If I buy a hybrid car, but I’m still stuck in daily traffic have I improved anything? When I’m stuck in that traffic with five other hybrids have we as a society accomplished anything at all?
A faster phone with a bigger screen is not progress. Phones these days are amazing devices. But faster and larger are not useful qualities in and of themselves. They can well be detriments (shorter battery life being one obvious downside).
It’s often noted that the best technology is the result of someone solving a problem for themselves.
If we could use technology to improve the current system so that it is sustainable, are we missing the chance to ask whether the current system really delivers “the good life”? Aren’t we missing the opportunity to have happier people, a happier planet, and fewer people struggling just to eat well and drink clean water?
What if we replace GDP with some measure of contentment?
The problem I am trying to solve is the engineering (social, personal, technological, what have you) of the “good life.”