TED Conversations

Mitch SMith


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What do we trade-off for the comfort of technology?

We all go for it - the quick-fix.

But later, we often find that our ignorance has been exploited for the advantage of someone else .. who's only virtue was to get there first.
Evolution has nothing to say about getting there first .. there's nothing there to code in genes.

So .. what I'm asking is - what are we giving up for comfort?

How much comfort is constructive, and at what point is it exploitive at the benefit of comfort for a few, but at the detriment to our species?


Closing Statement from Mitch SMith

The conversation went quite wide.

I am disappointed that few actually got the point of what advantage is traded off for comfort - and who gets it.

There are even those so vein to think that they are in total control of their lives.

Hey ho - at least we explored it a bit.

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    Jul 1 2013: Are you thinking of things like using fuel and electricity to keep living spaces within a narrow band of optimal temperature rather than allowing greater variation of heat and cold? Perhaps using private automobiles for the sake of privacy, time-saving, and control of ones mobility in lieu of using public transportation? Using artificial lighting rather than waking and retiring with the sun?
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      Jul 1 2013: Yes,

      As a rough measure, one might use the human body as a metric.
      For instance:
      Our bodies seem to require some level of motion to maintain robust health.
      There is some evidence that we need electrical grounding for many cellular functions to operate properly - polymer-soled shoes are not good for that.
      The lymphatic system relies on a certain level of deep breathing for circulation.
      Over-washing the skin actually makes us more vulnerable to infection.
      Then there are the radiation issues with cell phones and other electronic gadgets.

      All these things seem to have polar extremes .. water is good to drink, but easy to drown in.
      Should all these things be taken in isolation? Or is there a common dynamic that can be employed for forming adaptive policy?
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        Jul 1 2013: As you write, what is common is that more is not always better (of use of particular technologies or of anything else). There are ranges of "better" points (I am deliberately not using the word optimal, as I doubt there is typically a unique best level of use), which differ for different people.

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