The Moral Challenges of Progress and Technology

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There has been lots of publicity lately about the Facebook data breach and similar scenarios on other social media platforms.  The truth is, most of these platforms know more about you and your habits than your mother or spouse does.  And they’re selling it all over the Internet.

The current president of the United States doesn’t use a computer or know how to send an email.  His election opponent was sending and receiving classified information in emails from an unsecured private server.  If you saw the congressional hearings with Mark Zuckerberg, you probably realized our legislators know almost nothing about this technology or how it works.  They are simply too out of touch with technological developments to be able to oversee them.

The amount of data on us is dangerous not just to our privacy, but our finances.  It threatens the biggest business and government institutions in the world.  And we’re not sure how to deal with it.

Think about all this, and some of the other dilemmas I raised in the Mad Genius book:

  • People will be cloning humans soon. Some will clone them to be sex workers, low-paid laborers, or even slaves.
  • Genetic engineering will allow parents to pre-order designer babies.
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality sex will cause cataclysmic disruption in marriages and relationships.
  • At some point, artificial intelligence will surpass all acquired human learning.

At this rate, our capacity for moral discernment is not keeping pace with the development of technology.  It is debatable whether we can be trusted with the power these developments are bringing us.

What’s the answer?  Are we doomed?

I have tremendous faith in the capacity of humans for love, growth and compassion.  As a student of prosperity, my default setting is seeing the best possible version of everyone I meet.

But I’d be lying if I told you I’m certain this is all going to work out all right…

We have already proven that currencies, countries, even entire civilizations can fail.  And they have done so with less challenges than we are currently facing.  And dramatically less challenges than we will be facing in the next 10 to 15 years.

I know this much: We can work through this and become a more prosperous and enlightened society.  But it will require an exponential jump from the ways we are thinking and acting right now.

So, what’s your take?

-RG

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