Constant Mutation in the technological landscape
Let’s go a little further on this matter that affects to all of us which is the technological exponentiality. We must not forget the impact that it may have on increasing production and therefore increased spending on raw materials and consumables, even being able to cause the disappearance of some of them or to make a rising consumption until terms that prevent universal accessibility to which we are accustomed because it will be prohibitive to use them. And this aspect may occur in a time inversely proportionate to the technological increase. Let’s consider a paradigmatic case like could be the use of plastic. A few days ago I read an interview to the architect and designer Philippe Starck where he commented on this issue and how it might influence on change the technological stage.
The overconsumption of oil as the main fossil fuel does not seem to be mitigated with the use of biofuels, bio-based. Moreover, although they could be petroleum substitutes, either biodiesel, derived from vegetable oils, rapeseed or soy among others, or bioethanol, obtained by alcoholic fermentation of sugars from various plants such as sugar cane, beet or cereals, both generate a sad paradox: The overexploitation of vast amounts of land for food, rather than serving to give sustenance to that part of the planet that even in the XXI century is hungry, is used to produce fuel that sometimes incorporates to his process more energy than it generated after like fuel. So little progress in terms of sustainability, CO2 consumption, environmental impact -side effects such as deforestation- and social responsibility.
Do not be forgotten that the synthetic Plastic have their origin in man-made products, mainly oil derivatives. If the oil is finished, one of the potential bases for plastic’s production is finished: electrical and electronic equipment, motors, pipes, insulators, fuselages, waterproofing, furniture, toys, kitchen appliances and utensils, carpentry, sports equipment, packs, packaging, containers, storage boxes, cosmetic appliances, etc., will loose its main material of manufacture. Needless to say that the impact on the Architecture and Design will be brutal. At city scale and at housewifely scale. And there is no doubt that oil’s days are numbered. So not tomorrow but today it should be encouraged studies and research on the generation of new synthetic materials with similar or improved properties to the plastic that allow the same level of universal range of price, adaptability of processes, capacity, availability and recyclability.
In any case we must be optimistic, since the technological exponentiality also considere an exponential increase to access to new solutions. The current universal interconnectivity allows the transfer and implementation of new knowledge in real time, like a great pyramid relativized in time, where the top connects with the base, doubly increased in an infinite loop.
Goodbye to Plastic. Welcome New Materials. Constant Mutation in the technological landscape.
© Texto y Dibujos: Rafael Prado Velasco 2013