Tech has certainly become something of a buzzword in recent years. The zeitgeist is obsessed with exploring the relationship between tech and just about everything, and tech, on a conceptual level, has attracted its fair share of detractors, many of whom express their fears that AI will make humans obsolete, social media is dumbing us down, and so on.
While these concerns may be coming from a good place, it’s important to note that, overall, they fail to take the bigger picture into account. Not only is the growth and evolution of tech highly unlikely to slow down any time soon (if ever), but technology is also positively impacting the world in a remarkable number of ways. We’ll be discussing them in greater detail in this article.
Background: The Meaning of ‘Tech’ in the 21st Century
It’s certainly fair to say that the definition of ‘tech’ is far broader than it’s ever been. Technology has undergone a transformation of sorts in recent years, going from something largely niche that few people had access to, to a myriad of consumer appliances and products using sophisticated technology to function. Online gambling and gaming are two examples of this; you can now play bitcoin slots at Joe Fortune or online blackjack without even needing to leave the house!
The integration of tech into our everyday lives is what seems to cause the greatest amount of concern among the general public. And understandably so; fears surrounding loss of privacy because of government surveillance seem to be especially prevalent. Another tech-related issue that is seeing an increasing amount of media coverage is advances made in AI and concerns that most occupations may fall into obsolescence within the next few decades.
While these are very legitimate issues that demand further discussion and attention, it’s important to remember that none of them are inherent to the technologies that they relate to. Rather, they’re the outcome of poor management on the political level, or, indeed, abuse of governmental powers.
Indeed, tech is simply an incredibly powerful and sophisticated tool that has the potential to absolutely transform the way humankind lives and works for the better. If, for instance, AI can make most occupations obsolete, then this could create a world where people no longer need to work; the government can supply a living wage, allowing us to focus all our time and energy on hobbies and connecting with our loved ones.
Therefore, when reading discourse on technology in the 21st century – especially in the context of potential issues it may cause – it’s worth considering whether or not tech is being scapegoated in some way, shape, or form, to mask a wider issue that may be at play.
How Technology is Making Us Smarter
Artificial Intelligence has become notorious in recent years, and there is plenty of scaremongering going on in the media that has no doubt contributed to this.
However, it’s important to acknowledge the myriad ways that AI can help humankind; not only can it assist us in working more efficiently, but it can also help us make better decisions. For instance, many online trading platforms nowadays use AI; they have the option of automated trading, for instance, or can provide guidance on developing user portfolios.
This is just one way that AI is making us work smarter and more effectively. However, most of the debate surrounding AI overall revolves around the potential obsolescence it might cause of various occupations.
Again, this isn’t really an issue of AI itself; rather, it’s a potential outcome of how AI is applied, and a lack of regulation on the political level.
Access to Information
Perhaps one of the most fundamental changes to everyday life technology has brought with it is the incredible wealth of information that the internet allows us to access. In fact, the internet is considered to be an essential tool and public service for this very reason; allows us to learn far more (and, oftentimes, much quicker) than we ever could with books alone.
This has transformed the face and nature of education, too. It’s now entirely possible for us to train ourselves into new occupations for free and from the comfort of our own homes. While it may not be the norm as such, there are plenty of self-taught coders working as software developers across the globe who prove that it’s possible.
And, with the touch of a button, we can have just about any question answered by search engines like Google. By allowing people across the globe to have access to so much information with such ease, we empower the public to learn more about the things that they care about. And we can combat misinformation and lack of education through making knowledge more accessible.
Augmented Intelligence, while perhaps not recognized by the public on the same level as Artificial Intelligence, is growing at a similarly rapid rate, and is revolutionizing the ways in which we learn and educate one another.
Probably the most commonplace form of Augmented Intelligence at this stage is Augmented Reality; allowing for the inclusion of graphics and text into our field of vision (or the field of vision of the device that we’re using), Augmented Reality allows us to have a more immersive, but highly natural, learning experience, while simultaneously teaching us far more than would be possible with more traditional forms of instruction.