Technology, Design And Values

Mar 23, 2014

Some of the questions I've been thinking about recently ... 

--When we are overloaded with information, tech provides us filtering algorithms; nature provides us intuition.  How do we contrast algorithms and intuition?  Put another way, can all problems be solved?  Is a death a problem to be solved?

--Google engineering director, Ray Kurzweil, recently said: "Google will know you better than your spouse.  Better even than yourself."  Are we giving up this power consciously, or are we being mindlessly seduced into it?

--Heard at TED conference this week: "People will use nanobots to connect the capillaries of their brains to the cloud, merging biological thinking with artificial intelligence and enabling a leap in human capabilities equivalent to the great advances of millions of years of evolution."  But what's the flip side of that technology going into hands that use it for self-centered purposes?  What is our safeguard against that?

--Doctors have a Hippocratic Oath.  What about the twenty-something engineers, who are just trying to do 'cool things', and affecting how trillions of people connect?  The pace at which we are developing platforms, do we even have time to ask such questions?

--Larry Page recently said, "I'd rather leave my millions to Elon Musk than charity."  Are corporations our best bet for innovations that will change the world?

--Google started with "Do No Evil" motto, but as they scaled massively, they seem to have changed their value system.  How do we contrast design principles of Google versus Gandhi (who spoke about decentralization, precisely due it to capacity for resiliency)?

--We tend to view labor as toil.  What if labor wasn't something to be done away with, but rather an instrument for transformation that sustained a gift ecology?  Can we identify technologies whose design heuristics are to be "slow, inconvenient and unsensational"?

--We have a lot of faith in money and markets, like this couple who pays each other to put kids to bed and do dishes, or kids who are paid to do their homework.  What about innovations around the power of non-financial incentives?  

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