Does Technology Simplify Our Lives?

This is the topic of the latest Economist debate.

Proposition: If the promise of technology is to simplify our lives, it is failing.

This would depend on one’s idea of a "simple life." My idea of a simple life is to have constant access to health care, a simple home to start a family, a dependable laptop, a broadband connection, and a profession where I can work from anywhere.

But technological solutions beget more problems. For example, email simplified sending messages but this resulted in spams. Ubiquitous operating systems vulnerable to computer virus. The rise of Information technology giving way to cyber-terrorism. Advancement in gene sequencing giving way to commercialization and patenting of our own genes. Our over-dependence on fossil fuels is screwing up the balance of CO2 in the atmosphere. And the threat of a nuclear holocaust still looms in our collective horizon.

So as much as I love technology, I would take the Pro side on this one, at least on the "infantile state" of our technology and our slow-to-adapt collective ethics (i.e. bioethics). In short, technology exposed humanity to more Black swans in the horizon, both good and bad.

Ask me again when we’ve perfected nanotechnology, quantum computing, and when we’re able to harness unlimited energy from the Sun.

Thanks to Tim Ferriss for the heads up.

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