Ory Purhonen

Director, Webics

This conversation is closed.

Is technology progressing to quickly?

I keep hearing it every day. Technology is progressing faster than the user can keep up. What are your thoughts?

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    Sep 6 2012: If by "progressing" you mean contributing significantly to the solving of global problems we must glance at the world's problems 25 years ago and compare them to today's problems.1) Wars?2) Famine?3) Disease?4) Natural disasters?5) Man's inhumanity to Man?6) Hatred and prejudice?7) Deception and falsehood?I'd say the answer is "NO!"
    • Sep 12 2012: i like how you think but do u think the tech is not going to solve them but creates more problems then it solves
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        Sep 12 2012: I think there is a near total disconnect between technology and man's treatment of his fellow man. If trying to be benevolent I say technology aids in the progress of education, entertainment, industry, and health care. But in reality I see technology as irrelevant in mankind's efforts at social, ethical, and spiritual "progressing." The latest Iphone is being announced as we speak. . . and Libyians murdered 3 of our diplomats last night. I see no connection between runaway technology and progress in the human condition.
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    Sep 6 2012: how would that hurt? if my phone is faster than my pc was 5 years ago, exactly how is this a problem?
    • Sep 6 2012: I think for many people esp. older generation, the problem is to being able to understand new concepts and way of doing things that the technology brings. Many people do not know how to use computers and smart phones because it requires new skills and way of thinking.

      This is nothing new, it happened for centuries, except last few decades the progress is increasing seems like exponentially.

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        Sep 6 2012: but then the problem is not technology, but other people who did learn them, and now having advantages.

        the question follows: do we condemn people for learning more, and enjoying its advantages?

        i'd say we don't want to stop progress just because some people don't like it. rather, find ways to make them like it too.
        • Sep 6 2012: I think problem is both the technology and the society or individuals.

          "do we condemn people for learning more, and enjoying its advantages?"
          Of course we do not.

          However this is a complex situation because:

          - does society and individuals have resources to ensure they understand risks, privacy and problems (viruses etc) that technology brings?

          - how do politicians, judges, federal and local government ensure that laws and regulations are up to date?

          - is given technology a threat to human life or society? what about ethics and morality?

          This is very complex issue and it will just get worse with introduction of robots, self driven cars, nano technology, bio technology and so on.

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          Sep 7 2012: "i'd say we don't want to stop progress just because some people don't like it. rather, find ways to make them like it too."

          Agreed 100%

          I think your response ties in to that recent thread "What is our Deepest Fear": http://www.ted.com/conversations/13702/what_is_our_deepest_fear.html
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    Sep 14 2012: No, just education systems aren't compensating technological advancements.
  • Sep 14 2012: One part of the progression of technology is making the use of technology more natural to a user, perhaps even to the extent of becoming invisible to them.

    If we are talking about the short-term progression of technology, yes, at some time, it appears to be. New gadgets and such are coming out into the market weekly, or even daily. But if we look at the more long-term advancements, what we see are natural user interfaces, and making technology embedded into the world around us, to the extent they become invisible to us.

    I believe technology will evolve to the point a user will always be able to keep up, because the technology itself is made sufficiently simple and invisible.
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    Sep 7 2012: Technology is moving much faster, and through natural selection, theoretically people who can keep up with it will survive and people who cannot won't.
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      Sep 8 2012: Good statement but keeping up with it requires one to be constantly upgrading,financially that's a con job being played on you,you're better off waiting for a piece that you need that will outlast the rest in the field,having the latest doesn't mean it applies to your situation,my pc which i put together last year from hardware that was already a year on the shelves is out of date and can only be resold for a few hundred nzd yet it is still 100% more powerful than any mobile device yet it is viewed as out of date,the cloud is a big joke,i know a few companies that have already had their data compromised and trust me if a group wanted to crack you all they need is one url you've been to and your gone.The best credit card to use are the prepay cards.
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    Sep 6 2012: I was playing with my girls new samsung Galaxy phone,the current model,i found i was not used to the touch screen or remotely interested in it's capabilities as it didn't suit my needs or my internal checklist of what a phone should have which was whether i could drop it,have it ripped from my hand and go bouncing across the concrete,be submerged or sat on if it was in my back pocket but for her it's a statement rather than a necessity,i asked her what did she do with her old E 71 nokia? she told me she traded it up for the galaxy,i had told her i knew someone that could patch it and give her free access to things that down in nz you have to pay for,she replied no i'm alright and waltzed off carefully holding her galaxy.beautiful piece of technology but you might as well have it in it's own laptop case.
  • Sep 6 2012: I think this question applies to our institutions more than individuals.

    Over the last few decades I remember reading stories about the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) both wasting hundreds of millions of dollars trying and failing to upgrade their information systems. A big part of the problem in both cases was that the technology was changing as they were trying to design and implement the new systems. Systems of this scale can take years to design. In that time, the computers and software you built into your design can be off the market.

    In the last few years many hospitals and clinics have spent millions changing their information systems from paper to computers, and now many of those systems are obsolescent. Some hospitals that waited to convert went directly from paper systems to systems with touch screens, and these corporations now have a competitive advantage. More importantly, the medical corporations that have the obsolescent technology will have to spend more millions to convert, and that will raise medical costs for everyone.

    I do not think anyone is suggesting that we slow down the pace of technological change. I don't think that is possible. I think we had better be aware of the problems associated with it, and try to anticipate how technological change will affect us, particularly with respect to our institutions.
  • Sep 6 2012: Ory,
    I suggest you have a good concern. Consider that all technology in some way is involved in human relationships. I believe that people need time to assess for humanity value, methods, effects on personal security and daily function and perhaps many more considerations. Consider how fast software changes and the amount of changes with major version issues; confusion develops when too much new is added. However, we can understand how people are able to create new with ideas. Its fun to create something new; satisfaction can be rewarding. Geeks in the computer hardware and software are good at finding solutions and making new "toys"! Can you imagine excitement when one discovers something new?

    Culture and societies need time to adjust. One of the dangers is that man can become too confident in himself and begin thinking like nothing could stop him. Are we invincible? We may trample on one another in the rush to develop technology. What real good is there for technology unless it benefits everyone?

    Being insensitive to people and their needs may not be a good feature for rapid technological development.

    Being a fast thinker is no excuse to ignore others.

    Food for thought.
  • Sep 6 2012: For many people this is true. Esp. older generations have to learn new skills and way of doing things. Even for myself, with large experience in IT field I sometimes find myself struggling with a new gadget or applications.

    Nowadays when people get use to one technology, next technology is behind the corner. It seems that technology is improving with an exponential speed which eventually will become a problem.
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    Sep 6 2012: The progress of texhnology is a good thing; what should be our major concern is our stand on morals and ethics.

    Because good technology in the hands of depraved minds would be deadly.
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    Sep 6 2012: What do you mean "the user can't keep up"?
    How can he be a user if he doesn't?
  • Sep 6 2012: I do not think that is true. Means, of course there is a very fast progress, but not every invention is usefull, nor needed. We have a quick progress in entertainment technology, but most outcomings are simply not really usefull.

    Look at "apps" for smartphones. I do have a smartphone, i know how to handle it, but i rarely use "apps", because i do not need them, anyhow they offer opportunities. Ignorant people might say i am not able to keep up with the progress, but in my case it is the other way round, the inventions simply do not meet my needs.

    Or take cars, there is so much technology you can order for your car, but most of it is annoying. It might be usefull, but i have no use for it.

    And sometimes changes are not that big as they are blown up to. Take TVs, yes, they changed screen formats, they increased the resolution. But did the daily program get better? So, the technology did a step, but the thing it is used for did not change that much.

    I think that younger people seem to appear more technology affine is just because they do not know much about themselves and what they really need. While the older a person gets, he or she has developed a self-image and is way more aware of the own needs.

    And old people remember a time where technology did something for the user, while todays technology appears like the user is doing much more work than the machine. I was born in 79 and remember TVs you just had to switch on and there you go. Todays TVs you turn on first time and you have to wait, wait, wait. And when first setup is done, you have to sort the channels, like you had in past. Then you discover, the software does not allow to sort the channels as you wish, because you probably can't mix analogue channels with digital ones and so on.

    If you are young, you do not remember simple tvs, but if you remember, you might wonder if that is a joke?

    There is a progress, sure, but to the worse. The technology does not keep up, it is not really the user.
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    Gail .

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    Sep 6 2012: This started happening a few years ago, so I have given up following it (and buying it). I prefer a simpler, less stressful life (I discovered). There is too close of a relationship between $$$$ and technology and not enough of a relationship between people and technology - though amazing things are happening in the realm of human disabilities.