Proposition for a Slow Tech Movement: Advocating a more ecological understanding and practice of Information Society development.
“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it any more.”
Call me a heretic. Maybe I’m just getting old and crotchety. Maybe I can’t keep up. Maybe. But I know that in today’s dangerously fragile world, technological progress is rapidly outpacing and out of sync with social progress and development. This is an unsustainable state of affairs.
The networked Information Society is an inexorable part of the larger processes and impacts of ever more rapid technological developments (military, aerospace, energy, biotech, transportation, medical, manufacturing, communications), now affecting every aspect of everyone’s lives, everywhere. Technological development may be an evolutionary imperative, the ultimate path and outcomes of which are yet unknown. It seems evident, however, that in terms of the future quality of life on Earth, regardless of one’s worldview or beliefs, we are at a serious crisis point. To continue to develop as we are doing, denies and undermines all that we as humankind extol about our miraculous intelligence, and puts to serious question our networked social aspirations.
Disparities are increasing. The ‘digital divide’, while changing, is continuing to widen, despite well intentioned technical and social fixes. It is not a technical matter. It is not an easy matter. It will take time.
At best, most of us are just trying to keep up. Innovation and change are proceeding so rapidly and continuously, that there is no time to stop and to learn from our mistakes anymore. And, learning must be at the purposeful heart of Information Societies’ desire to be knowledge-based.
Of coarse, we can’t just stop along our dynamic co-evolutionary path. But taking a lesson from the Slow Food movement, it might be time for us to reconsider our motivations and chart a more intelligent course; to begin to balance the books and make an investment in the Earth for coming generations. For the sake of wisdom, we might deliberately consider learning how to slow down.
Incorporating the best of Information Society development understandings and practices, this might be the time for globally networked “communities of learning” to dedicatedly collaborate on more environmentally, economically, politically and culturally sustaining re-directions.
Slow Tech is rooted in the following common sense propositions:
Eco-manufacturing makes sense.
Consuming less makes sense.
Recycling and reuse makes sense.
Open access and standards makes sense.
Local people and places makes sense.
Less noise-to-signal makes sense.
Sometimes doing less makes sense.
Slowing down simply makes sense.