This video clip of Canadian comedian Louis C.K. on the Conan O’Brien show is quite amusing. He is talking about how people take air travel, and technology generally, for granted. He has an amusing way of turning around the common gripes people have about air travel:
â€˜And then, we get on the plane and they made us sit there on the runway, for 40 minutes. We had to sit there.â€™ Oh? Really? What happened next? Did you fly through the air, incredibly, like a bird? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight, you non-contributing zero?
It’s true that people fail to appreciate the immense effort and skill reflected in things like computers, pharmaceuticals, global communications, as so forth. At one level, that is simply a lack of curiosity. On another, I think it’s a kind of defence mechanism: people are completely dependent on these technologies, and yet few understand them at all. Most people probably couldn’t even explain how an airplane wing produces lift. That general point is especially well made by James Burke. He chooses an even more banal technology example than air travel, elevators. In the first episode of his series, he demonstrates how our attitude towards them demonstrates our dependence, ignorance, and vulnerability.