Lesson from the wheel

We used to walk on feet and then we began to ride, but things weren’t rolling quite fast enough. Wheels arrived as an answer to the heavy weight that neither we nor the animals under our command could carry. It made our life mobile, increased our mobility on the land, and truly delivered the promise of speed. However, the lesson we could not learn from wheel wasn’t about traveling at all.

Wheel allowed us to travel more with less effort, and carry more load. We eventually learned to use it in more than a horizontal plane, the vertical lift was another major step in the form of pulleys that help us pull the water out of wells and using gravity to balance loads to make taller buildings. In the final shift of wheel’s evolution, we learned that they don’t have to be smooth to be useful and between horizontals and perpendiculars were many angles that could serve many functions.

“Cogwheels helped us accelerate and leverage power.”

That new direction set the foundation of mechanics as cogwheels emerged and energy was leveraged across a clockwork sequence in which we could distribute the force to the other end as we pleased. When a larger cogwheel was used to rotate a smaller one, the relative spin of the smaller cogwheel was higher and vice versa.

Cogwheel
Cogwheels

We were able to rotate objects faster and doing the opposite resulted in the heavy lifting of gates without the use of gravitational balance. Wonderful things happened for a long time till the power of cogwheels to leverage and rotate was replaced with Carnot Engine and Hydraulics. In this transition, two things were preserved: principles and objective.

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We did not lose wheels; we were using only better equipment that served the same purpose as wheels did. What we had lost in the transition was the lesson first part of the lesson wheels had to teach us, “when to use the wheels?” Our understanding of this lesson wasn’t going to be clear until cottage industry were dominated by mass production mega-units.

“Robotics is the modern wheel of human technology, less circular, more versatile.”

Technology took yet another turn and computers took off some part of the mental burden in addition to the physical one. Robotics developed effective methods of doing a man’s work with less amount of salary to be paid in terms of energy. So-called Dark Factories are replacing human labor so companies can save the cost of production. This strategy will be employed increasingly over time.

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What all the nations must decide is whether they are ready to sustain the human labor without putting them to work so they can eat without earning? Joblessness is an error we are creating in our excitement to exercise efficiency of technological advancement. However, this is a question for a nation, not an individual because we are bound to nature’s rule of survival of the fittest.

Nature has clearly favored robots because they do not complain to nature or the owners and cannot protest when they are replaced as they get old. We cannot convince profit-makers to use human machinery when they have a lot more compatible options on the table. If evolution is going to replace man with machines, the revolution has to go from bottom to top, starting from the laborers and all the way up to the leaders.

“The lesson we could not learn from wheel is that are we should evolve at an equal pace with our machines.”

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