Too much of a good thing can be a very bad thing!
The adage “too much of a good thing can be a very bad thing” is true for most things that might cause us harm but that we enjoy, regardless – be it food, coffee or alcohol. Yet right now, this obvious need for responsibility and balance is particularly glaring when we consider our exponential technological progress and the increasingly dominant (some would say monopolistic) behaviour of the world’s leading tech giants. Our tech can now do so many amazing things that many of us are constantly tempted to succumb to its wonders all the time, everywhere, and by default; blissfully providing access to our data in return for using a convenient app for free. Yet if you’re concerned about this today, just wait until augmented/ virtual/mixed reality gadgets and apps are perfected – you ain’t seen nothing yet!
Turning human relationships into algorithmic reductions and treating users as mere ‘content sources’ to be data-mined and manipulated has become a trillion dollar business. So if indeed ‘technology is morally neutral – until we use it (W. Gibson)’ how will we decide what is morally right or wrong?
Science fiction is indeed becoming science fact. We must now ensure that human concerns and values will still be more important than mere technological feasibility. And it is not the tools (or even their providers) that are at fault when things go wrong but our flawed policies, social contracts and regulations. After all, “Technology is not what we seek, but how we seek” (a key quote from my last book)
In this talk, I make the case for why and how exponential technological progress (and those entities that turn it into powerful products) should be regulated in order to avoid both a chilling dominance of the largest players, worldwide, and an overall dehumanisation of society.
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