Many articles, such as this one, emphasize the potential perils of technology in our lives. Will we become too dependent on computers? Will the machines rise up? This needless, even counterproductive, fear-mongering is reflected across media.
Technology changes fast however and can seem threatening, even if it improves our lives. The internet as we need know it has only been around for about 20 years, and has only become accessible to most people even more recently. As technology (and it’s marketing) improves, we can only expect it to become more and more integrated into our daily lives. This is a great NPR piece showcasing the potential for greater computer and internet integration to enhance our relationships and work. Having, for example, reminders about upcoming events and details of friends’ personal lives in real time as we interact with them could provide new depth to preexisting relationships that might not normally be possible given our relatively limited ability to remember “random” details. Being able to recall facts and figures in the modern era is not all that important given how easy it is to look things up (even without a fancy interface). Computers and automation will only increase as time progresses, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The human brain is the best tool we currently have for critical thinking, and will likely remain so for some time. I think that technology that provides additional information and resources to us almost instantly will only enhance that. There is a difference between information and intellect. I don’t think that “Google is making us stupid.” Rather, it is setting us up to reach our full potential.
Our dystopian obsession has grown up in our nightmares as a true monster, which can only be countered by something truly beautiful. Simply, we need a hero. Our fears are demons in our fiction placing our utopia at risk, but we must not run from them. We must stand up and defeat them. Artificial intelligence, longevity therapy, biotechnology, nuclear energy — it is in our power to create a brilliant world, but we must tell ourselves a story where our tools empower us to do it.
— Michael Solana, Wired