Is technology a magical superpower?

gray pyramid on dessert under blue sky
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What exactly is magic?

Is it something mystical, otherworldly and paranormal?

Or perhaps it is a complex algorithm of logic intricately designed to create that elusive ‘wow’ moment that makes something feel magical–when really, it is all clouded in cold, indecipherable logic.

It’s all very magical when you don’t know or understand how it works. But once you do, the magic is gone… as is the ‘wow’ moment that initially captivated your imagination. Suddenly, an inescapable sense of inertia sets it. It is why magicians never reveal their tricks. It is why the secrets of ‘magic’ have been closely guarded by a select group of people since time first began.

If not for the tools that we’ve created–or should I say the ideas that were gifted to the human mind so that we could create those tools–the human race would not be what it is today. I’ve always held that as a species, we humans are really not all that impressive. Animals are way cooler. Eagles can see kilometres ahead. We humans–most of us need glasses to see our computer screen.

Okay, so we’re not completely useless. Despite our terrible eyesight, we did somehow manage to observe this relatively heightened ability in eagles; and then we came up with the tools that allowed us to do the same. Binoculars gave us the ability to see what the eagles see when they soar above the vast skies looking for the prey.

In either case, binoculars or no binoculars, we did not–and still do not–possess the natural ability to do, well, really all that much.

Compared to us, animals have superpowers. Where did the superhero genre even come from? Spiderman–a man who can spin webs? Superman–a man who can fly? And don’t even get me started on Batman and Green Lantern. All these superpowers are ‘magical’ to us, but to the animals that are born with that natural ability, there’s absolutely nothing magical about it. That’s their daily life and strategic survival gifts we’re talking about.

Over and over, I hear humans talk about how animals have lower intelligence and how humans are the most evolved of all species—but I’m not too sure. I have tremendous respect for the magicians of our age; for the scientists who discover the intricacies of the ‘tricks’ that make our world spin on its magical axis.

But I simply have no time or patience for unwarranted arrogance and elitism. I have even less patience for theories that have no real-life application. The truth is, with each invention and innovation that comes forward; other innovations are destroyed. Despite the ‘advanced’ stage of our technology and intelligence, we still have no idea how the pyramids were built. Even if we wanted to build monuments like that, we simply wouldn’t be able to do it.

gray pyramid on dessert under blue sky

But before we talk about large-scale construction projects that take generations, let’s bring it down to its very basics. The ‘simplest’ form of technology centred around the development of ‘basic’ tools. These tools may seem ‘basic’ and perhaps even ‘primitive’ to us now, but back then, these same tools were a revolutionary discovery that allowed us to reimagine our existence.

The ability to imagine, create and even stumble upon these discoveries by chance or by accident, has, in essence, allowed the human race to develop more complex, but not necessarily more ‘advanced’ societies. The human mind is not without its faults and fallacies. Many technological products and processes produce toxic by-products, which in turn pollute the environment and deplete natural resources in an unsustainable way.

Innovations have always influenced the values of a society and raised new questions regarding the ethics of technology. Philosophical debates that arise over the use of technology centre around disagreements on whether technology improves the human experience or worsens it.

Ethics can be endlessly and needlessly debated ad nauseam without us ever reaching a conclusion. Arrogance, on the other hand, about how ‘advanced’ our state of technology is–is neither warranted nor necessary. We humans have, and will always, come up with tools. Some of them will take off and change the level of technology for generations to come. Others will crash and burn much like the our gadgets that stop working miraculously for no reason at all.

In either case, I’m of the opinion that technology is nothing but a tool. A tool that is to be used wisely.

Till next time, use the tools that have been gifted to us to do good, and not harm. To harm others and oneself, ultimately benefits no one.

So go forth, and create… and be mindful not to destroy. For if you do, the repercussions will reverberate for generations to come.

By Dipa Sanatani

CEO at Sanatanco | The Leading Global Publication and Communications Consultancy for Writers, Readers and Thinkers

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