Will Technology Control The World?

Everyday life is crammed with technology as we wake in the morning, work during the day and relax in the evening. And its impact is spreading at astonishing speed.

Working in silos

Even with the advanced nature of today’s technologies they still work in silos although they are beginning to connect and communicate with each other. The next phase however will transform the world as it gives greater primacy to machines than humans.

The link that binds technologies together is of course the language they share, which consists of zeroes and ones. The code that drives them is changing too, as it shifts from private corporate ownership to open-sourced and free. This makes it accessible to anyone who wants to use it, which creates a rapid flow of new ideas and services.

As a result technology advances in unpredictable ways, as uses are found for variants of the same code. Big companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft integrate functions as they control what they own and acquire new businesses. The power of these giants means they link unlinked applications and shape new behaviours. Everything from search engine to machine learning to artificial intelligence to virtual reality to smart cities and driverless cars are driven by the capacity to connect previously unconnected entities.

The prize and the danger

The prize lies in the flow of information as it is analysed to influence our actions and activities. The danger lies in the loss of control to an ever more centralised and managed world. Even today it is difficult to see how humans will remain in control, as change happens at speeds beyond our ability to adapt.

Barely visible technologies in the realms of cyber-space and the military are growing too, as the effect of such discoveries encircles the world. The uneasy truth is that technology has reached a point of no return as its artificially infused intelligence allows it to make decisions on our behalf.

The flaw of course is that true intelligence is balanced with common sense and good judgment; qualities that must be built into machine learning to avoid unpleasant and unintended consequences in the future. But technology’s advance is unavoidable as its potential outweighs any individual concerns. Anxiety however will increase, as people feel more threatened and less secure by its dominance.

There will of course be setbacks as businesses suffer losses from the scale of investment needed in new products and the aggressive takeover of companies at inflated prices. But monopoly size profits within the sector will be enough to sustain any losses, as every future scenario is laden with the dominance of technology.

So, technology has always been a driver in the evolution of mankind but never before has it had the capacity to control the world.