Our Technological Future
Our technological future…where will it take us? From the Commodore 64 of yesteryear to Cloud Computing, from Univacs to handheld computers with a capacity that dwarfs that of its room-filling digital ancestors – when it comes to technology we are in a maelstrom of innovation that shows no sign of slowing down. Driver-less cars, smartphones, pint-sized plastic cylinders that translate our wishes and commands into front lawn lights turned on while we’re still miles from home and emails sent without our having to touch a keyboard – it does seem as if we’re living in a golden age of technology. For all that, though, have we failed to see the true, best promise of computers and Boolean algebra?
Non-stop technological change
Yes, life on earth has already been transformed in just one generation by the digital revolution. An ever-increasing rate of technological change is a given at this point. Artificial intelligence is barely out of the womb, and we expect robots and robotics to change the face of employment in our lifetimes.
Is there still something more, something outlandish, something much more personal – even something theological – that we can expect, a New Age which – as Albert Einstein said – we are woefully unprepared for in light of the great gulf that separates our technology -on the one hand – and our humanity? Is the promise of computing and all things digital just a new and more exciting chapter in human evolution or is it the fulfillment of same?
Are humans obsolete?
Are we going to turn ourselves into machines at this point, into cyborgs who can go for centuries without that proverbial “30,000 mile checkup,” or is there something even greater to be hoped for, something that will fulfill not only the practical yearnings of humanity but our spiritual yearnings as well? Do cloud computing and wireless technology and the rapidly evolving state of artificial intelligence also promise us something existential, something that will help us to escape from our imprisonment in the randomness of it all; a hitherto dominant reality in which so much of life on earth is determined by ignorance and accidents of birth?
…to be continued