This morning I commented on a linkedin article from my SIG of the Internet of things. A learned researcher declared Google glasses a weapon. My comment concerning the article was that it is very similar to asking someone, “What is the most dangerous part of a gun?” the answer is simply, "man."
What has concerned me for a few years is not that technology is bad for mankind, but rather, it is how man uses it. As an exceptional toolmaker, man really is amazing at figuring out ways to make new tools, items and things to solve problems he has in his life. In the past several thousand years, particularly the last 200, it is rather amazing where mankind has gone.
There is one area, that I fear man has done very little to improve himself, and that is the internal dynamic of “what is man?” For the sake of these few paragraphs, we will leave all religious, economic, political, or belief in unbelief out of the equation and simply ask, “are we making and changing man to treat each other better en mass?” Does man simply need a reason, or some common element or goal before he comes together with varied ideas and ideologies that always clashed can come together?
I think to my German classes. The most interesting part of the class is not that there is not one naturally born german speaker, but rather, you have a most interesting mix of a mini-united nations sitting in a room together. I have a Muslim and Christian from Eretria, a Muslim from Somalia, an interesting lad from Sri Lanka, one Afghanistan, a Tibetian and I am the odd guy from the USA. The teacher, I guess might be a mix between Eastern Europe and Italian with the political correctness of a fighting bull trying to dance ballet on the bolshoi stage.
What you have in the room is a microcosm of mankind from around the world, some who speak English far better than I. I think that if 8 completely diverse people can get along in one room and each helps the other with no notice of race, creed, color, or caste – why is the world so screwed up?
With our augmanity technology(s) the issue of where Google is going as a private sector company, simply is a layer below where governments and those with real power want to go themseleves. I have yet to meet someone in power, who had a great deal of wealthy or influence, that kindly just stepped down and said, “Ok, my time is done, next.” They are the rare few in a world where ego and pride tend to work in a most mysterious way to almost make the trappings of power seem to be an entitlement and not a privilege. As I type I think about the bizarre article I read about the Boston marathon this year, it was not about the race, but how a wealthy tech guys wife thought it was fine to just make up a bib and do whatever they wanted despite last years race being marred by an actual bombing. Did they think security would not matter as much this year?" it is all a choice, and each person will rationalize and defend theirs as right, the other perspective be damned!
today we have oodles of technology looking for uses - I giggle about the “smart watch” that will I predict, one day lead to the super body monitor implant that some government in the future, long after I am dead will require each citizen to have so they can assist and make for better life choices of the whole.
The last paragraph sounds funny, but based on what I have learned looking into myself and studying man’s behavior over history and particularly in the last 30 years with the internet, I can’t say I am optimistic that there will be a plethora of new products all designed to make our lives simpler, easier, and more convenient – yet, man repeating his history of control and greed will come when the control of information and data provides too much wealth to a few.
The trajectory is already cast when those that make the rules for others to follow live the world of “do as I say, not as I do.”
We will blame new product, technologies and weapons of the future for our ills of society – yet, the reality is the real weapon is simply how man, and his, her, our choice in how we use them. Historically, we don’t that great of a track record. the reality is some will "dope" and use the glasses for an edge over his fellow man, others will simply get lost in the world of "look at me" and broadcast each minute minute of their lives as some sort of new vanity license plate of humanity.
i wager, there will also be a percentage of society that will not even use, or be linked up to what we are discussing. they probably will have minimal stress levels, live simple lives of chopping wood and carrying water , yet, possess joy inside that everyone who is wired up desires. mainstream society will call them freaks.
ironically, i can relate a wee bit.