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Explorer + Creator: Jamie Hyneman

Text: Lisa Frissel Media: Lieke Vermeulen Graphics: Minerva Loos

He seeks risks and adventure, being attracted to challenges and adrenaline. He is mainly known from the fourteen years he hosted the television series Mythbusters and his never changing appearance. We talked to him about the role of technology in the future. Are we going to end up in a utopia where technology and humans live side by side like a happy couple or are we standing at the beginning of a spiral that goes down and ends in a catastrophe?

“We should go full speed ahead”, is Jamie’s comment about the possible confusing and duplex role of technology in the future. “Technology is what we decide to make of it. It is not something that exists outsideof us or exists in a vacuum”. He continues: “So if there are problems with technology, it’s our fault and it’s our choice as to whether it has a good, positive effect on us or not. I don’t think there is any particular benefit in burying our heads in the sand. It is something we need to embrace in technology. And if it needs to be restricted because it is having negative consequenc- es or something, we should be aware that it is our responsibili- ty to stop that or change that”.

When people use the word technology, they tend to think of smartphones and apps only. Jamie believes there is much more than just digital technol- ogy. “Technology is an applica- tion of science and engineering to make products that people use. We rely on it. I think it’s a wonderful thing that needs to be embraced, but I would like to see people embrace it more”. Jamie explains.

The real world

“I get asked very often what we should keep an eye on in terms of technology. I can point to bioengineering. We have seen what digital technology does and now artificial intelligence, and it will continue to advance rapidly and produce surprising results.” Jamie says. “We have only just begun to practice what is our relatively new under- standing of genetics, our ability to control genes and the effect on our bodies”.

“As I like to point out: we get so caught up in our understanding of technology and our commu- nicating with each other. But we have to eat to survive, we still get sick, we get cancer”, Jamie concludes. “We live in a real world and the impact of our ability to go directly to the mother lode or source, the things that make us kick as biological creatures, our ability to manipulate that in some sense, is just mind popping”.

“Myth buster is almost a cliché now”, is Jamie’s comment to the question if we are currently dealing with any myths around technology. “It is a term we mention and it seems to have resonated with people, but at heart it was about rational in- vestigation and critical thinking. And I think it is really important for people to be encouraged to maintain the ability to have critical thought”. He says. This is where the creativeness comes in, this is where you do new things and learn.

Jamie’s advice

The goal of myth busters was exploration, adventure, science and engineering. They just tried to answer questions about the physical world and in some ways, it’s very comparable to what we learn here at our very own faculty: we experiment and figure out.

Jamie explained the importance of failure, the whole point of it being there is learning. He says asking questions is the only way to figure things out. “Curiosity is exploration and adventure is science. You need some kind of risk involved.” Jamie encourages people to try new things. His advice is to just survive the first time you’re doing something new. Then you make notes and learn.

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