A very usefull method to understand the impact of technology is the ‘pyramid of technology’ by Next Nature.

Next Nature Network is the international network for anyone interested to join the debate on our future – in which nature and technology are fusing. In a landscape of traditional nature organizations, Next Nature is the only group that approaches the concept of nature in a new manner. Preserving nature is of great importance, but we must also dare to look ahead. Did you ever consider eating cultured meat? Are robots threatening our jobs? Why doesn’t a tree in the jungle represent ecological value? Next Nature tries to find answers to this and simular questions.

The pyramid of technology, based on the ideas of Marshall McLuhan, describes the seven levels at which technology may function in our life. Technologies may move up and down the pyramid, while lower stages need to be fulfilled before the next stage can be attained. At the bottom of the pyramid we find technologies that are envisioned, meaning that they only exist as an idea or image (such as the time machine). At the top we find technologies that became naturalized, they are part of our human nature (such as clothing and cooking).

Using the pyramid for new technologies gives us insights in possible and probable future developments of these technologies.

In this article Koert van Mensvoort of Next Nature explains the model: ‘How technology becomes nature in seven steps‘.

Or you can watch this lecture.