Technology Must Not Be Evil: The Atomic Bomb Archive on Google Earth
Tomorrow marks 66 years to the day that the United States dropped an atomic bomb, perversely named “Fat Man,” on the city of Nagasaki, Japan, killing upwards of 80,000 people. Not three days earlier in 1945, the nuclear payload of “Little Boy” had killed upwards of 166,000 in the city of Hiroshima, leaving the bombings’ potential death toll at 246,000.The lives of many could now be ended instantaneously with a button.
The atom bomb, often said to have ended World War II, remains a controversial topic of debate today. To me, the events indicated not simply the horrors of war, but also how the technocentric worldview ushered in by the Atomic Age allowed us to disassociate ourselves from violence, guilt, and responsibility. Such a paradigm might explain why we live our lives unconscious of our burdens on nature, as William has written about.
Google, despite its recent failure to understand the need for psuedonymous social networking, is a tech company to be admired for its informal slogan, “Don’t be evil.” But this comes with a caveat: it is actually not the platform that does good or evil, but its users.
With that said, Hidenori Watanave Laboratory at Tokyo Metropolitan University is a particularly good collective of users, having created The Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Archive. Using digitized source material provided by museums and survivors, you can now use their “pluralistic digital archive” to virtually travel through Japan and hear first-hand stories.
Last year, the Hidenori Watanave Lab also produced a Nagasaki archive, which you can explore here.
It’s wonderful that this need for other forms of digital memory is being addressed, especially in a time when we can easily recall the exchanges logged on Twitter or Facebook, but also forget the not-so-hyperreal.
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TAGS: atomic bomb • Atomic Bomb Archive • digital archive • Hidenori Watanave Laboratory • Hiroshima • Nagasaki • technology
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