The Growing Archive

While reading and scrolling through the blog I started thinking how this social platform has evolved from being just an empty website to our own growing archive of thoughts and knowledge. This blog is a great way to share with people what interests me, and how I think and express myself about certain topics. Together with my classmates we have over one hundred posts in this archive, and it is the result of our collective intelligence working towards a broader understanding of technology and what does technology itself mean for us.

Every week we had certain topics and readings assigned, but this didn’t narrow down our writing options. Our different interests, opinions and cultural backgrounds all played a part in forming this archive and the content in it. Although we all went through the same readings and discussions we all drifted apart towards what we found most interesting. From music and movies to science and race, every personal insight on any topic provided by each and every one of us makes this blog unique. When you bounce ideas of each other you can only get to smarter conclusions or at least they are drawn with more information behind them. I feel like this blog has become just that, a big blend of posts by a community that regardless of your interests or if you agree with it or not, gave you and your brain new ideas, different perspectives or just support something you have previously thought.

Some posts complement each other, build on top of each other, some of them might even challenge each other but the important factor is variety.

James Surowiecki writes in his book The Wisdom of Crowds that there are certain advantages the crowd holds over the individual or a few individuals. One of them is exactly that, diversity, the more diverse a crowd is the more you can ensure enough variance in approach, thought process, and personal experiences are brought up to the conversation. What better place for this than a classroom? An assortment of independent students from different backgrounds both culturally and academically. Another key element Surowiecki mentions is independence, as long as we stay independent in our way of thinking and about what we write our growing archive will continue to get wiser, “The smartest groups, then, are made up of people with diverse perspectives who are able to stay independent of each other. Independence doesn’t imply rationality or impartiality, though. You can be biased and irrational, but as long as you’re independent, you won’t make the group any dumber.” (Surowiecki, 2004)

Finishing the semester might mean there will no longer be a stream of posts flowing into the blog and generating content, but what we have learned from the diversity on opinions and discussions that have happened throughout the year is most valuable. Hopefully this archive will not only have taught us but will find its way on the internet to help and contribute to the generation of new discussions and new knowledge.

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Collapse of Societies

Throughout history humans have observed multiple societies that have collapsed and disappeared, but how can we know if it will happen to us or not too? It has seemed as if history has repeated itself time and time again, from the Mayans and the Byzantines to the Roman and the Ottoman empires, they have all fallen and were not able to sustain themselves indefinitely, regardless of the reasons behind their collapse. Even though it does not sound likely and that there is no evidence that anything catastrophic may happen any time soon, we cannot see it happening anytime soon we do face challenges that threaten our existence and we need to adapt in order to avoid the same fate. Oreskes and Conway take a kind of satirical approach to analyze this possible collapse, setting themselves and the story in the year 2393. Like a 20/20 hindsight they go through what caused our society to have crumbled and become unrecognizable from what it is like today. We can identify these possible causes and factors, the problem lies in how we go about mitigating them and their outcomes. Oreskes states “by the early 2000s, dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system was under way. Fires, floods, hurricanes, and heat waves began to intensify. Still, these effects were discounted” Oreskes, N. (2014). Ignoring or avoiding these issues as if they were to disappear by themselves could be what dooms our future. So what can we do today to prevent the upcoming pitfalls using our past experience? This matter has been a subject of research by many scientists and they have come up with theories that try to explain why these societies crumbled. In essence, what we need to do as a modern society is to learn from the mistakes of past civilzations as well as make new observations of our own so that we do not face a similar fate.

Joseph Tainter wrote on his book The Collapse of Complex Societies: “With their administrative structure, and capacity to allocate both labor and resources, dealing with adverse environmental conditions may be one of the things that complex societies do best. It is curious that they would collapse when faced with precisely those conditions that they are equipped to circumvent… As it becomes apparent to the members of a complex society that a resource base is deteriorating, it seems most reasonable to assume that some rational steps are taken toward a resolution.” Tainter, J. (1988). This being stated, how do these could translate to today’s problems, and what advantages we have from these previous experiences? In some cases, resource scarcity starved whole populations, politics and war wiped out entire civilizations and economic crisis vanished powerful empires.

A big factor is the environment; societies ran out and could not find fundamental resources to satisfy their demand. As it happened to a specific medicinal herb or animal species it also happened with really important and irreplaceable resources like water. Scarcity can be a problem by itself but it can also trigger internal and external conflicts in the search and use of certain goods. For example, the Roman Empire deforestation and excessive grazing led to erosion of the land and resulted in unfertile soil. Their cities were designed to hold a certain amount of people, but their rapid growth and overpopulation led to water and food shortage. Although today we seem to find solutions and alternatives to scarce resources, we haven’t managed to find a viable one for our oil dependence and the future energy shortage. “There were very few then who questioned the view that the world was entering a future of increasing scarcity of energy and natural resources…economists ask whether an economy can maintain a positive consumption level forever, given that there is no technical development and that the production of commodities is possible only by using limited nonrenewable resources like oil. This is clearly a question of sustainability. According to their analysis it is possible to maintain a positive consumption level forever only if capital can be substituted for nonrenewable resources without technical difficulties.” Tahvonen, O. (2000). To avert a future resource scarcity and more specifically oil depletion we must focus our efforts on finding new different renewable energy resources or to perfect the ones we know to maximize their efficiency and solve their technical difficulties.

Following these problems, the second factor combines the civilizations’ growth, overpopulation and politics that caused death to its people. The Roman Empire was one of the largest civilizations the world has ever seen, both in land and in population, thanks to their great science and architecture. The Greek historian and teacher Dionysius of Halicarnassus once said: “The extraordinary greatness of the Roman Empire manifests itself above all in three things: the aqueducts, the paved roads, and the construction of the drains.” Oleson, J.P. (2008). These technological advances allowed them to grow at an amazing pace but it had its cons, war and disease. As the Roman Empire kept growing the need for resources and land increased, at the beginning they could just expand but later other cities stood in its way. This obligated the Romans to conquer land through war, causing massive deaths for both sides. At its peak, the Roman Empire covered around 5% of the world’s land and accounted for around 21% of the entire world’s population. The empire became so big that their power and army was diluted into all the different war fronts, eventually failing to keep up with their growth. This factor also generated secondhand effects like diseases, their cities grew so big that diseases spread easily and epidemics were caused. There are “equivalent” issues in our present society that are causing harm to it. The most obvious one is probably the competition between superpowers to be the strongest one, as both the United States and Russia are still making us live in a Cold War-esque environment and as China tries to overpower the rest with its economical and production capacity. Thankfully today diplomacy and politics handle discrepancies in a more peaceful way, but if the day came where a war started and nuclear bombs are involved, the Earth could be extremely damaged and we may not only collapse but also go back to fighting with sticks and stones.

The third factor is social complexity. After solving each problem some collateral damage is done to the society according to Joseph Tainter, who analyzes in his book this very interesting concept, social complexity. Every society starts out as simple social organizations that work towards a common goal and share mutual interests, but as the society grows the more complex it needs to be to organize itself. Social Complexity is a basic problem-solving tool. Confronted with problems, we often respond by developing more complex technologies, establishing new institutions, adding more specialists or bureaucratic levels to an institution. The Roman Empire suffered the consequences of its own complexity, as it thrived new infrastructure was needed, more government and hierarchical administration was implemented, and communications were essential for its survival. Through its development and the solutions to previous problems the Roman Empire became to complex to control, and its layers of bureaucracy became too thick to govern, therefore collapsing and breaking down into simpler societies. By solving problems we are then creating new ones, as Eric Sevareid said “The chief cause of problems is solutions”. Our society today is one of the most complex societies to ever exist, so this social complexity could be a real threat for our society’s survival.

Our society today possesses a huge advantage over past societies, as we have acquired and compiled knowledge and events for years to educate and prevent us from making the same mistakes our ancestors did and avoid the same pitfalls. Education and technology provide the tools for our society to improve and to allocate our efforts towards the most important issues. This same technology overcame barriers that otherwise would have meant the end of our complex society. Although this means we can continue to innovate our way out of rising trouble it does not mean it will always work or that it could backfire. For example, oil combustion engines were a fascinating innovation that resolved energy and transportation dilemmas, but years later we realize it could have been a counterproductive effort considering the alternatives we had for combustion engines such as steam. So if we have information and knowledge, and our technology is advancing at a fast pace, how can we collapse? Jared Diamond mentions in his book four reasons why a society might collapse: “…a group may fail to anticipate a problem before the problem actually arrives. Second, when the problem arrives, the group may fail to perceive the problem. Then, after they perceive the problem they may fail even to try to solve the problem. Finally, they may try to solve it but may fail in their attempts to do so. (Diamond, p.30) He claims that by identifying them we can use them as a checklist for better decision-making in our society, that if we are able to recognize these four stages we can potentially solve them.

Our society is capable of overcoming the challenges we are facing as well as those challenges yet to come, we just cannot forget that what has happened to past civilisations can happen to us too so we will not over relax or fail to oversee them. As a conclusion, prior experience and knowledge are a major advantage that we have over previous civilizations. In addition, our innovation, technology, and broader knowledge allows us to be more capable of figuring out even the most difficult of challenges, but as we keep being successful the larger and larger our complexity balloon inflates and we do not know when it could pop in our faces. Hopefully, in the year 2393 our descendants will read Oreskes science fiction and laugh at how much it failed to depict the future.

References:

Oleson, J. P. (2008). Oxford handbook of engineering and technology in the Classical world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Oreskes, Naomi, and Erik M. Conway. (2014). The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future. Columbia UP.

Tahvonen, O. (2000). Economic sustainability and scarcity of natural resources: a brief historical review. Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future.

Tainter, J. A. (1988). The collapse of complex societies. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Cambridge University Press.

How do we solve the energy problem?

There’s a variety of topics that play a big role on answering this question, including the different solutions to the problem, their efficiency and the society’s cultural background. Since the Industrial Revolution our needs and demands have been changing and some have gained more importance than others. For example, the demand for energy and electricity has increased over the years and apparently it will not slow down. Everything in our daily life revolves around these two major elements, and they have become so indispensable that it is impossible to shift back to a society where they are not one of our central needs. Electricity and energy have been helpful and beneficial in most of their applications, we have cars, phones and computers, but they have also brought with them some problems. At the pace human population growth, innovation and energy usage have been increasing our supply is facing serious challenges. On one hand we need to produce more and more energy, but on the other the common and most effective methods are coal burning and gasoline combustion, both terribly harmful for the environment.

First, as the solution to these rising issues we have come up with innovative ideas and alternate systems to produce renewable and clean energy. Hydroelectric plants are one of the best and cleanest ways to produce electricity, solar panels and wind turbines have attracted society as some of the solutions, nuclear energy could be one of the best solutions but it is not very well viewed by society, and there is also geothermal, bio-diesel, and other small scale methods. It sounds like we already have the answer to the question of how can we solve the energy problem. Unfortunately, these methods have their own issues that we need to address, for example their efficiency in converting energy to electricity and then the inability to store it. Hydroelectric plants cannot be implemented everywhere in the world as you need large bodies of water and it takes a large amount of land. The problem of the inability to store electricity is dealt pretty well with hydroelectric plants, when they experience low electrical demand the excess generation of electricity is used to pump the water back up to the storage to be available to use at high peak demands.

Second, as mentioned before the inefficiency of these solutions somewhat backfire to their purpose. Solar panels are a clean and harmless way to transform the endless energy from the sun into electrical power. The biggest issue with solar panels is their low efficiency in the conversion of energy, the highest record for efficiency is held at 44.7% but most standard photovoltaic cells industrially used vary from 15% to 20%, according to Brian Westenhaus (2013). Due to its inefficiency a larger number of photovoltaic cells are needed, covering acres of land and entire ecosystems, which could eventually raise another set of challenges. A similar problem arises with wind turbines, which are also not fully efficient and due to the wind patterns they do not work all of the time. These alternate energy solutions, even with their low efficiency, are not to blame for the energy problem; rather they are optimistic attempts to shift our oil dependence.

Third but not less important, the cultural background of our society plays a major role in the process of finding solutions to this problem. Scientific challenges and obstacles are normally overcome with time but one big issue that appears with the energy subject is culture. Cultural identities make it hard for new cleaner energy to fulfill their potential, change is scary so people rather stay with what they know and have now. This is one of the most important reasons why electric cars are not the mainstream, combustion engines are what we have been using for so long, they are more “comfortable” in the sense of gas stations infrastructure, and because we do not suffer the immediate consequences of combustion pollution we do not switch.

If we want the energy problem to be solved we need to start acting in every aspect we can, if it is on the scientific field improving renewable energies or at home turning off unnecessary lights. In order to maintain our lifestyles and the current progress and innovation speed we must figure out the energy matter, this problem will not disappear and electricity’s demand will continue to increase, we are the only ones that can fix this energy problem.

References:

Social Media Privacy

Ariel Flasterstein

Comparative Studies 2367.02

Prof. Seth Josephson

March 11, 2015

The Internet completely changed human interaction and the way the society communicates as a whole. I like to think that everything that gets out on the Internet becomes a tiny archive folder in a sea of folders, all neatly organized for us to access in the simplest of ways. When we search or “google” any word we instantly get hundreds of thousands of matching results. Not only are you getting an immense amount of information from the website but also that same search engine will remember what you just searched for and gather information about you. On most cases with good intentions this information is sold as data for marketing strategies and targeted advertisements.

Sherry Turkle wrote on her book Alone Together about how we expect more and more from machines and technology, and less from other human beings. She believes “…we are changed as technology offers us substitutes for connecting with each other face-to-face. We are offered robots and a whole world of machine-mediated relationships on networked devices. As we instant-message, e-mail, text, and Twitter, technology redraws the boundaries between intimacy and solitude.” We might confuse the Internet and social networks as an intimate private space where we can connect with other people; instead we are opening up and “making public” our information. This sense of privacy given by the anonymity of the Internet is nothing more than an illusion as everything, or at least most interactions, we have with the web are recorded and could be accessed by the companies owners, random individuals and even the government.

As written by Langdon Winner in his first line of Do artifacts have politics?: “No idea is more provocative in controversies about technology and society than the notion that technical things have political qualities.” We cannot excuse the Internet and social media from their political realities. There is a lot of power behind controlling or monitoring the Internet therefore there are big interests involved around it. The Internet was created for very political motives, the need of a communications network for the use of the U.S. Department of Defense, but now with the participation of large corporations and the general public in this same network not only countries have political interest but companies and individuals as well. Social networks became a platform for political candidates to address the public and spread their ideological agendas. Winner explained, to be fair with technology, that “Hence, the stern advice commonly given those who flirt with the notion that technical artifacts have political qualities: What matters is not technology itself, but the social or economic system in which it is embedded”. Therefore we cannot blame either the Internet or social networks for its political inherence but on the specific companies and individuals that want the power behind controlling the millions of data stored on the web.

Today most information is kept online, making it harder and harder to safeguard, so the future of social media is linked to the amount of security and privacy these social media companies provide. How much “stalking” or research on one’s social media is considered invasion of privacy? These relatively new ethical questions have been growing quickly as the public has become more aware of their privacy loss. The way companies deal with the legal liabilities, involved with saving and utilizing your information, is through privacy statements.

A communications professor, Joseph Turow, offers some great insight about privacy statements. His research focuses on digital culture and he points out that the general understanding of a privacy policy is that it protects our privacy, which is erroneous. He defines privacy policies simply as the legal documents that explain how customer data will be managed and used by that company. Not only does his research showed that more than half of the “digitally active” Americans do not know what a privacy policy is, but even the ones that try to read them and understand them find themselves delved in a long, tedious and confusing document. Turow said: “These misperceptions are enhanced by privacy policies that are often difficult to interpret, even to the small number of consumers who do try to read them (…) researchers have found that people do not read privacy policies — they’re unreadable. They are filled with jargon that is meant to be understandable only to the people writing them, or to people who work in the advertising industry today.” We assume that any legal document, in this case privacy statements, will protect our interests and privacy but that is not the example on most of these documents but as we normally do not read them we will never know.

There is a similar issue happening between governments and their populations. Under the idea and promise to ensure the safety of its people the governments have both explicit and implicit permission to “stalk” over social media and other social communications platforms such as phones. This particular issue was brought to the public eye most recently by the famous WikiLeaks, disclosing over a million of documents from different governments and their intelligence agencies. In this incident people became aware of the global mass surveillance existing in this world, and although it can be legal it is pretty disturbing.

On a different setting, it has become harder and harder to separate your professional life from your social life. Social networks are a double-edged sword, having your profile out on the Internet can help companies find you as a potential employee and connect you with other professionals to build a business network. On the other edge of the sword universities can quickly judge you through your social persona and an employer’s perception of you might be affected by your online behavior. Even though your social media account might not be completely accurate or a true reflection of yourself, judging a book by its cover is still a strong tendency. This loss of privacy can cause predetermined judgments on other people; at the same time it dehumanizes the hiring processes, as you become your digital self. You become a compilation of pictures and posts that have no context or tone.

These kinds of breaches to our privacy will eventually lead users of the Internet to be afraid of sharing information about them our about any other subject. This would case problems for a lot of companies that their main product is public information and data. Right now there is a lawsuit going on between the NSA and a group of plaintiffs that include the Wikimedia Foundation, who is the company in charge of the Encyclopedia Wikipedia. The journalist David Ingram wrote about the lawsuit and said these breaches “reduces the likelihood that clients, journalists, foreign government officials, victims of human rights abuses and other individuals will share sensitive information with them”. The lack on transparency and anonymity that is embedded on the Internet culture make it very tricky and complicated to regulate theses issues as the amount of information available to everyone is massive and tracking everyone’s interaction with the web is absurdly impossible. This field is largely unregulated and it will only continue to stumble upon more legal, ethical and moral issues, so policymakers should be aware and address these before some irreversible damage has been done to society and the Internet.

Being extremely optimistic and naïve the best solution to these problems come within the companies that gather your information. The more companies know about you the more they should value and take care of that information, in the end it’s the public who has the power to generate the information for these companies or in other words, the “ultimate” client.

In some cases I would not mind to know that the companies are using my information to improve their service or even to offer me merchandise, as long as they were honest on their privacy policies and I know specifically how my information is used. It is the not knowing and that paranoid feeling that someone or something is out to get you that generate the most of the insecurities about the Internet. Companies should try to balance or outweigh their use of our information with the service they provide or by giving us something “valuable” in exchange instead of hiding what they are doing. This “perfect” balance could satisfy both of the parts involved, where individuals would still want to use these social networks and input their information and companies would still be able to make profits out of the data they recollect.

Drawing this ethical line is very complicated and although I do not have an immediate answer I do believe there is a process in which all the involved parties should work on in order to convert this still blurry boundaries into clear rules for the game of social networks. A process where individuals demand their privacy rights, companies make strategies to have both their and our interests as the objective and governments being honest and truthful as to what extent they invade our privacy to ensure our safety. Hopefully the next coming years will clear out the unknowns and shape digital social communications for the better.

References:

Ingram, David. “ACLU, Wikimedia File Lawsuit Challenging NSA Mass Surveillance.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 10 Mar. 2015. Web. 3 Mar. 2015. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/10/us-usa-nsa-wikipedia-idUSKBN0M60YA20150310&gt;.

Smith, Aaron. “Half of Online Americans Don’t Know What a Privacy Policy Is.” Pew Research Center RSS. 4 Dec. 2014. Web. 2 Mar. 2015. <http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/04/half-of-americans-dont-know-what-a-privacy-policy-is/&gt;.

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Basic, 2011. Print.

Winner, Langdon. “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” The Whale and the Reactor a Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology. Pbk. ed. Chicago: U of Chicago, 1989. Print.

Digital Self

Social networks have completely changed human interaction and the way that society communicates as a whole. This came with some cultural adjustments as the medium in which the real life situations were shifting to the online world. This created some privacy and security issues on how people used the system and the information that arrived with it.

Through our social media we give away so much information, that we are not even aware of, that endangers other aspects of our life. From our social media a lot of other medias can be figured out, our email information, phone number, addresses, even your whereabouts at that particular instant. With pictures, statuses, comments, Internet searches are only some of the information and trails we leave behind. We don’t only share information about ourselves online but of our family and friends, so through us, not only is our information in danger but everyone else’s as well. So this made it a little bit weird to take our romantic relationships online, but with time it has proven to have some potential behind it.

As you can’t see who’s on the other side of the Internet and on the other computer people can distort their digital self to the extent they want or even make up completely inexistent people through these social media accounts. This phenomenon became so common in today’s world that a term for finding out about fake or mischievous accounts was invented. “Catfished: Having a fake Facebook profile, images and avatar in order to lure people to have romantic feelings. They are then catfished when the victim realizes the person they have fallen for via Facebook is not who they APPEAR to be.

These are the most extreme cases of being deceived on the Internet but in general a lot of people do minor tweaks to how they portray themselves in the social networks compared to their actual self. Today we have the power to highlight our virtues and positive qualities while we omit or hide some negative traits or details.

The digital self differs from the physical self in that online, a person can be whomever he or she chooses to be. The digital self offers a level of anonymity that cannot be replicated in real life. This can be good or bad. There are many activist groups, such as Anonymous, that rely on Internet anonymity in order to accomplish their goals. However, many instances of cyber bullying occur because the online anonymity gives bullies a mask to hide behind. In addition, anonymity allows many people to get away with illegal activities that they otherwise would not have been able to carry out had their identity been more visible.

One of the biggest issues in people developing an online persona is that oftentimes they are not who they say they are. Although this level of deception can be carried out in person, it is much easier to do this online, where all it takes is a fake name and picture to assume a new identity. Although some people use online anonymity for a positive cause, others can use it with deceptive or malicious intent.

“Fact Sheet 35: Social Networking Privacy: How to Be Safe, Secure and Social.” Social Networking Privacy: How to Be Safe, Secure and Social. Web. Feb. 2015. https://www.privacyrights.org/social-networking-privacy-how-be-safe-secure-and-social.

The Biggest Archive

In the last few years technological progress has been setting new trends and shaping the way we interact with the world. With the invention of social media our social lives and the way we relate with other each other has changed. Not only have they become an important part of today’s social life and communication platforms, but they are huge archives of information online available to the public, like the case of Facebook.

Facebook is, today, one of the biggest archives of information; it contains so many facts of our personal lives that our privacy has diminished exponentially. Not only of our personal information, but this massive archive has embedded smaller archives of their own. This archive revolutionized the way the world communicates and the social conventions that have existed for many years.

This social platform got rid of many “primitive traditions” of our society. Due to its design and capabilities people have reshaped their lives to accommodate these new features that are offered by this site. For example, before Facebook existed we would send out birthday party invitations to our friends we wanted to invite to the event, each invitation was a physical card delivered to your doorstep or, with a little help from technology too, a personal call. There was a clear intention from your behalf that you wanted that person to join you on that special day, but today sending an invitation on Facebook lacks the meaning and the importance invitations used to have. Don’t get me wrong, it is extremely convenient as it is easier this way, but the problem lies on how we use it. Instead of inviting your 10 or 20 close friends, you now invite 380 people, knowing most of them won’t show up, some of them are more of an acquaintance, and some of them might not even be in the same country.

A different example but with a similar idea is the way we follow the “news”. On Facebook, its members have the power to decide what is important news and choose what they want their friends to see. We used to turn to newspapers and TV to receive our dose of news from our country and the world, but now Facebook has become another medium of information. What it is posted on the social media site not necessarily comes from a verified or trusted source but it could have been written by anyone and with no information to support its claims. Also, the easiness with which news can be delivered and shared has decreased the quality and relevance of the information. This has provoked that a funny dancing baby or a Miley Cyrus scandal become trending news and of worldwide interest.

This immense archive called Facebook has many advantages but as we keep investing more and more of our time into its expansion we should be careful to try to differ between what is actually beneficial and what is useless. Most of the times new is always better but that does not mean we have to “lose” all of our behaviors and knowledge to fit or follow the structure of this big archive that is Facebook.

Hogg, Chris. “Study: Facebook Changing the Way People Communicate.” Study: Facebook Changing the Way People Communicate. 15 Jan. 2011. Web. <http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/302589&gt;.

Electric Cars – Better Place

Technological determinism on society goes back and forth depending on the field, the innovations and society itself but we should define certain parameters for this technological determinism to head us in the right direction. By back and forth I mean that a technological discovery sometimes determines society but on some others they do not, like unfortunately is the case of Better Place.

For some people electric cars mean saving the world and our future, for others it is just a hassle, both understandable. Although their timing to build their company’s infrastructure was definitely not a conservative strategy it had its purpose behind it. Now it is really easy to say that they should have built their stations slowly and by stages, if that would have been the case probably less people would have decided to change their gasoline fueled cars to electric cars due to the specific small amount of stations they could go to, therefore being uncomfortable and not very practical.

Now because of the “unlucky” bankruptcy of Better Place both investors and costumers have lost some faith on the electric car business. In the article “Why your car isn’t electric” by Maggie Koerth-Baker, she explains that this similar situation happened in the 1900’s when 34 percent of cars in New York, Chicago and Boston were powered by en electric motor. A series of flawed deals took the Electric Vehicle Company from being the largest carmaker in the United States to bankruptcy and brought the idea of electric cars down with them.

Governments and social institutions, like the media, should back up and give some reward to these kinds of projects even more now so that history does not repeat itself and we end up waiting another 100 years, which we might not have, for them to resurface. In cases like these, where the betterment of society is procured, is where these institutions should outline which innovations should be “required” for society, leaving no room for interpretative flexibility on behalf of the people. For the purpose of exampling what I mean I will exaggerate and say that governments could get to the point where they could ban combustion-powered cars.

It was not only a really hard and expensive lesson for Better Place to learn, that society might still not be ready for this positive and necessary change, but it should also be a lesson for society and each one of us, that even though a company undertook such an ambitious and beneficial venture for the betterment of the entire world and our future generations our lack of action wasted this opportunity.

We might have to learn the hard way too, if we don’t change our cars and stay with our gasoline cars in our “comfort zone”, we are only affecting ourselves and our descendants, and it won’t be Better Place the one paying the price this time.

References: