William Webster

written by

William Webster

Researcher, Avoncourt Partners GmbH

Culture Blog - Apr 5, 2018

Innovative technologies for good or for bad

Hybris is the worst enemy of stability. Investor Benjamin Graham said it this way,

“The investor’s chief problem – even his worst enemy – is likely to be himself.”

This proves true for more than just investors. It is the same for innovation, innovators and tech moguls. Steve Jobs’ career bore the scars of it. Mark Zuckerberg is going through it himself.

Innovation not always for good

Facial Recognition System Konzept. Privacy issues.

In 2007 three themes dominated the World Economic Forum in Davos, but one stood out among all others: Innovation is automatically good and can only benefit mankind. 11 years later, 2018, we find ourselves ironically distancing ourselves from the assumption that every tech innovation is good for mankind.

Smart phones, just beginning to roll out in 2007, are now seen to divide us, being diametrically opposed to our tribal identities in that they magnify and exaggerate our differences, radicalizing humans. Populist elections in the last five years have increased from 5% to 35% worldwide.

Privacy issues are ongoing, with the latest being Facebook’s breach of trust toward its users. Governments have been found to be utilizing media and the internet for social control, with ever-better technological means. In many cases technology is splintering humans into groups and silos. Instead of the libertine ideal of a free internet, we now have a “splinternet.”

Self-driving cars are posing a threat to public safety as seen in California and Arizona in recent weeks. Fears of massive job cuts haunt employees who believe that artificial intelligence will replace their positions in future months or years. What can insure against the woes of blind innovation?

Mindfulness and human-friendly application.

Humbleness and innovation go hand in hand

People working together to develop innovative solutions

With the furthering of innovative developments, there must always be the self-conscious reflectiveness for betterment, opening oneself to criticism and searching for a better outcome. Hybris is blindness to reality. And anyone developing innovative products and introducing them into reality needs the check and balance of seeing possible negative effects.

Perhaps the best solution to ensure sound innovative developments is for tech companies to understand the need for mindful research and meaningful regulation, taking to heart the wisdom of Socrates, who said, “The more I know, the more I realize how little I know.”