Hi David,

I found your article interesting. You state: "our species is determined and well on its way to merging our humanity with our technology."

Humans have been doing this for some 3 million years. There is nothing new here. Consider a snail. A snail without its shell is a dead snail. The shell is integral both snail. Ditto concerning us and "technology".

There is also a lot of confusion about "technology". A car, a robot, a smart phone app are not "technology". They are mere means to achieve aims. Technology is what the Greek words say it is: a critical discourse (logos) on the state of the art (techne) to find better ways of doing things. Based on technology, often embodied in patents, we develop technology classes, e.g., the class of all internal combustion engines (ICE) and technological systems. For example, when people talk of "the car", they refer in fact to the tip of the tip of an "iceberg" that for the best part they do not see. A car entails, roads and bridges, road and bridge making and maintenance, car manufacturing, car maintenance, an insurance and banking industry, a health system to treat the many injured people, an oil industry extracting a bewildering range of crudes, transporting it and processing it and delivering transport fuels, and, of course all the ecological, social, and financial consequences thereof and the industries and government bodies involved in addressing all of this. This is "the car"...

So, people like Ray Kurzweil, whom you mention, more often than no rush to make statements without ever asking themselves whether they have sufficient knowledge to do so... and most often an examination of what they propound shows that they did not. They mostly leave out a slight detail that stand to derail their fantasies. The industrial world has been in thermodynamic decline since the early 1970s and has entered the terminal phase. This is far more ominous than the "mere" climate emergency, all the more so than most people in power are wholly ignorant of the issues. The industrial world no longer has a self powered energy supply technological system capable of powering it in the longer term, i.e., beyond about 2030. Unless this is addressed as a matter of utter emergency, what you focus on is most likely to stay well "over the horizon".

To find out more about what I am pointing out and what can be done about it, please see at:

Repowering the planet, the Intelligent Way — Introduction and Summary, (https://fourth-transition.medium.com/repowering-the-planet-the-intelligent-way-introduction-and-summary-4ef44c9d17b9?source=your_stories_page----------------------------------------) and subsequent parts: Repowering the planet, the Intelligent Way, Part I — Understand the problem, and Repowering the planet, Part II — How to re-open the door to the future, intelligently, all on Medium.

I hope this helps,



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Thanks for the very thorough response. You're one of the few that's taken time to do that I honor that. However, it does seem that we disagree on basic ideas, trends, and - sadly - definitions.

Cars, robots, and smartphones are - by your own Greek definition - technologies as they've all found better ways to travel, communicate, and work. This is why, for me, I also call computers, TVs, planes, rockets, microwaves, and other tools "technologies". So I'm confused as to how and why you'd offer a definition to me that verifies my choices while telling me that it does not.

A car does NOT entail roads and bridges. To entail means to involve something necessary. A car does not necessitate a road or a bridge. But it usually does entail wheels, an engine and drivetrain, some kind of frame and a seat or two. So I'd go back and check your definition on this as well.

Lastly, Ray Kurzweil is a celebrated inventor, scientist, and futurist. I'd say he's EMINENTLY qualified to make predictions about the future and has more that sufficient knowledge to do so. I'm rather shocked to hear you claim otherwise, given the amount of data available about the man.

As for the industrial world, to suggest that it's been on decline for 50 years without providing any data seems odd to me. Without that, it's merely your opinion. When I look to the battery, rocket, automotive, medical, computer, cannabis, aircraft, wind and solar power industries, I see the opposite: I see growth, gains, new jobs, and incredible milestones providing citizens with awesome new tools.


As for climate change, my episode wasn't about that. Is the environment a concern of mine? Absolutely. Would I write about it in the future? I might, yes. Do I think we need to prioritize a modernization of our grid and power sources? Sure, I do.

But, again, that's not what my piece was about and I don't agree that the changes that I see coming won't happen BECAUSE of the coming energy crisis. I feel certain that they will happen precisely BECAUSE of it. Emergencies help move the needle further, not slower.

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Jan 28, 2022Liked by David Koff

Hi David,

Thanks for taking the time to respond. It seems that you largely misunderstood what I sought to convey. Let's try to unpack this. Re "Cars... all found better ways to travel, communicate, and work." A car is a thing. It does not think nor finds anything. It's a piece of machinery. It's fine if you want to consider all of these things as "technology" like most lay people do. However, what I was inviting you to consider was that looking at "things" this way hinders addressing the core challenges of our time.

What I commented on is not new. There is an abundant body of research on this that has been accumulating for over 50 years (e.g. consider the work of Bruno Latour).

You insist that "A car does NOT entail roads and bridges... A car does not necessitate a road or a bridge." Have you ever tried to drive a common car cross country, through ditches, fences, hedges, rivers, rocky terrain, marshes, etc.,? And running it on empty, without fuel? In my comment I listed some of the matters that are necessary for cars to exist and be usable...

Concerning Kurzweil, yes he is an inventor, however, a number of his "predictions" fly in the face of thermodynamics, systems dynamics and ecology, but he does not seem to see that in doing so he is out of his depth, outside his domain of competencies, in my observations and that of a number of colleagues at least ;-))

As for the industrial world, it seems that you misread me. I stressed thermodynamic decline. Of course, global GDP has kept growing most of the time since the early 1970s. However, available data shows that net energy from oil per head of global population per year has been in decline ever since. Net energy from oil is a critical parameter. The whole of the industrial world depends on this, and it's trending fast towards nil, even though the whole energy supply systems struggle to keep itself going.

You do not seem familiar with what I pointed out. This is why I wished to alert you and why I suggested you take some time to read what I posted, which summarises research by a large number of scientists and engineers over the last 50 years based on massive evidence. Humankind is on the brink, numerous researchers alert to this. It gives ground to all of us reviewing critically all our preconceptions, beliefs, matters we take for granted, before looking for better ways of doing things, so that we do not keep repeating the same mistakes over and over. There is no longer any margin for error left.



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