Jumping robots, progress? – Toward what?

All this modern technology is of course fantastic. iPods, The Internet, GPS. All fantastic.

Military robot hops over walls

Military robot 'hops' over walls

However, despite being a great user of all this stuff and despite having been in the computer industry since 1978 I can’t help thinking that it does not make us any happier. To quote Hermann Hess in Steppenwolf when referring to the radio, these things are merely an “ever closer mesh of distractions and useless activities”.
Personally I think that technology probably peaked around 1959. By then we had sufficient technology to ward of the evils of this world and we could have switched our efforts to art and understanding.
But people being people we continue to improve and tweak the physical world only, these days the driver is not curiosity but greater efficiency.

But how much does efficiency contribute to happiness?

The BBC reported today that the American military are beavering away to invent more nutty ideas. This time it’s a little mobile shoe box that can jump over 7 foot high fences. Hooray. Just what we need.
My theory is that they will pack it with explosives and use it for targeted assassinations. Another boom to make the world a better place?

They say that “you can’t stop progress” but “progress” implies a destination. What is the destination that is brought closer by jumping robots?

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