Back to the stone age

Emanuel Pastreich 

April 9, 2017 



Of course we may end up back in the stone age as a result of nuclear war. I certainly would not rule that out. but there is another possibility. Perhaps this final cycle in the evolution of technology will lead us back to the culture of the hunter-gathers. 


We are witnessing the 4th industrial revolution, a process by which the entire act of making tools is being automated and spread around the world. We are at risk of losing human control of the process of manufacturing itself as computers expand their capacity. The disruption such a change is making in our society is so immense that it is hard for us to grasp it.


If humans are no longer needed to manufacture, what will be left for us?


One can see the automation of production as the start of a post- modern world, but in a sense we are returning to the stone age. If we are left out of the cycle of manufacturing tools, then we are just like the hunter gatherers of prehistoric times, even if the world around us is radically different. Technology is no longer our possession. Perhaps we are possessed by technology, or perhaps not.

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