TOOLS, TECHNOLOGY, STEM, ROBOTS and “Artificial Intelligence”




These times, day-by-day, humanity creates and experiences much extraordinary, fast-paced, dramatic progress of all kinds. We keep discovering new situations, problems, identify and create new needs, then imagine and create new opportunities, ways and means for their resolution. The availability and utilization of new tools and technologies usually generates new, exciting, and at times unexpected, misconceived virtues, often related their new, unfamiliar benefits and dangers.

Naturally, claims about new technologies are normally welcome, but at times such claims can be exaggerated and/or misleading, if anything, simply because of the various possibilities for anything to be, somehow can be used either BENEFICIALLY or DETRIMENTALLY. Take for example: clean, pristine and pure water. It can be used to create, protect and nourish life or conversely, (mis)used harmfully to destroy it through asphyxiation or blunt physical impact. Likewise, a highly complex “inter-continental nuclear missile system” can be designed and implemented to target, burn and destroy infrastructure, millions of lives and the planet itself during worldwide violent conflict, or otherwise, deployed and used to detect, target and destroy celestial objects to reduce the dangers of a massive, destructive collision with our planet.

In a similar way, today we hear deep concerns about the catastrophic damage caused by “greenhouse gases” through harmful disruption to earth’s atmosphere, ecology and climate, caused by waste and pollution resulting from harmful human activities. Less apparent but similarly pervasive and destructive concerns can be the ones directed to individuals and communities affected by uncontrolled dissemination, misuse and abuse of personal, commercial, industrial, and socio-economic information, mostly in widely used electronic forms, such as the Internet.

The beneficial or harmful effects of all kinds of tools, simple (i.e. sticks and stones, fire) and complex (i.e. small and large electromagnetic, analog and digital devices, supercomputers and “giga-factories,”) are important: because they are the effects of necessaryhelpful things,” physical objects and ideas we most likely intend to help us understand, work with and take proper advantage of our environment. Tools is what has made, and continue to make us humans successful, to survive and thrive with and against good and bad environments and conditions. We survive, live and secure our living because of the tools we create and how we use them.

A new, increasingly powerful type of tools today from the area of digital technology are the ones referred to as “AI” or Artificial Intelligence. These enhanced information analysis and decision-making tools allow powerful abilities for non-human, non-living, physical devices and systems to improve, and possibly substitute, the coherence of human sense, judgment, intelligence and independence by tools (as independent, automated devices,) executing actions normally expected from, and even beyond the control of humans. Specific worries about AI refer to the possibilities of loosing control of our environment: allowing rogue devices, machines and people involved, to become inappropriately enabled and entitled. This means: “things” becoming independently enabled (autonomous,) to conceive and execute unproductive, destructive, dangerous, and basically, anti-human activities.

Similar concerns and situations have arisen in other situations and moments throughout history: Over a century ago there were warnings about the threat of “horse-less carriages,” evil robots and machines that could replace and eliminate humans and/or the need for their presence, at work and elsewhere. Powerful, out-of-control, rogue artifacts and computers, massively destructive “atomic power,” harmful and pernicious “electromagnetic radiation” in the air, dangerous “cybernetic creatures” and “evil virtual-embedded reality weapons.” Today we are indeed suffering tools and complex systems capable of violating the privacy, safety and well-being of individuals, groups and societies.

In today’s “information age,” we do know that poorly understood, innovative tools of technology can and do influence peoples lives, affect and destroy the well-being and freedoms of people and communities through invasive physical interference or uncontrolled, misuse of information. Things like “big brother watching” surveillance, “Dark Web” information collection, mining and misinformation, wide-coverage “satellite communication networks” can assist war and global damage as feared in the ideas of “guaranteed mutual destruction” and terrorism enabled in the past through public communication and the media. A few decades ago, even a short, simple radio broadcast (Orson Wells - War of the Worlds, October, 1938) was able to provoke larger scale panic and chaos among an otherwise peaceful and quiet population. Poor understanding and manipulation of sectors of our massive information infrastructures can become instruments of social impact to either promote productive understandings and progress, or instigate misunderstandings and fears that provoke failures and disasters.

Indeed, there is no doubt that anything can be used effectively to do good or evil: water can nourish or otherwise, suffocate and kill, tools can as well. Tools can be used to provide good help, or inflict intended or unintended damage and destruction. Automation, acting as unassisted help, likewise can help productivity and quality of the goods people produce, or replace labor and negate well-being for at leasst some of the population.

So, let’s look at some basic questions about the meaning of the words “tools” and “technology.”


For most of us in daily life, the word "tools" reminds us of the useful objects and devices we keep in a "toolbox" at home or at work to help us discover and fix practical problems.

In general, however, the word refers to (e.g. Wikipedia 2017) "any item that can be used to achieve a goal.” The Oxford Dictionaries and the Cambridge On-line dictionary (ref) define a tool as: "A thing used to help perform a job," or "anything that helps you to do something you want to do". ...

Stated in an extended way: a tool is something we use to help us do the things we need snd want to do to stay alive and live better. We do this by using and extending the capabilities of our own bodies to explore, think and change our environment in smarter, more effective (cheaper, faster, safer, and/or more powerful) ways.

Therefore, we can say that virtually every man-made object, a hammer, a spoon, a fork, a knife, as well as computers, telephones and their applications are all tools. Also the clothes we wear, our homes and the vehicles we use to move around: Tools are all the objects and their uses that help us understand, imagine and deal with the environment to stay alive, protect us. live and enjoy our existence in safer and happier ways.

From the beginning, we have used our bodies and all kinds of objects in our environment as tools. Clearly, much of our success as humans on earth can be has attributed to our continuous use and improvement of our tools, assisting and building on our basic nature-given strengths. Today we have tools that help us with almost every need and activity. We design, produce, and utilize newer, more effective and satisfying goods with assistance from the environment itself for understanding and applying our energies.

Starting with simpler tools,sst t1

... we have improved to today's and tomorrow's simple and complex tools.

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