There are a number of problems facing our society, from climate change to civil unrest, from hyper-partisanship to a global pandemic. Many of these, and other, problems have been caused or been exacerbated through our use of technology. But can technology save us as well?
Our industrial growth has spewed greenhouse gasses into the air. Evolving news outlets and the rise of social media platforms have increased the division that already existed in our society. International travel hastened the spread of a highly contagious and deadly disease.
If these problems have been hastened by technology, is there some hope that technology is also the potential solution?
Maybe we’ll rapidly discover and deploy a vaccine to combat the pandemic. Maybe carbon capture devices will halt or even reverse the level of greenhouse gasses. Or maybe cell phone and body cam footage will continue to make painfully clear the instances of racial bias that, in the past, might have gone unnoticed or disbelieved. The internet offers the possibility of exposing problems that must be addressed, or, in other cases connecting us, rather than dividing us.
But is it realistic to count on the very thing causing some of our problems to also be the cure? It might be that any efforts to develop a technological solution may just will only introduce new, and potentially even worse, problems. Or it could be that we need to use all the tools in our toolkit — including technology — to tackle the difficulties we currently face.
What do you think? Is tech to blame for the challenges we face? Will it offer us a way to address those them? Will technology save us?
Related questions: What new technology do you want? What skills have you lost due to technology? Is technology neutral? What role does technology play in your life? What is the greatest problem facing humanity?