Technology and People: With or without7 min read
Tori‘s invitation yesterday to Impact #HubTalks event: ”Who’s afraid of technology” got me thinking more on how much should we be fearful of technology, how much of our privacy we have to give up to and how much we’ll still have? These are questions people somehow always asked, nothing is new besides the technology itself. Some of the things here I already told yesterday, but for those of you who didn’t get to the event, there’s a 5-minute version you can check below.
It is natural to be afraid of new things and technologies because we are afraid of dying and accidents. Being too precocious is also dangerous on long term survival. There is no black and white, or hero and vellain, there are strings of possibilities.
300.000 years ago we started to use fire and see its tremendous powers.
Fire is technology, one of the most disruptive that have ever been. Technology has always been just an amplifier that we can use it to do good or to do wrong, being deeply helpful or hazardous. A knife is a handy tool which with we can cook or do surgery, but we can also stub someone and kill. Is there an option ar a proper option to forbid knives? Can we testify against knives or fire or TNT’s importance in humans progress? No, and we shouldn’t.
We shouldn’t be afraid of technology, but of what people could do with it.
Even though technology also amplifies bad people’s power, we should˜t waste our energy on worrying. We should focus on making more good-people and less bad-people by better and more accessible value-based education, mare a more just and inclusive world, promoting equality and solving social disparity, amongst others. Our actions are changing the world, not technology. Technology’s purpose is either to make things more efficient, to advance our comfort or health, or to entertain us one way or the other.
We should address our dependency on technology and games.
We have all kinds of abuses happening. In the last 2.5 millions of years of human existence, even if we have evolved a lot, we are still having a lot of animal instincts that are driving our actions. The questions on dependence and use of technology revolved now around AI and the psychological consequences of creating a virtual-society in which we came to live. We have to be the masters of our desires and actions, stopping blaming the mayor, the country, the president or the climate for everything is not working well.
Gods of our worlds, humans’ secret desire for millennia.
Not too much into the future, we will be able to create simulators in which we could be our own worlds creators, destroyers, the gods we always dreamt of being, without any consequences to the real world, without having to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. The ultimate game, the only one could beat the previous world largest and longest game ever played called Religion – just one of many great insights I read in Yuval Noah Harari’s book: Sapiens, that I recommend you read it.
Humans versus machines. What is our competitive advantage? Are we building it?
The world we are now creating will generate one of the most significant challenges we have ever encounter, competition from another entity that can do things better, faster and cheaper than we can and we cannot out-smart it. And it is not that stupid, it can generate millions of simulations to pick the best choice, can test rapidly and incredible trial amounts of iterations, it can work simultaneously with a massive amount of data. It doesn’t get sick, holidays, children, cold or bad days, cheaper to maintain. It just works.
So how do we compete with machines? We know we cannot stop technology or progress and either way this would be dumb. There’s no option to live without technology, we are stuck forever. In the next 25 years, around 47% of today’s jobs will disappear according to Oxford, anything that is routine or repetitive will be automated. Furthermore, Dell tells us that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. At first, we were afraid of fire. Now we are so scared of cyborgs in a word that cyborgs exist for tens of years in forms of peacemakers, mechanicals arms or legs, or different kinds of implants.
I am afraid more of the disparities technology will amplify.
The main difference in this 4th industrial revolution on is that low skilled labor will almost disappear entirely. Fascinating thought, home caring will last longer than almost everything else because being kind, warm and empathic is just something that machines could not easily do. Before the Industrial Revolution, about 80% of the world’s population was engaged in farming, today in the U.S. less than 1% of people list their occupation as farming. All these people migrated to other low-skilled jobs, easily finding other working places. Today ‘the other jobs’ are starting to require high skills and the education system today is not preparing people for this future.
I am not that afraid of social bubbles. Unplugging is easy. Stop blaming tech!
Echo-chambers and social bubbles are some significant destructive things in our society today that are amplifying the belief we already have out of which some are wrong. Is not only we are not having others points of view on the world, but we are losing the ability to change our minds and be open to the possibility. I am not afraid because it is a trap quickly to escape. You have to find the courage to push the X button and disable your mobile notifications, get out your comfort zone and talk to our neighbors and people from other places, social, economic and cultural backgrounds have to say.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. – Nelson Mandela
We are transiting to a purposeless world we are not prepared for…
What will be humans’ purpose in a world in which you don’t have to work anymore? How this will change us, this is something that never happened in our history of 2.5 million years. It will be for the first time we will go from the auto-pilot called: education – work – parenting – retirement – dying to a new model of living. Spirituality, art or culture could be answers to this search for purpose. Therefore we have to go back to the hard questions of life and philosophy.
Why should we do now about all these things that are going to happen?
If you are not creating the future, at least don’t let it take you by surprise. We have to read and share as much as we can about what we are passionate about, as vast in time and space as we can.
It would be a good idea to keep an eye on what futurologists have to say about it – the future. Predicting trends while trying to anticipate the future is no wizardry, the most prominent tech companies are employing these people, an example being Ray Kurzweil who is one of the most famous futurologists. You can read some of his predictions here. According to Kurzweil, “the singularity” will occur in 2045, he is the intellectual and inventor who predicted — among other things — the fall of the Soviet Union and the rapid expansion of the internet back in 1990. Or watch this video with Jerome C. Glenn about the State of the future report. I would also suggest learning more about the product as a service and the future of owning nothing.
Photo Credit: ImpactHub – a place, btw, I totally recommend.
If you want to receive a monthly newsletter, you can subscribe here. In the next article, I will try to tackle ”How technology will change buildings and cities”.