Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Intent of Technology

When viewing sites like Extreme Tech, Techchrunch, Ars Technica and Digit, one is struck by the quality and depth of information they provide about tech whether it be a detailed review about the latest and greatest in gaming computers or a thoughtful discussion about the impact Ruby on Rails is having on code development but what is not talked about is the inevitable tradeoffs that occur when anything new like this is introduced into the environment. For example, the web is the prime driver of tech in the world because it has established a set of hardware and software standards that allow anyone with a net connected computer to communicate effectively with anyone else who has the same connectivity. This transparency of data exchange is why technology is accelerating at a double exponential rate and is changing every aspect of our lives in ways that could not have been imagined just a few years ago. At the same time, this engine of creative and technologal advancement also has eliminated privacy and could give rise to governments that combine aspects of Brave New World and 1984 using the same transparency of communication that people use when surfing the net.

Tech has no morality. In Termaninator 1, the cyborg was bad, in T II, the Terminator was good. The difference, programming. This simplistic example is the kind of approach BRT will be taking in looking at the social and political impact science and technology is having on society. It will be a most interesting journey.

R. Moran

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