NATO Assessment – Why our values ought to drive our technological innovation possibilities

It is reasonable to say that our romance with technologies is sophisticated.
Just seem at headline topics like renewable power or Artificial Intelligence (AI), or take into consideration prescription drugs, automotive, customer electronics, social media and biotechnology. On the matter of any of these systems, you will practically surely hear a cacophony of voices that selection from promising a new period of pleasure to predicting the doom of humanity.
How can we make sense of these bewildering views, and how can we maximise the benefits of emerging and possibly disruptive technologies although properly minimising their hazards?

As persons, we have quite a few diverse passions in technology. Some are interested in technologies itself, but most are intrigued in the impression know-how could have. These passions are frequently competing, and occasionally downright conflicting. Below is a simplified overview:

  • the consumer is looking for an affordable option to a presented trouble,
    whilst the designer seeks to improve a offered product

  • the innovator strives to display that her thought will perform,
    although the investor is keen on the return on his expenditure

  • the company manager is fully commited to growing his company’s revenue and current market share,
    whereas the regulator focuses on thoughts of

  • the citizen desires to maximise her freedoms and have her legal rights safeguarded,
    though the politician attempts to harmony all the aforementioned interests in devising policies for the profit of all.

This significant entanglement of pursuits features technological thoughts, economic and business passions, societal needs, and political considerations. Most of us, most of the time, go after quite a few of individuals pursuits in parallel: absolutely as shoppers and citizens, but also as people today and members of communities that have an effect on our contemplating and the decisions we make.

None of these issues are predetermined, nor are the resulting choices and decisions. Hence, the collective final result simply cannot be predicted. We simply cannot pre-point out the developmental path of any technological know-how. Nevertheless, it would be hare-brained to conclude that technologies follows a path of its very own or that we have no influence on technological innovation at all. Quite to the contrary, we all affect technologies advancement, only, this affect is rarely immediate or right away seen. The complexity researcher W. Brian Arthur summarised our multi-faceted romance with technology as follows: “Technology regions co-evolve jointly with culture in a approach of mutual adaptation.”

In other terms, our possibilities now have an affect on the trajectory of a given technology’s further advancement. That growth will in convert present new prospects and troubles that we will answer to, and this response will affect the additional evolution of that technologies in an open up-finished course of action.

Take the steam engine for illustration. This device marked the commencing of the Industrial Revolution when it was initial introduced to pump h2o from coalmines. That productive software triggered even more imagination, as developers and consumers alike came to glance for other troubles a steam motor could resolve. People things to

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