Sapiens, which emerged 2 millions years ago, were born with 2 capabilities, one is physical ability and other is cognitive abilities. With the Rapid technological development in the past, Technology has done a lot to reduce human physical burden. Today we have complex machines to do the heavy physical job that earlier humans used to do.
However, despite the benefit that Technology brings with itself there are multiple demerits which needs human attention. Today we are dependent on technology for every simple task. Humans are reluctant to walk even the shortest distance and needs an auto rickshaws or other vehicles, which are a by-product of technological development. So we need to answer multiple question before we become slave of technology.
What is the future of technology? Who controls technological development? Is it the government or private sector? Will technology benefit bc equally distributed? and so on.
Technological development: History to Present
With the industrial revolution that started in Europe in the 18th century, Embarked a journey to develop technology that could aid humans in its Civilization journey. With the development of steam engine movement of Industrial Products and people becoming easy. Watching the benefit that technology brought with itself humans were lured to explore more and subsequently more inventions came to light In form of electric generator, motors, telegraph, telephone, internal combustion engine and so on. All these inventions have catalyzed human progress.
Today we are surrounded by products of Technology so much that some of them have become a basic necessity without which human existence seems very difficult.
Example- Internet, means of transport, electricity etc.
Future of Technology and Humanity
As discussed earlier, technological advancement has taken away human physical abilities. However, now the cognitive ability of humans is also at stake. With the rise of artificial intelligence we are on the way to outsource our cognitive tasks to machines. Today machines have become intelligent enough to perform multiple tasks that were earlier slowly done by humans. Tesla Motors has developed self driven cars. In the Indian automobile market, vehicles now come with an “automatic driver assist system” to help drivers while driving. Hanson Robotics has developed a robot- “Sofia” which can do general reasoning.
However, this is just the tip of an Iceberg: future development in A.I will further reduce the role of humans.
Yuhal Noah Harari in his book “21 lessons for the 21st century” has given a concept of useless class by which he means that in the coming future machines will be capable of doing complex native tasks that humans do today.
For example- cashiers in banks, drivers, doctors, teachers, etc., which will lead to mass unemployment.
Confluence of Infotech and biotech is the next big thing which can revolutionize the future in both positive and negative ways.
At present their Confluence is manifested in the form of genetically modified crops and genetic modification of humans. Example CRISPR Technology which can correct a genetic defect in newborn babies and save lives. This field has immense potential and numerous opportunities. We in the future might be able to increase the lifespan of human beings, improve cognitive abilities of a man and even improve physical strength of humans. However the question of distribution of benefit remains unanswered if this development happens then only rich will be able to enjoy their benefit and poor will be deprived. At a global level the western countries are in a better position to make their progress as compared to poor African countries so the question that arises is will the West Enslave the rest?
Are we going back to Feudalism? Where some are Masters and majority are slaves.
Another big question is who will control the upcoming technological development? Is it a government or private sector company?
Engineers, researchers and scientists who are involved in technological development are not people representative and are not answerable to people if something unfortunate happens.
From Industrial Revolution 1.0 to present Industrial Revolution 5.0 humans have been successful in reaping the benefit of technology which has made life of billions of humans easy. Future technological advancement holds a lot of opportunities and threats for human kind. However with proper regulation, joint efforts and conscious decision making we can reap the benefit of technology by using it as a servant rather than becoming its slave.