Progress! By definition, smart technology implies intelligence and enlightenment. Used responsibly, it improves life on a global scale and it begs the question, what happens when a lightbulb is unscrewed?
Once upon a time, people worried that electricity would leak from an empty socket. And we can understand how they might’ve reached that conclusion, it seems reasonable.
Most great technology that improves life also has the potential to be harmful. There’s a dark side that if left unmonitored could present a real danger. From x-rays to Big Data, we’ve become increasingly powerful and vulnerable all at once.
Technology has become incredibly small, invisible to most microscopes and yet, quantifiably humongous. Usurping our lives but also improving it, making everything we do in real-time tangible and with results that can be analyzed, understood and used for good.
And all the while, our footprints can be tracked, stacked and gathered. How we do what we do, when we do it, where we’re doing it, analyzed and visualized. The right questions asked, the algorithm applied and the data collected.
Smart cities that measure pot holes and compute their own capacity-duress until repair, can schedule that pavement crew and reroute traffic, anticipate patterns and give curbside bus arrival updates, all in real-time. Smart cars can intuitively not start when their drivers are inebriated, and likewise won’t start when they’re not road worthy, offering alternate modes of transportation, in some Uber- Lyft social good package, for free!
Smart smart technology won’t lie, won’t hide, but what if it could be programmed to monitor the good it does? Like fear is good.
Being cautious doesn’t mean we won’t proceed, just that we’re mindful in its use, the way we might lean over a window sill; seeing so much and yet careful not to fall out. we can have the great technology and maintain a survival technique, the flight and fight adrenaline that propels us into action, not darkness.
In a digital world that’s spinning incredibly fast, having a sense of fear might preserve a culture. Might remind us that we’re a learned society, one that has long been enlightened and free of walls.