Recently, Google reported that its self-driving cars have been in 11 minor accidents, none of which were the cars fault. Throughout the past 50 years NASA lost many astronauts when shuttles and rockets exploded. Auto makers deal with death frequently when switches, brakes and airbags fail to operate correctly. But technology improves and forges ahead.
Ships sink, planes crash, drones hit wrong targets, buildings collapse, foods contact deadly bacteria even after careful processing in modern facilities, baby strollers snap and smoke alarms have bad sensors.
Hasn’t it always been this way? When and if Google’s driverless car is consumer-ready, the FCC may require a warning label: “It drives itself and may crash and cause death”. No matter, purchase orders will set new records.
Any new technology must go through development and testing and approval phases. One example, QuiQui, the pharma-delivery drone firm in California, has been fighting the FAA since its inception over dated laws that cannot account for drone services. That’s the regulatory angle but how about the personal sphere? Marketers have jumped onto a whole new concept when they say we should connect to everyone everywhere in a Sharing Economy. The idea is about knowledge sharing and in order to arrange this, things like wearable tech have appeared from firms such as Ralph Lauren and Apple. The bio-feedback features put your brain and heart metrics right on a network for you to see and those whom you choose to share with. Another idea is the Understanding Economy which proposes, we, as individuals should give up our identity in exchange for a greater homogeneous identity created by using real-time neural connections offered in products that will help us understand each other. Another, I’ve been listening to D.C. think-tank, ITIF, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, whose President promotes all innovation at lightning speed so we’ll get to the better world we all deserve. That world is innovative at all costs, massively digital, and solves poverty, disease, economic inequality, unemployment and most everything else. And, if you disagree with the ITIF president, you are labeled an alarmist. More, he’ll even tell you, “If you can’t say anything positive about innovation and innovators, don’t say anything at all”.
All this to ask the question: As we become more about the “Internet of Things”, will there be a human toll to pay as there was with previous technologies? Are the promises of sharing big data all-benefit-no risk? The shift in new digital innovations occurs not only by their invention and adoption but also by how they are introduced to society: tech innovators interject a powerful ideology implying, if you do not use the product, you are a populist, you are stopping innovation, you are denying others their right to understand and share with everyone. The ideology carries social pressure to align one’s life in a universal digital socio-economic network. This is inclusive of human psychology and neurology and now genetics. In this regard, they tell us we’ll heal each other and learn to enrich others by sharing our very deepest mind and bodily performances. Are there individual risks and foreseeable consequences by integrating our personal lives to a connected world? (*you don’t have to ask your doctor in order to answer this question).