Another man vs machine saga is making the rounds on the Internet. These stories power fanciful dreams and nightmares in our popular culture. They resonate with Dystopian circles and power an entrainment industry. Movies, books, and even technology acquisition stories frame headlines with fearful images of computers ruling mankind, or at least peering into our privacy in ways that strip us of our individuality and subjugate our intellect to the “all knowing, smarter, faster, overlord”. See this article from The Register making the point, “This means the internet giant may need fewer experts in future as it can instead rely on its semi-autonomous, semi-smart machines to solve problems all on their own.” The horror, if only Ned Ludd was alive today to smash the stocking frames of information we have created today.
Does the assumption that technology will surpass it’s creator cloud our judgement and influence how we improve technology?
The only thing more predictable than Moore’s law is our narcissistic and self centered ignorance. The truth is, they (computing and information systems) are us. Humanity is a social organism. Sure, there is an individual contributor role that creates amazing works, but only the context of an audience. No audience, not much value. Genius in a vacuum is lost on no one. So why are we so afraid?
Computers and information systems are simply the unification of our awareness. It’s our fear of losing a singular identity that creates these memes and fuels Dystopian visions. While all developments in human history have, and will, continue to create classes and stratifications during transition, the net effect tends to be a better standard of living for all. This takes time, it is messy, and our systems currently do not expand quickly enough to mitigate suffering across the classes, but that should not deter us from acting. No action will result in the worst outcome in almost all cases, especialy in computing and information systems.
The true ironic twist will come when our systems show us they are not separate at all, but so interrelated and dependent that they become the greatest unifying force on the planet saving us from ourselves.
The information industry needs to appreciate this dystopian view and work against it. We can not limit our ability to reach this goal and save ourselves from our own narcissistic distraction and fear. If there is one dystopia view that is true, it will not be computing, robotic, or information systems, it will be individuals trying to forward Luddite dreams of rolling back the clock. There is no room for this fundamental human trait in space travel or colonization. Humanity has used religion has unify colonization efforts throughout history. It should be no surprise that this rational feeds Utopian ideals in our media and culture. Both of which we need to resist.
There needs to be a unification from within to be without as the saying goes. We as technologists should not fall prey to the Dystopian or Utopian view points, but strive to provide an objective platform for exponential learning that includes individuals vs isolate them from technology.
Computing power, information systems, robotics, and Bio-mechanical systems are bringing exponential change to our lives and human evolution. It’s worst effect will be leaving the bulk of society behind until a technology is developed to speed up an individuals ability to learn and adapt. This will happen through any one of the technologies we are creating today, and it will have to address our rapidly aging population.
This new world view has been started by companies like Google who are cataloging the worlds information. Other companies will build transmission and integration systems. Until then, there will be exponential learners who ride the curve, racing ahead of culture, creating new opportunities, and arbitraging value. This will exacerbate the effects of class fear and feed dystopian fears. It will be on this new class of Entrepreneurs to both create and educate in order to avoid the worst effects. Humanity can not and will not change the events that are leading us here. We can only prepare ourselves for the reality to come. You only need look at the financial market informations systems and how they have advanced in recent years. For better or for worse, those systems are active and the arbitrage is real for those who are using the tools. It is leaving many behind, even those involved in it’s creation.
Recognizing this is happening, we should accept the reality of what we created, and guide it and us to a better outcome. Leaving both Dystopian and Utopian insecurities behind while having faith in our systems to empower our society.
Exponential Entrepreneurs, “Exponentialists” will be leading that charge. The term is new, but the behavior is old. These people are early adopters today, tomorrow they will be integrated into the fabric of information and exponential themselves. New manners, new behaviors, and new method of experiencing the world. These Exponentialists will be the ones who grasp the future and indulge in it. The risk of course is they are narcissistic in that approach, feeding the dire futures Dystopia predicts. Unless of course, the system is designed to be aware of and help solve for it.
This class of Entrepreneurs can not subscribe to the Dystopian visions of the world while creating technology. We need to be fully actualized as Exponentialists to empower and transmit this learning faster than ever before. We can not create or limit the potential of such solutions by this or any other view. We must create open systems with a core value of empowering futures for both social and individual models of intelligence. Social computing systems will come to this conclusion sooner or later, Exponentialists can make it happen sooner.
Exponentialists will need to appreciate the stress this causes in society and build creative systems to advance everyone’s learning potential. Priests of the information core if you will. People trained in, and structured for channeling exponential learnings systems into the world through the computing platform and into the natural world. This may sound obvious and it is. But it is now how we are thinking or training our students today.
The future is bold and new. We need to leave behind the industrial revolution and all its baggage. That train has come to the station. We need a new and positive process that reflects the world of Exponential learning vs industrial instruction. Let the Gamification begin!