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Tool Vs Machine

Balkrishna Agarwal 4 min read

Somebody I know, messaged me about how we are letting Machines take over the world. I will spare you the long-read & come to posting the end & gist of it:

“The immense glory with which the capitalism has grown stepping over all pillars of human values and ideals.

Would we be so complacent to let go of our combined human conciousness without feeling a thing or expressing a bit?

We're heading towards age of immense turmoil & confusion and it's no more a want but a need to concentrate the last known bits of great debaters who has a lost their arguments to someone with brute force. The craftsmen who lost its livelyhood to machine. The poet who feels left out when human comprehensions are left to be consumed by memes. A writer who isn't tech savvy to use digital publishing tools. A painter who's colors would never see a light on Instagram. A performer who lost his stage and audience to YouTube.”

Here are was my question to him:

The knife & saw used by craftsmen wasn't a machine?

The pen used by writer? The brush & colors used by a painter? The lightning & costume used by a performer? Are these not machines? Or a product from machines?

He mentioned about capitalism, so I thought probably his issue was with the crazy discounts & losses from the online world. So I asked:

Why as society we rather go for free or pirated stuff, unwilling to pay?

Here is the answer I received

tools vs machine.

Me:

What's the difference? Old = tool & new =machine?

Didn't the first wheel & cart displace jobs of human carriers? What is it? A tool or machine?

The first spear would have given its wielder an unfair advantage above a fighter who had none. Tool or machine?

If we oppose tech i fear we will have to go all the way back.

Him:

I believe there's a subtle difference because in the end any tool is meant to assist a human expression or a way of life. Of-course in this age of mass consumerism we can regard even human as tool and disregard the sentiments and spirits of life. Machine is combination of various tools as far as human intellect coded inside it. But what it lacks is the spirits of life and expression.

Its same amount of difference as resistance vs opposition. I'm not opposing. I'm resisting. I'm saying we need to step back and think. So that we can make it better.

Me:

1. I would love to read the book "The Dying Art of Killing a Bear with Hands" (Written in the backdrop of the rise of machines, called spears)

2. What makes you assume that we are not thinking?

- Activity like OpenAI & Open Source software, etc... are initiatives after a lot of delebrate thought & hence action.

- Laws are being framed as we talk, across the globe around technology

- Whats the deifinition of "we" & "step back" in this statement. "I'm saying we need to step back and think."

3. So if we(humans) step-back(stop all research) & think(whats the format? Voting?) & there are multiple & varied opinions? do we stop all action/research in quest for unanimous verdict? If we are looking for an unanimous verdict aren't we killing the diversity inherent in humans?

4. & If the idea is to allow this diversity, isn't that's what is happening now? Aren't People are thinking & voting with their actions?

The conversation died here, with no reply.

Remember we talked about metaphors in the post last week at pt.24. Somehow we relate Machines with evil (The Rise of Machines, etc…) & Tools as good. We find new ways to justify our biases & beliefs. (Who knows I’m not doing just that?”)

Here is my definition of Tool Vs Machine. Its not old vs new. “Its a Tool for person who has access & Machine for the person who doesn’t.”

I think this conflict has its foundation in the Fair Vs Unfair debate. People feel its unfair that they don’t have access to the new technology or they didn’t see the changing wave & upgraded them, hence they feel to be a laggard to their peers. Their concerns are genuine but probably not the perspective. The thins is Life never promised anyone fairness. Please don’t get me wrong, I am a strong believer & proponent of “Fairness/Equality of opportunity”. To make use of the opportunity on the Individual. Quite frankly, Internet has only increased fairness. You can learn anything, network & collaborate(at-least reach-out) with almost anybody, publish your art/work, build your own tribe.

Why do the upstarts topple the incumbents so often? Probably because they realise early on that life is unfair, make their peace with it & focus on their own toil. Incumbents probably don’t realise their privilege, hence the unfairness of life itself & don’t know how to deal with it until its too late.

See the irony? Even unfairness is fair :)

Consider gifting me a book here, If you enjoyed reading this or would like me to do a detailed summary of the book.