Technology surely provides us with opportunities to do more with less than we ever thought possible: we can communicate instantaneously, catch up with friends we thought were lost forever, crunch data that seemed insurmountably large, and we carry a computer in our pockets that is more powerful than the devices that powered the Apollo missions or even the Space Shuttle itself.
This begs the question: how will such powerful technology actually benefit us? Despite the millions of people busy checking their likes or filling every spare second with cat videos, technology gives us the opportunity to create and fulfil a greater vision for business if not humanity as a whole.
Used correctly, technology connects people in a way that has never before been seen. Since the early days of the Internet, or even with the bulletin board systems that predate it, this digital sense of community has always been a core part of the philosophy of the Internet.
The Internet, in essence, allows people who might never otherwise have had a voice to share things. Improved technologies such as digital cameras and audio recording provide even more leverage to an individual’s voice. The average smartphone can reasonably be used even to create a full-length movie!
It is this economy of contribution, encouraging closeness and warmth rather than division and strife, that typifies the better nature of the Internet.
Nevertheless, it seems that over the past few years going online has both become something we can hardly go five minutes without and yet has also become stressful and polarizing. We are fed information that distracts us from the truth, encourages us to click on the unsavory, tasteless, pointless, or downright harmful.
It’s time to step back and take a look at our behavior and realize that we have a choice–despite what the “architects of choice” might thing–about our behavior with regard to technology and we need to focus on using these technologies in the specific, measurable, and humanity-benefiting ways that lay at their very beginnings.
Like the tech pioneers of the 1970s and 1980s, it is important to understand that technology will expand in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. It is with bold goals such as Steve Jobs’ 1985 suggestion that the personal computer would be an essential feature of the modern home that technology allows us to progress as the human organism.
It’s important to remember that there are at least as many opportunities given to us by technology as there are threats. If technology famously magnifies the worst parts of human nature, there is no reason that it cannot magnify the greatest parts.
For companies embracing new technologies with this pro-human spirit, there is no telling what great things the future could hold.