Technology – do we know where we are headed?

You ever get this feeling? Come back home after watching a rather decent sci-fi movie and switch on the TV to find utter reality TV garbage? Did it make you go, what the fuck! I mean, there is so much unfathomable and complicated stuff going on in our world and we like to keep ourselves busy with stupid movies and celebrities facing off against each other in dance reality shows. I know most of us don’t have it in us to maintain focus on these bigger questions because our daily lives bog us down so badly, we would rather let our senses go to sleep watching pointless nonsense. But we can do so much better. Think about it – we are talking about self-driving cars, drone deliveries and AR and VR. I admit what I’m saying sounds downright condescending and seems to trivialize the daily struggles of our ordinary lives. But our interactions with technology have to be more about helping Mark Zuckerberg grow his fortune.

The great visionaries of the day are pushing boundaries across multiple disciplines, from space to medicine to law and order. For example, SpaceX wants to settle a million humans on Mars by 2060. Agreed, you’ll need a shit load of money to go, but what the hell, one can but hope. This is a great time to be alive. The world is changing so drastically so quickly, it’s absolutely normal to not know when it passes us by. The world’s data is doubling every two years. Moore’s law, according to which, the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits doubles every year, is fast approaching nullification. The transistors have become so small and we have already crammed so many of them on circuits, one or two years is no longer enough to come up with the next version. This is what I’m talking about. Disruptive innovations drive this world forward, and we would be so much better off knowing where we are headed.

One such breakthrough innovation is CRISPR, a technology with which a human genome can be successfully edited to weed out abnormalities that may lead to any of the many genetic diseases. And hear this, the technology is already available for private consumption and anybody with a good understanding of molecular biology can attempt it. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a bloody historic achievement for mankind. Correct the DNA and get rid of the disease. It sounds terribly simple because it actually is! We will have less diseases, less suffering and longer average life spans (screw you mother earth, we’re going nowhere).

hypnotizedYou know, technology is a two sided coin. If you love how it livens up your life and makes it easy, you have to be equally wary about its potential for menace. In the last couple years, there have been so many hacks at major corps, you really have to think what chance an individual’s email or social account has. But you don’t even have to go there. These days, big corporates are constantly chasing your data to better engineer their offerings to make you happier. Today, the whole world runs on data – our data. We install apps and agree to share all our data without so much as an afterthought. At least, thanks to whistle blowers like Edward Snowden and hacktivists like Julian Assange, a conversation around this has been initiated. But most of us don’t care enough. We cannot be blamed, because it suits our convenience and way of life. Of course, data needs to be shared so we can move forward. Technologies like image recognition, self-driving cars and chatbots work through what is called machine learning, where neural networks are fed mammoth amounts of data to enable ‘learning.’ So, the more data they have, the better the services become. But it’s up to us to be aware and if need be, be able to draw a line where it matters.

So, like I said, what a great time to be alive. But I’m not sure how much we are able to appreciate everything that’s going on. That’s the thing about technology. You get immersed in it so quickly, you forget to be aware. I have started paying more attention. I’d like you to too; it’s great to buy the latest iPhones and Snapchat your life to your friends, but it’s also important to not be mere guinea pigs and lap up the latest tech without cultivating the awareness.