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Progress, Portability, Autonomy

What we call progress is often linked to portability and the autonomy it appears to bring: spears to daggers to guns, pendulum clocks to watches, computers to cellphones, vegetables to vitamin pills or Power Bars, movie theaters to videos on phones. All the formerly big things end up being carried on our body wherever we go. And so we become autonomous, able to act independently, apparently self-sufficient despite the environment. The increasing cerebralization of everything.

But the autonomy is only partial; the cost of portability is a dependency on technology and miniaturization and you end up with devices you can’t create or fix yourself, and most people don’t understand how they work. More autonomous in the short run, but probably less stable over time.

Not quite sure where cloud computing fits into this: it’s a giant server farm rather than a miniature, it makes you more autonomous wherever you go, but nothing belongs to you.

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