It is argued by some sociologists and historians that civilizations are built upon the primary driving principle of problem solving.
A group is formed when individuals with similar needs band together and cooperate in order to solve more and more complex problems. We have basic needs such as the need for sustenance (food, water) and the need for shelter which are easier to fulfill when we cooperate with others. Once we can fulfill these basic needs we begin to develop further needs, such as the need for companionship (this could fall under a basic need), social order, equality, and intellectual fulfillment, which creates problems of their own to be further solved by a cooperative group.
As this cooperative group grows (since the individuals are solving problems of survival and are living and reproducing), the problems become more difficult and complex, thus necessitating increasingly complex solutions. As a group bonds throughout this process, a society is formed, and eventually, a civilization.
This process of a group of individuals solving problems, which eventually amounts to civilization, generates technology, which serves as the solution to increasingly complex problems.
In this post, I will go over some of the different problems and solutions that we see in today’s age. Why? Well because I want to show you how complex things have gotten, because it is interesting to think about, and because I can boast that Allied Modular seeks to be part of the solution of course!
The problem of Interdependency
The problem of interdependency arises when we have a system that features highly interconnected elements, be it the closely interconnected relationship of society, the economy, and the environment, or simply the interrelated parts in a car that work together to make the car run.
Interdependency problems emerge when we make changes to a certain element in a system and that element is connected to other parts of the system, resulting in undesirable effects or even a failure of the overall system. For example, if we make technological changes to society, those changes will have an effect on the environment, which can be negative if we aren’t careful. Also, if we change out parts of a car, the car might not function properly if it requires certain parts.
The problem of interdependency can be solved by making elements more self-sufficient. Self-sufficient elements are elements that can exist on their own, such as modular walls in a modular building. Modular walls can be switched out of a building because they are designed to exist on their own without being an inseparable part of the building. Self-sufficiency translates to sustainability when it comes to environmental relationships and modularity when it comes to manmade systems like buildings and cars.
By advancing technologies that are sustainable, we are designing the technologies to exist on their own without adversely affecting the environment. That’s how sustainability works in a sense. Furthermore, by creating objects that are modular, we are making each one of the interrelated parts within that object self-sufficient. What this means is we can switch out different parts and still have the system work without having to destroy the entire system and make a new one.
The problem of Progressive Corruption
The problem of progressive corruption arises when we progress too much in a certain direction without considering the effects of the progress we are making. This can make progress which was once beneficial become undesirable and even destructive.
For example, in the 1970s we began to realize that our careless technological/industrial expansion was hurting the environment. Without taking the environment into consideration, it looked like we were progressing as a technological society in leaps and bounds; but really, all the waste we were generating was causing measurable climate changes and ecological problems such as polluted air and water.
We can solve the problem of progressive corruption by engaging in intelligent, conscientious progression. This translates to the green movement of today.
Today companies around the world are designing ingenious products that not only solve problems of sustenance, transportation, shelter, and etc, but it does so in a manner that makes the product itself friendly with the environment and sustainable. This is an incredibly complex, challenging task, but completely necessary to the further survival of the human race.
The problem of Space
The problem of space arises simply because there are so many of us and a limited space for us to expand in. This problem is solved in several ways.
We are constantly engaged in shrinking technology and living spaces, while maximizing functionality and livability at the same time. Housing units are cramming more and more living accommodations into a decreasing space to make room for more people, and this process has effects that trickle down from the top: as living spaces get smaller, appliances get smaller, rooms are designed in a more efficient manner, living spaces now have multiple functionalities, and etc.
Modularity comes into play here as well. If you have modular living arrangements, you can switch elements out to suit different functionalities instead of requiring multiple rooms that serve multiple purposes.
For example, in an extreme case, a single room can serve the following functions: a kitchen, a living room, and a bedroom. Tables can be switched out, appliances can tucked into walls, beds can be removed or extended out, all because these objects are modular and can be easily separated from their environments.
The notion of increasingly complex problems and solutions can be seen in this very post. Because I had to explain an idea that is pretty complex, I had to incorporate more and more concepts that unfolded in all sorts of strange, complex sentences and wordings. I hope you are still following me, as I barely even know what I’m talking about anymore (just kidding)!
It is important to understand the monumental task of problem solving that our modern civilizations face. Oftentimes we are tempted to call a lot of people idiots, especially out on the road, but just remember, there are a lot of ingenious people out there with great ideas. Sometimes it seems like our society sees some pretty complex problems, but our ways of handling those problems are growing more complex as well. Something to be excited about for sure.
We here at Allied Modular hope that our solutions can help in this great struggle of ours.