thread, and add your two cents.

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  1. Thanks for posting this, Dave. I cast my vote for any technology that treats infertility. Like we need more people on this overburdened planet? From what I have been able to observe in the media, most of those who have benefited from fertility treatments shouldn’t have.We refute Darwin at our utmost peril.

  2. Marie Foster says:

    I tend to agree with Ampersand’s assessment. While I like my car, I think that life as we know it would be much more human without them.

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    For the record, my vote was: As long as you’ll allow a broad definition of ‘technology’ I’d day it was the invention, 30,000 years ago, of agriculture and animal domestication. Peter Jay (in ‘The Wealth of Man’),and other economists now say that until these inventions were made in response to the loss of big game, man lived a life of ease, comfort and plenty (not a hard, grim, brutish life as we’ve always been told), in harmony with all other life on Earth, for his first three million years on the planet. If instead of inventing these ‘recent’ technologies, man had done as he always did before in response to a drop in available food (i.e. stop reproducing for awhile), there’d be no overpopulation, no resource depletion, no famines, no large governments, no large-scale wars, no large-scale crime, no suffering, no environmental degradation, no loss of biodiversity, no global warming. There would still be only 6-10 million of us on Earth, as there was for millions of years, and we’d all be ‘richer’ than modern man can even imagine.

  4. Marie Foster says:

    Hmmm…. maybe that was the ‘tree of knowledge’. Much harder to eliminate now however. heh

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Ah, a student of theology, I see. It’s interesting to look at the tree of knowledge and Adam & Eve being cast out of the Garden as an allegory for the dangers of technology. As you point out, it’s of course a one-way trip.

  6. David Hawthorne says:

    “The Bank” is my choice for elimination. (I can see how some might object that it’s not a “technology,” but that’s a different argument.)I see banks as the key mechanism for denaturalizing relationships -between people and things. “Banking” represents an inefficiency, in which energy is lost to natural enterprise, and deflected into un-natural, favored applications whose product is “more” money, and distortions in social energy flows (i.e. dominance, exploitation,impoverishment, power for power’s sake). In short, banks lead to bad decision-making. -dlh

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