Technology: Humanity’s Magnifying Glass

People do wonderful things with technology. They build digital communities, teach themselves new skills and raise money for causes. People also do terrible things with technology. They build atomic bombs, control botnets and cyber bully.

Technology isn’t automatically good or bad. It just expands human’s capability for good and bad. We can wage war more efficiently or we can heal more efficiently. Also, like most big picture questions, very few things are decidedly good or bad. There’s a lot of grey area. Technology definitely expands the amount of grey area. Should we applaud Facebook for letting us stay in touch with more people than Dunbar’s number suggests was possible? Or should we demonize Facebook for making us feel more lonely? Should we love cars for letting us travel or should we hate them for all of the pollution and being a major cause of youth death?

Technology just lets humans be more human, flaws included. Technophiles (blanket lovers of tech) and luddites (blanket haters of tech) make the same mistake: they have a default response to technology. Technology does not automatically improve or worsen the world. It’s all about what humans do with it. I am optimistic about technology, but that’s only because I am optimistic about humanity.

People sometimes say that art is at it’s best when it mirrors humanity. If art reflects humanity, technology magnifies us.

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