Your Generation's Greatest Challenge: Being the Best TechnoHuman You Can Be
In yesterday’s post, I wrote that our TechnoHuman challenge as a species is to tackle this question: do we humans continue to (somewhat) blindly embrace technology and see its intrusion into our lives as an inevitable evolution started with the invention of the wheel, or do we try to build a walled garden where the technology is on one side and we are safely on the other?
I believe we have a third choice: we must embrace the technology we have created and shape its use to make us better and not be ruled by the invisible hand of power in our technology (and, by extension, those who created it).
Our challenge in 2017 is to elegantly walk into the future with our technology and not under its command.
When someone is lost and summons her phone to give her directions, a tremendous amount of power to given to algorithms to decide the best route back to the known world. This is a metaphor for how I see us moving into the future with technology on a grand scale. We must know our world so we know how to find our way back when lost. When we surrender that power to our technology, we accept that being lost is normal or that only the machine knows the way home.
To be a TechnoHuman means working with and alongside out technology, not outright rejecting or even evolving into it. This is different than the intellectual movement of transhumanism which dates back to the 1940s and posits that humans are on an evolutionary trajectory to become one with the machine (the basic idea is that humans are so enhanced by technology that it is inevitable they become one with it). Embedding body parts in a human to give superhuman strength, contact lenses to enhance vision (and supply data), and exporting one’s memories or even consciousness to a computer are all examples of a possible transhuman future.
Until that day, we are TechnoHumans working side-by-side with our technological creations. We are the humans who process meaning, make ethical decisions, and write the moral codes that make us civilized. And, for now, we are separate from the microprocessors we have created and which are in most of the technology we carry and rely.
We are the processors: we think, we feel, and we make meaning. We are TechnoHumans and where we go next is our generation’s greatest challenge.