Why technology will reconnect us to nature

We want to be connected to nature, but our society’s needs still shape our lives. Let me show you why technology will bring us forth into a state it has once torn us out.

Many people wish to realize this romantic dream of living right inside nature, but for several reasons they need to live in a house. But what is the difference between a wish and a need? The separation of both is blurred because needs and wishes continually transform into each other.

To need something describes the inability to live without it properly, but to want something means feeling a desire for it. So it seems very clear what is what, right? Until you get used to a fulfilled wish.

A wish can become a need as soon as it is once satisfied.

Take the smartphone for an example. When they were first announced, nobody really needed one but many people wished to have it. It wasn’t until individual people got used to them that being able to access a smartphone became a real need for those people. After a while these devices became important tools for communication and problem solving and are responsible for a huge amount of web traffic today. Removing them would mess up many people’s lives until they would get used to it again. Until owning a smartphone would revert to a wish again.

So while you might wish to live independently in the top of a tree, you are bound to the infrastructure your local environment is providing. How can I be warm in winter? How do I get to work? Where is my food coming from and where’s the next doctor? What protects me from dangerous events or peoples? There’s an endless list of problems your house in a village or city is solving.

When we finally solve the problems that hold us back from doing what we want, we will live in a perfect relationship with the nature around us.

Humans want to come back to nature and find their deep connection to it. But the way we achieve this is not by dropping all of our technology and move back in time. We do it by continually progressing into a state where we symbiotically integrate our technology into nature. We can start integrating structures in our planet or in other planets, but the next time we do it better. The streets, cities and buildings of today are early prototypes of what will be the new way of living. Someday, people who look upon the technology of today will have the same perspective on it as we do when we look at an ancient tool.

Imagine yourself to be able to appear at any point in space — and maybe even time — just by thinking about it. The whole infrastructure of today would be pointless, an artefact of previous times that was once required to achieve the status quo. Find a genuine solution for mobility and you will ultimately make everything we built obsolete. Your kids will be confused when you educate them about the 21st century when people sat in vehicles for hours just to move to another country. And by the way, what is a country?

It is out of our imagination how people are going to live in this time, but they most certainly just won’t need the kind of buildings we have today, thus they will disappear alongside our streets.

The way we build things will dramatically change

There are people who are improving on a thousands of years old method to grow furniture out of the ground. Instead of cutting down trees to process them into a chair, they support them to grow into the shape they desire until a beautifully unique chair is grown, ready to be harvested. Even though similar arts have already been performed by ancient cultures, the possibility is unknown to most people. Fortunately, mass producing things this way has already started. This concept even leads to the further creation of whole buildings. It is a way to breathe life into formerly lifeless objects and it’s much deeper woven into the environment but with a lesser impact on it.

Growing a chair. Illustrations with friendly permission by http://fullgrown.co.uk/

These are just an examples to question the way we build things. I believe with further progression, we will some day be able to integrate our technologies deeply into nature so it becomes a part of it. It is an utopian vision today but worth putting some imagination inside. Because when we solve some of today’s problems like mobility and energy, it’s a magical world to think of. Maybe even lifeforms will be the new “Things” in the IOT.

Further reading
The digital human