May 27th 2014

Technolution or the evolution of technology.

Understanding the future of artifacts.
Matthias Horx, Trend researcher and futurologist

On Thursday, May 22, in the framework of the MCI Alumni & Friends lecture series, the MCI hosted an extremely exciting talk given by Matthias Horx.

In his lively presentation, the German futurist offered his audience new perspectives on the complex world of technology and its development over the centuries.

According to Matthias Horx, technology and the future go hand in hand. But technology is a “hard nut to crack”. In order to understand it better, one has to put aside the technical heroism of the 1960s and see technology through evolutionary eyes – hence the term technolution.

The speaker went on to describe the evolutionary path of technology and its drivers, namely power, mobility, control and effectiveness. The final direction a development takes, however, depends ultimately on such factors as habits, systems, fear of the loss of control, ethics and the environment.

Human beings are capable of imagining technological progress in all fields of life and in most cases of achieving it, too. But here Matthias Horx takes a critical look at the meaningfulness of technological development and asks whether we should really facilitate all brainless work processes simply to be able to concentrate on more complex things?

Technological success is not about what technology can do but what society decides on. We therefore have to try to understand the deeper technological relevance. “Do people really need a speaking refrigerator?” Where such questions are not asked, the result is likely to be one of the many technological flops that we have seen in the past.

Today we are living in a new age, and it almost seems as if we were in a phase of technological stagnation, with fewer inventions being made. Matthias Horx is nevertheless convinced that the future also has great potential and that technolution will continue.

Starting this autumn, the MCI’s students will be able to learn more about the subject of technolution in a project run by Matthias Horx himself.

The highly successful talk closed with a lively discussion. The proceedings were chaired by Professor Ralf Geymayer.