More refined technologies brought huge improvements in the quality of life, but also in weapons of mass destruction. Explosives and vacuum cleaners, artillery and the microwave oven. Accurate and sophisticated theories about the nature of the universe were thought up, and then World War 2 started. Thus began the Nuclear Age - you could also call it the Age of Fear. Nuclear weapons, electronics, computers. From then on, scientific research progressed at an exponential rate. Moreover, computing power increased with great strides, quality of life soared. Automobiles, televisions, hi-fis, telephones all improved our lives. Long range bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, neutron bombs and cruise missiles were all designed to destroy others.
Throughout history, science and technology have proved to be a see-saw of sorts, with the ups and downs, benefits and disadvantages, increasing with time. Today, our quality of life in first-world countries is comparatively excellent - life expectancy is high, general affluence is high, entertainment is readily available. But also we live with the terrible, ever present knowledge that one skirmish, one conflict, one mistake, could destroy the delicate balance of the see-saw and our weapons are such that, if used, they could render the Earth uninhabitable. Terrorists can purchase biological weapons that could wipe out entire cities, millions of people. Before, conflict only concerned a few dozen or hundred people with swords or spears, or a few thousand people with rifles. In the 20th century, tens of millions of people have died in violent wars.
We pay the price for our improved lives in blood and fear; maybe it’s worth it, maybe it isn’t. But all the same, there is a price.
Along with the price, there is also hope that we can get off the see-saw. In recent years, there has been a new, relatively unpredicted, trend - the rapid increase in international communications via the Internet. The ...