Confession of a reformed technologist
Technologists have always pushed the boundaries of gathering and distributing information.Early in our history, we used stories, fables and myths to communicate values, lessons and historical context.
The invention of paper allowed us to record our history, and the printing press gave us the ability to distribute information to more than just the anointed few.
We declared the pen mightier than the sword and we endeavored to create faster ways of distributing the words we wrote. Napoleon’s semaphores, Morse’s telegraph, Bell’s telephone and Licklider’s Intergalactic Computer Network, were all inventions designed in the race to deliver faster, ubiquitous and affordable information.
Simultaneously, inventors sought to enhance human capabilities through mechanization.
Jacquard’s mechanical loom, Hollerith’s tabulating machine, Turing’s universal machine and the 1946 ENIAC, were all innovations designed in the race to automate human capabilities.
The arguably inevitable advances in telecommunications, storage, computing power and binary abstraction gave us the ability to commoditize delivery, infrastructure, platforms and software.
A pretentious monument of fiber, silicon and code.
I believe that we have sought only to solve problems as engineers, and not as empathetic human beings. and that we must lose our technophile bigotry before we become relegated to the ranks of tech support.
I believe our industry must abandon its desire to mechanize people by relegating them to “users”
We are now faced with innovating a new era for humanity. An era where the human condition will be transformed through the technology we design.
The infrastructure now exists for rapidly deploying advanced, scalable, and complex systems, but our legacy will be written by the interfaces we create.