Technology: What Does The Future Hold?

Technology driven by artificial intelligence increasingly determines our choices in a world of smart machines and digital networks that grow smarter every day. But how will it affect our future?

Changing technology

Technology is playing an ever-greater role in our lives as it changes how we live on a daily basis. It tracks every purchase we make and predicts and shapes what we are likely to do next. It touches everything we do as its creeping reach even undermines the democratic process and ability to exercise free will in the face of false news. It collects micro-data about our lives as a way to understand our personal inclinations and actions. The more information it gathers the more it knows about us and the more it knows about us the more it determines the decisions we make. Never before has technology had such an impact as it was historically designed to support our goals and ambitions. But for the first time infused with artificial intelligence that allows it to learn from past experience and glean meaning from data it is learning at a faster rate than the human brain.

Mankind evolved over the millennia to dominate life on the planet through the development of technology and the ability to communicate and cooperate with others as a way to master the environment. But the next era will take us into the unknown because technology is now enabled with the capacity to make autonomous decisions and operate outside the sphere of human influence. Whether or not we remain in control of future technologies is in doubt, not least because artificial intelligence and future digital systems and networks will be used for malicious as well as well-worthy ends.

Changing lives

Technology is changing cultures too as traditional beliefs and ways of doing things are replaced by newer and more sophisticated computer driven algorithms. Such change is quickening, as those who control the digital tools exercise greater power than ever before. Technology in all its forms and functions already makes its own decisions rather than rely on or limit itself to instructions crafted by humans.

Technology, engineering and science are replacing traditional sources of expertise and knowledge, as information is decentralised and shared through the internet and social media. Religious orders, international organisations and even national governments have less control over how people get information and what they deem to be true or false. Such progress has led to better choices for millions of people but it also threatens our ability to make independent decisions. For the first time in history, technology has the capacity to stifle the will of the people as its influence spreads into every facet of life without our explicit knowledge or permission.

So, technology is shaping the future to an extent not previously experienced and as a result lives will change in ways not yet known or understood.