Before creating a new blog category, I find that it is incredibly important to clearly define why the topic is important to both me and the world.I will also lay out why following the blog category hopefully won't waste your time when it comes to getting some value out of it.
Technology is ultimately defined as doing more with less. Because technology is capable of doing more advanced calculations, predictions and analyses with only marginal effort (compute power), it is one of the most important undertakings of the mankind. More importantly, technology has the capacity to truly transform quality of life for all people in the world and should be treated as an invaluable resource. Finally, as Elon Musk remarked in a 2014 interview, technology (specifically AI) has the capacity to undermine humanity in a profound way. Such dangers must also be addressed with respect to extreme consideration for humanity and the people that technology is intended to serve.
Technology is more than just computers
Firstly, technology is often broadly associated with advances in only computers and internet related technologies (like Twitter or Google). This heuristic is not only a serious fallacy, but it also undermines the potential of how technology can help shape the world through more positive life outcomes for people.
Consider the case of biotechnology and advanced vaccines. This is medicine, right? Advanced medicine owes a great deal of gratitude to technology because without data analysis and computing power, pharma companies would not be able to create life changing vaccines that can cure entire populations. Advances in medicine are not just advances in only medicine, they are merely byproducts of advances in technology. They are technology.
As such, I firmly regard technology in many different types of capacities, including air travel, medicine, and transportation.
Technology has shaped a new economy
Tech is at the heart of how we work, connect and advance our careers. This fact is self-evident and more consideration of the topic need not apply.
Technology can save the world (if we use it that way)
I generally try and avoid “save the world” speeches because they usually include excessive rhetoric that doesn’t apply to the real world. However, technology can fundamentally solve world problems in greater capacities that people imagine.
To understand this, let’s flash forward fifty years or so and consider how technology will make people live longer and potentially possess immortality. If you are familiar with Moore’s Law regarding transistor density, it basically states that after enough time and progress has happened, computer chips will be really small. In fact, they will be small enough that they will be the size of cells that can be injected in our bodies.
If we accept this premise, then it’s reasonable to assume that micro-computers can be injected into our bodies that will use “software” to tell our proteins and cells to produce (or not produce) certain chemicals and such. Theoretically, this can postpone (or stop) aging, disease and many other ailments.
Considering the implications of such progress for the world, it is very clear that technology can indeed save the world.
However, it is extremely important to also note that technological progress cannot solely be measured by what it can do for developed nations alone. The heart of progress for mankind lies in how cheaply we can develop and distribute technology that can benefit the farmer in India, the sick child in Africa and the Bolivian villager.
In short, while we can use our resources to build a better checkin app to be the mayor of a virtual nowhere, it’s entirely possible and beneficial to use those resources to build things that benefit the majority of the planet that doesn’t have access to 50 MB/s Wi-Fi.
The risks and dangers of technology
One cannot address the positive aspects of technology without also mentioning the inherent dangers and risks. While I personally tend to ponder the longer terms risks of things like AI, robots and such, I think that most people will better relate to 2014-relevant examples.
Consider the role that social media has played in allowing instant global self-expression. While it is fundamentally a good thing (and a wonderful expression of true democratic times), there have been serious examples of consequences. The Huffington Post has written over and over about examples of how police officers, guards and even teachers have lost their job because they shared specific details on Facebook. The bottom line is that while many people wouldn’t consider this a mortal danger, losing your job can be quite serious.
Understand, we live in trying times and are held accountable for what we say, do and think like never before. The internet is ruthless and such dangers are only starting to really sink in with younger generations. Do you think that 14 year olds really understand the nature and consequences of their behaviors and comments on Facebook? While they may not, they will certainly be held accountable for such actions if they try to attain positions of power of influence later in life.
This example just scratches the surface of the dangers and risks that technology holds.
In my endeavors, I hope to share and develop content that will both educate and inspire others to consider the important and complex nature of technology in our society today.