Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Technology Science

New Technology Should Be Neither Feared Nor Trusted (bloomberg.com) 61

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: How should we think about new and future technologies? The two main stances seem to be extreme optimism and extreme pessimism. A better approach would be careful planning and management. Optimists tend to overlook the fact that the technological successes of the past required a lot of social engineering before their benefits became widely shared. Countries like Maoist China and North Korea implemented perverse economic systems that withheld the bounty of modern technology from most of their citizens. And poor countries didn't really begin to beat poverty until decades after colonialism ended. Pessimists, meanwhile, often assume that new technologies can be stopped in their tracks by act of popular will. They probably can't. Even the most impoverished, repressive regimes of the 20th century adopted new technologies, and often suffered their worst consequences. Scientific research and invention, meanwhile, can be forbidden in one country or another, but probably not at the global level: Someone, somewhere, will study even the scariest ideas.

A better approach, then, is technology management. We should be as realistic as we can about each innovation's potential benefits and dangers. And instead of thinking about how to suppress new technologies, we should think about how to regulate them and channel them toward broad social benefit. Emerging technologies like genetic engineering and artificial intelligence are at our doorstep, and there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. But letting them develop haphazardly entails large risks. Instead, government and industry need to be funding proactive efforts to bring them into widespread, well-regulated use. In the end, technology is what we choose to make of it.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New Technology Should Be Neither Feared Nor Trusted

Comments Filter:
  • Exactly as far as I could shot-put a lead-lined, concrete-filled 1970's Buick pimpmobile with a broken pinkie finger in a 100G environment.

    And that's if I'm feeling naive and charitable...

  • it got you this far
  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @07:33PM (#55510293)
    Reasonable regulation of new technology for the better of mankind is not missing because there's only overly optimistic or pessimistic people.
    It is missing because those who see a chance to personally profit from the new technolgy fear that their profits could be limited by regulation, and those who expect to not personally profit from a new technology would rather like to not see it being used at all.
    • I think that's overly simplistic. Take non-volitional AI, for example. I want to see it applied with care and caution. I want to see as part of technology management the notion of implementing intelligent policy in other areas to account for the impact. Likely I will only profit very little from it, while those with power and money will profit greatly. What concerns me is the notion of starving out vast swathes of people who used to be productive members of society. Similar issues exist with big data, genet
  • Technology fundamentally breaks society in a capitalist world. Markets simply don't exist in a post high tech society.

    I watched as software was something people controlled to something stolen on the other side of the internet. The average person is incapable of making rational long term decisions regarding technology.

    Videogames are a case in point. We are already in a dystopia, the idea that we aren't is a bit of bullshit. You have no market power where big companies can force policy and you can't do s

    • Things like Windows 10 and all other Windows 10 versions are already dystopian software - it's the rise of the ignorance and stupidity of the masses that enables mass privacy invasion via entertainment and other means.

      FTFY

  • New Technology Should Be Neither Feared Nor Trusted

    How should we think about new and future technologies? The two main stances seem to be extreme optimism and extreme pessimism. A better approach would be careful planning and management.

    Can't we just ignore it until it becomes either established, obsolete, or discarded technology? We have protocols (however poor) for handling those things.

    • Can't we just ignore it until it becomes either established, obsolete, or discarded technology? We have protocols (however poor) for handling those things.

      You can, be my guest. However, if you want to become rich or otherwise highly successful with a technology, you'll need to get involved with it way before this stage. Not necessarily embrace it in the same sense -- for example, you could write Android apps without wasting your life hooked on a phone, but not if you completely disregard them. I guess technically it would be possible to ignore everything around you and invent something brilliant that other people want, but in practice you'd need to know somet

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In 1990 I did not anticipate that anyone like Vladimir Putin could hack the presidential election with it.

    Before that if you wanted to hack an election, you had to do it the old fashioned way, by buying the San Francisco Examiner and the New York Morning Journal, like Hearst did.

    What an amazing world we live in.

  • its apathy

    its not that I fear new technology, I really just dont give a flying fuck about it. Its not like the stuff coming out today or in the near future is as ground breaking as the bycycle, the automobile, the phone the computer, the celphone, hell even the smart phone

    its the same damn shit over and over again that no one really wants but gets shoved onto us, then praised as a "technical innovation"

    • its the same damn shit over and over again that no one really wants but gets shoved onto us, then praised as a "technical innovation"

      My two favourite examples: hoverboards that don't actually hover, and androids that aren't exactly humanoid robots. Image means everything, actual new technology not so much, unless it helps improve the image. In fact this already happened years ago: Google and Lucasfilm threatened to sue an actual robotics company with "droid" in its name. The company changed its name from Zendroid to Zenrobotics to avoid a lawsuit.

      In a way, this is part of a larger quest of a vocabulary Nazi. For example, "cybernetics"

  • As in a reason- and fact-based stance towards new things? Good luck with that. Most people are far too stupid to be able to even begin to understand anything new, they go straight for the emotional response. And that boils down to either "this thing is going to make everything better" or "this thing is going to kill us". It is not even that people do not have enough intelligence, they just refuse to use it.

  • In the end, technology is what we choose to make of it.

    No, it's not some lump of clay you can shape into any form you want. It's like saying we can turn heroin into a good thing by regulating it instead of suppressing it. Some technology is overwhelmingly good. Some technology is overwhelmingly bad. Most are in the middle, but even then you can't really pick and choose the pros and cons. Very often you either use it, or you don't. Like say camera phones, today kids are worried they'll be secretly photographed or filmed naked in the shower. We didn't have that p

  • The notion that governments and committees can somehow act to make things better in reference to technology is over the top dangerous. Obviously even the US can not keep corruption from being the driving force in government. the notion that such groups could make things better with laws and regulations is sick. To start with a technology that is disturbing and disruptive can turn around and be a wonderful technology. Uber is an example. Numerous groups described Uber as a beast from hell. Now we find
  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2017 @10:01PM (#55511087)

    I love technology but I know that we should be very weary of our own technological advancement because of the amount of power it can give a small group of people or a single individual. Technology itself is harmless (until it starts thinking for itself) but it's the sociopaths that exploit technologies in the worst possible way that you should fear because they will take advantage of it. This means that all new technology should be viewed through the lens of "how could someone use this against me" because it's going to happen.

    Welcome to the dystopian present where a large portion of the population is addicted to some smartphone applications as a result of neuroscience.

  • How should we think about new and future technologies? The two main stances seem to be extreme optimism and extreme pessimism.

    Main?

    What a moron.

    Try "loud".

    Sheesh.

    Slash drop: when you slit your wrists from the incessant Chinese water-drop torture.

  • by Sqreater ( 895148 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2017 @06:59AM (#55512345)
    Technology is not what we consciously choose to make of it; it is like water: it finds its own level. If a thing works, and there is a perceived profit or benefit from using it, it will be used and it will be used recklessly to maximize profit or perceived benefit.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      There are many counter-examples.

      It was recognised in the 80s that databases and computer networks would allow massive amounts of data to be gathered. Laws were introduced to control the gathering, storage and use of that data, and they work. For example, in the UK if you have a criminal conviction that is "spent" your employer can't ask about, can't seek to find out about it and can't be told about it by credit reference agencies or anyone else doing a background check on you. And yes, it works in practice.

      • There are many counter-examples.

        It was recognised in the 80s that databases and computer networks would allow massive amounts of data to be gathered. Laws were introduced to control the gathering, storage and use of that data, and they work. For example, in the UK if you have a criminal conviction that is "spent" your employer can't ask about, can't seek to find out about it and can't be told about it by credit reference agencies or anyone else doing a background check on you. And yes, it works in practice.

        How about GM crops? Heavily regulated, some parts of the world have rejected them. Same with farm animals injected with antibiotics and growth hormones, or washed in chlorine.

        You do the common thing; you elevate the exception to the rule. GM exists and is used. Data bases exist and are used extensively worldwide.

  • by sad_ ( 7868 )

    i don't fear nor trust technology management.

  • This is slashdot, everything new is bad!
  • New technology is either a benefit or a hazard. If it's a benefit, it's not my problem. Also not my problem if it's a hazard, as long as I sell my shares before those pigeons come home to roost like tears in the rain.
  • Emotional decision-making is bad. Evidence gathering, thorough review, and ongoing assessment are good. News at 11.

    Why do we have to tell people to stop being mindless cheerleaders or bed-wetters? Maybe we need to push critical thinking harder in school.

  • As with so many things attributed to tech, this isn't a technology problem. (it's the old "[insert normal everyday thing] on a computer!" that is so often patented as novel, or legislated as if it was completely different from [insert normal everyday thing])

    If you've ever dealt with any organization, and any change is proposed, you'll always get the majority of people immediately jumping in to 2 equally unreasonable camps:
    1) We must make this change because all change is good, and anyone standing against it

  • How do you regulate something that a) you don't understand, b) have never encountered, and c) have no idea the potential of? If you listen to interviews with tech entrepreneurs, you find that none of them knew the paths their invention would take once the world got its hands on it nor the ultimate scope. Not to mention that regulators end up captured by those they regulate and are frequently employed as enforcers who kill competition. Early stage regulation would amount to strangling nascent companies and t

I am a computer. I am dumber than any human and smarter than any administrator.

Working...