I spent most of my life in the business of technology.
My love for the potential of technology grew from the day I started programming an HP41C programmable alphanumeric calculator. I remain a fervent proponent of the potential impact of technology, not in the least to remove repetitive tasks a curious mind should no longer be made to endure. Exactly how I programmed myself out of a job each time during my early days in technology.
Technology has the potential to expand the fractal of human ingenuity, so why doesn’t it?
I welcome technology just as much as I appreciate the sun. Too much technology is not fitting for us, in the same way too much sun is damaging. In reality, our species relies on unscripted social interactions to make better versions of ourselves. Too many, by the way, makes for debilitating groupthink.
Psychologists describe the way we learn from the people around us through a process called proximal development. A process induced by others that triggers interests slightly above the current level of comprehension of the recipient.
The compounding growth of individuals leading to the expansion of the fractal of human ingenuity, crucial in meeting the needs of an ever-changing equilibrium with nature we depend on for survival. Unscripted interactions using a complex interplay of intelligence, memorization, and sensory capabilities I sincerely doubt artificial intelligence will ever be able to mimic with any meaningful accuracy.
Unless humanity elects to bow down to the gluttony of artificial intelligence, humanity, throughout history, has bowed down to many other unhealthy habits and sinister beliefs for the sake of desperate survival. We are prone to wild hallucinations known to destroy millions, examples abound.
Heart Of Heart
While I publicly warned the technology sector years ago, with such articles as Tech: govern thyself or be governed and many before, the stampede for indoctrination and exploitation of the innocent and now enslaved public for advertising purposes, read propaganda, continued. Technology, of any kind, has been pushed onto humanity without much consideration of its humanitarian contribution.
Technology has become a religion of sorts, and in the words of Karl Marx, has become the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
Never mind the gaping holes induced by open-source development open to any hacker with a bounty on his head. Never mind our mission-critical technology systems open to attack from anywhere in the world. Never mind our individual and collective behavior analyzed and amortized in ways that do not benefit the public. Never mind the control bestowed on innocent users attempting to learn the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
GDPR to the rescue. Not.
European regulators are doing a commendable job of putting the smackdown on identifying data privacy leakage, but that is a “small” problem easily circumvented with other, more complicated and less transparent data mining algorithms and a plethora of new consent agreements. Europeans are fooled thinking their data under GDPR is now treated with respect, while its regulation does nothing of the sort.
The above is bad for humanity, really bad. But not as bad as violating our constitution, for a country without a well-understood and ingrained constitution quickly becomes cunning and lawless, quick to return to the pillage and plunder of a vile-maxim as the animalistic stronghold from which we as the most intelligent species on the planet are supposed to have emerged.
Indeed, technology has managed to move the arbitrage of what is right and wrong, like free speech, from our democratically secured constitutional precepts to the whims of selfish corporate interests. In complete ignorance to the most basic principles of freedom, technology companies now deploy totalitarian monisms (across the globe) that limit the kind of freedom to each his own — the perfect Banana Republic.
Apple, a company I used to love, now exercises its behemoth audacity to completely ignore the supremacy of our democratic process, in even refusing to cooperate with our government to pair a healthy dose of personal freedom with the interests in collective freedom. Coming back to the religion analogy, the separation of church and state must, in the case of the religion of technology, be implemented as the subjugation of church to state.
Strengthen The Victim, Not The Bully
Indeed, technology must subjugate to the laws of a sovereign state in which it operates. Which means, for one, technology must be implemented as a pluralism, not a monism. The rule of law defined by the local government, not by a moderator or programmer sitting face-down in a cubicle in Silicon Valley. We must address the cause, not dabble in combatting the consequences, of this kind of technocratic bullying.
The real reason why Silicon Valley gets away with creating companies that bully its users, initially acquired through a Trojan Horse scheme, into submission is that we have not evolved our constitution and our laws to address our evolving humanitarian goals. And so I cannot entirely, although thoroughly inclined, disagree with people like Apple CEO, Tim Cook performing opportunistic landgrab on the political navel-staring in Washington, D.C. Hate the game, don’t hate the players.
The only way to remove bullying from society is to make the intended victim stand up to the attacker. Meaning government must step up its game to develop a new and better operating-system for humanity that not only stipulates humanitarian rights but also stipulates our collective obligations.
All systems of freedom require paradoxical rules, regardless of technology, rules that define the name of and interests in our collective gameplay. The theory of government, under our constitution, is severely outdated and must begin to evolve to determine what we humans can discover (Einstein). And only when we strengthen the victim of technocratic bullying can we expect humanity to flourish, with or without technology.
Failure Is Not An Option
If we do not adapt our operating-systems for humanity, we will perish for the same reason as the Roman empire. Drowning in stale absolutisms of oligarchic control where systems boosting the dynamic relativity of plurality and diversity are required. Times sure have changed, our broad base understanding of the causal connection to humanitarian strengthening not so much.
As a technologist turned innovation economist (by fate) at the congruence of policy, capital, and innovation, I cannot wait to tell you about how to systemically improve the systems of humanity and hold the bullying by technocrats at bay.