Humans vs. technology

Think Again: Who wins? The argument never has to be humans versus technology. You’ve noticed, I’m sure, that any dichotomous proclamation is easier to portray and can be a more dramatic means of rallying support. An inflexible “this way or that way” attitude also is less optimal than collaboration, integration, and resolutions. Here are examples ...

By Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief November 1, 2008
Would collaboration help?

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Who wins? Oh, please. How many times have you explained to family and other friends that the argument never has to be humans versus technology? You’ve noticed, I’m sure, that any dichotomous proclamation is easier to portray and can be a more dramatic means of rallying support. An inflexible “this way or that way” attitude also is less optimal than collaboration, integration, and resolution. Examples abound of late:

  • Democrat or Republican, blue or red, bailout or no bailout, your fault or their fault. (It’s never our fault or my fault, right?) Don’t even get me going. There’s more than enough blame to go around, if you choose to see things that way. Let’s just resolve the problems. Notice I say “re-solve” rather than solve. If more people were aware of history, they’d see that many of today’s challenges have been solved previously.

  • Sustainability or global warming ? David Greenfield makes short order of this fallacy on page 2, pointing out that engineering and sustainability go hand in hand and make good sense, no matter what the temperature. I’d like to think fairness plays a part, as well. If you don’t grasp that concept, do an Internet search on something like: “ If everyone used resources as does the U.S., we’d need five planets to support everyone .” Engineers know efficiency and can help.

  • Humans or machines? Labor or automation? Jobs or robots? Controls and instrumentation often are portrayed as evil (or at best geeky and eccentric) by much of Hollywood and mainstream media. We know automation can increase efficiency and save jobs . We’ve been all over that one since our inception in 1954. On the other hand, not every technology application will save humanity. Technologies are tools for our responsible use. Control Engineering will continue to work with you to ensure we benefit humanity the best we can, while helping your workplace and community.

Like so many other things in life, it’s not whether the glass is half empty or half full. Better that we ask: “Is there clean water in the glass? Who’s thirsty?” And “May I serve you?”

MHoske@cfemedia.com