Technology, Future and Human Being
If there is anything more compelling to tell about our times than our relationship with technology, I would like to hear about it. As our technological environment is growing more complex, it also forces us to become more conscious about the relationship. So what is it?
My friend, technologist Paul Suni from Silicon Valley, points that technology is actually applied humanity. What does he mean by that? His point is that rather than assuming technology to be applied science, which is a common understanding, we should think it as an essential piece of well-being. Technology is an essential platform for well-being and, indeed, enhanced humanity. But this is where we easily slip into the zone, where engineers are not very familiar with: how to device technology with meaningfulness and relatedness - two key attributes of human existence.
What does it mean in design principles or in strategic foresight if you think in these terms? It changes everything because at the end of the day there should be nothing but human centered technologies. When you take the human condition as your starting point, everything begins to look different whether we talk about elevators, mobile phones, energy systems or kitchens.
In the sixth wave -in the course of next 40-50 years - there is going to come a fundamental shift into our relationship with technology. But it does not start from technology, it starts from the idea of human well-being and how to enhance it. As we yearn to get more meaning to our lives, we should start to design technology solely for enhancing our well-being and help us to build a kind of relationship to the world and fellow human beings that make us feel more human. In our world, where alienation and loss of sense is a danger lurking in corners, this is not an easy task.
Let us focus on how we may in practice build these platforms of technology that make us better human beings! Technology of the sixth wave is technology that help us to combat climate change, reduce the overall pressure to our natural environment by becoming smarter and make us being more transparent and communicative in what we do, even help us to fulfill the purpose of our lives.