Top image credit: Simon Petrol/Unsplash
On the 24th of November 2014, Singapore launched its Smart Nation initiative. At the time, the belief was that new technological platforms would empower citizens to innovate and craft fresh, imaginative solutions to contemporary problems.
4 years later, it’s arguable that little of these ambitions have materialised. Looking back on the years since 2014, cynics would dismiss the motivations behind the Smart Nation as classic technological determinism—the assumption that if you focus on technology (whatever the broad term implies), positive developments would necessarily follow.
While discussions of technological determinism have originated since the time of Karl Marx, history reveals that it’s actually not that easy to forecast whether or not technology would result in any kind of progress.
There are some clearly good things that have come out of technological innovation. Take the modern condom for example, which took us 200,000 years to invent.
Before latex became the no-brainer material of choice, mankind resorted to some of the grossest materials to make our contraceptives. Animal parts like lamb intestines, tortoise shell, and animal horn were used to cover the head of the penis.
In Ancient Egypt, women were recorded to have inserted dried crocodile dung into the vagina as it was believed that the faecal matter would soften as it reached body temperature, forming an impenetrable barrier.
It was only after the deadly syphilis outbreak in the 15th century that the use of proper contraceptives became more widespread. Linen sheaths that covered the entire penis were introduced to protect men against sexually transmitted diseases, before rubber condoms came into vogue from the late 19th century.
More Info: ricemedia.co