miércoles, 3 de febrero de 2016

Digital transformation: It is not enough with denying the risks

"The economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit, without concern for its potentially negative impact on human beings"
Pope Francis I

For some years, it has seemed that few people have a pessimistic view on digital transformation. With few exceptions, the opinions on the growing usage of Internet services in newspaper and other media have been positive in the last decades. It has been difficult to give the name of any digital dissenter with the exception of Evgeny Morozov. Internet has been a synonym of a space where freedom of expression reigns, a virtual territory for good beyond the limits of states sovereignty. The independence of cyberspace looked reinforced by each technological advance, as the birth of Web 2.0.

However, it looks that the trends are changing. A growing number of voices are beginning to alert about the risk of an unleashed digitalisation. Some of these voices find easy echo in the media as Elton Musk, Stephen Hawking or Bill Gates. It is also easy to find in the web some sites that are a hub of pieces of news that highlight the negative side of technology pervasiveness. The warnings are undeniable:

Up to today, it looks that the above warnings have not had yet a reflection as a mainstream. The average consumer does not look worry by the unconsented usage of his personal data and still buy the new models of smartphones appealed by the last feature. Nevertheless, the seeds for making techno skepticism a mainstream trend could be sown. The digital divide might be fueling the feeling of increasing inequality and the immediacy of the singularity. Both feelings have the appeal to reverse the vision of a glossy future based on the advance of technology.

Technology brings us more benefits than drawbacks, therefore it is time to think about how to disseminate this benefits. But it is also time to establish barriers to its potential dangers and it looks that we have dedicated few time to this aim. Labelling the digital dissenters as neoludittes is not enough, in the same manner that it was not enough during the industrial revolution to deny the existence of a growing enslavement of workers. After the creation of a new reality it is the time to create the framework for its exploitation for the benefit of all.

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