Where is the Responsibility in Technological Advancement

By | 29th December 2017

Where is the Responsibility in Technological Advancement

One thought that has been tickling me the last few weeks is the idea of responsibility and technological advancement.  The last 10 years of my life (all our lives) there have been some pretty cool advancements in hardware and software. 

Up until recently, I would argue that we (the collective we) have been defining and pushing the boundaries for the use of technology. Helping technology unfold and expand and expand our abilities and horizons. The good and great things that technology can and will do for us and it was like technological change drove humans forward. 

Technology works like the diagram below in my mind and it is a very traditional model.  The technological advancements stage is where all the excitement happens, and saturation becomes a price game.  If we just plug in the iPhone launch, we can see this in the mobile phone market.   It is saturated … how much consolidation is left, no idea but the excitement of mobile phones and what it can do is over, and the Apple is playing the high end game making their product the “luxury” product to claim the price point. 

The same can be said for social media platforms where consolidation has been in full swing through copying of competitors to drive out the small players to buying up niche players.  Facebook as been great at this by buying Instagram, WhatsApp and copying Snapchat features. Facebook plays aggressively.

The latest consolidation with a real price tag was Microsoft buying Linkedin for $29 billion

Unchecked Consequences 

Are humans still driving technological advancements or have roles changed?  Are we being controlled by technology more than we are driving technological change?  It seems to me that because we lack oversight and regulation that we are losing our ability to remain in the driver seat.

The reason that responsibility has been on my mind the last few weeks if not months is these technological shifts have real consequences to our society and some of these consequences are rather unpleasant.  The rubrics cube of the mobile phone and social media platforms is that society and governments where unaware of the negative consequences of these technological advancements had on us.

I can only think of when cigarettes where mass pushed and produced with commercials on TV for how good they were for you when the impact of smoking is life threatening to both the smoker and those around them.  Also, to think how old hard the cigarette manufactures fought to keep the consequences hidden and their knowledge of these consequences from reaching the public.

We are in the same scenario unfortunately and the impact of technology on our society and mental health is as invisible as the impact of cigarettes and we are in the early stages of denial of the impact and massive damage has been done already. 

Seems in the USA the government has awakened at least to the idea that social media platforms are a good delivery tool to sow discontent and that both domestic or foreign entities can tap into the fabric of Facebook and deliver content with pin point accuracy. Facebook has not awakened to the consequences of their platform as they are still in denial.

  1. I am craving technological companies to be responsible for the technological they are creating and be honest to both themselves and the public, even when the consequences of their technology are negative. 
  2. I want to see for example; UBER come completely clean and dismiss the discomfort that the collaborative economy that built UBER is really just a front that allowed them (and most likely others) to cheat and steal their way to billions.
  3. I wish people would stop jumping so quickly on the bandwagon of the next shiny object before understanding better and grasping the possible outcomes of new technologies. 
  4. As a society we need to clean up our current mess left in the wake of the last 10 years of technological advancements before we can accept the next wave of advancements. 
  5. I need governments to be quicker to understand and regulate and not be swayed into being passive.  The fact that data companies are unregulated for so long means that the impacts of not been known and weighed properly. 
  6. Social media platforms should have been regulated long ago and should be held accountable for their baking into their platforms willfully, addictive behavior and their willingness to let foreign entities sway public opinions through advertisement purchases in multiple countries.




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