I thought this was a pretty interesting way to start you thinking about technology and its impact on humanity and business. It is a lecture delivered by Kevin Kelly titled, ‘Technology’s Epic Story’. In terms of theory and philosophy, this lecture will provide you with an interesting insight into technology on a broader scale (an angle which you may not have considered before), and hopefully open your eyes to, put quite simply, possibility.
At the end of lecture one I left you with this question, ‘Could you give me a decent academic argument for how internet-based technological convergence has forever changed business?’. And I pointed you towards two influential figures – Philip Evans and Don Tapscott. Your role for this week is to check out two short TED Talk presentations from Evans and Tapscott – both put technology’s impact on business at the forefront – and begin to craft your own opinion on them.
In certain contexts, Evans and Tapscott paint a fairly idealistic way of doing business. I want you to now begin questioning the concept of technological utopia. Where do you think the real digital revolution lies? And what might it look like? Alessandro Acquisti’s focus on privacy, “What will a future without secrets look like?” is one area to consider; however it is not the only one. We often believe that technology will fix all of our problems. Does it really have the capacity to save us at all?
“The self as we once knew it no longer exists” (Abha Dawesar, 2013). I want you to begin considering what it means to be human. If you believe we are special. And if so how. What exactly does Dawesar believe has happened to our sense of self? There is a strong argument that technology has changed us. There is also a strong argument that technology is reducing us. And dehumanizing us. Is it the technological platforms and systems themselves that are doing this or is it how we interact with them?
We ended last week with this from Havelock Ellis, “The greatest task before civilisation at present is to make machines what they ought to be, the slaves, instead of the masters of men”. Has technology already become an existential threat? Do we have “a moral obligation to invent new technology” (Kelly, 2005) or “create a special zone for humans” (Lanier, 2013). Is technology “an inherent component of our evolution” (Kelly, 2005) or “an illusion that will cheat of us …” (Nin, in Popova, 2013). Will it replace us? Remove us all together? Where do you stand guys?