We have unrealistic expectations of a tech-driven future utopia

Bob O’Donnell in RECODE: “No one likes to think about limits, especially in the tech industry, where the idea of putting constraints on almost anything is perceived as anathema.

In fact, the entire tech industry is arguably built on the concept of bursting through limitations and enabling things that weren’t possible before. New technology developments have clearly created incredible new capabilities and opportunities, and have generally helped improve the world around us.

But there does come a point — and I think we’ve arrived there — where it’s worth stepping back to both think about and talk about the potential value of, yes, technology limits … on several different levels.

On a technical level, we’ve reached a point where advances in computing applications like AI, or medical applications like gene splicing, are raising even more ethical questions than practical ones on issues such as how they work and for what applications they might be used. Not surprisingly, there aren’t any clear or easy answers to these questions, and it’s going to take a lot more time and thought to create frameworks or guidelines for both the appropriate and inappropriate uses of these potentially life-changing technologies.

Does this mean these kinds of technological advances should be stopped? Of course not. But having more discourse on the types of technologies that get created and released certainly needs to happen.

 Even on a practical level, the need for limiting people’s expectations about what a technology can or cannot do is becoming increasingly important. With science-fiction-like advances becoming daily occurrences, it’s easy to fall into the trap that there are no limits to what a given technology can do. As a result, people are increasingly willing to believe and accept almost any kind of statements or predictions about the future of many increasingly well-known technologies, from autonomous driving to VR to AI and machine learning. I hate to say it, but it’s the fake news of tech.

Just as we’ve seen the fallout from fake news on all sides of the political perspective, so, too, are we starting to see that unbridled and unlimited expectations for certain new technologies are starting to have negative implications of their own. Essentially, we’re starting to build unrealistic expectations for a tech-driven nirvana that doesn’t clearly jibe with the realities of the modern world, particularly in the time frames that are often discussed….(More)”.