PR for People Monthly September 2017 - Page 27

Peoples’ lives now are more in keeping with universal principles of human rights – and this is digitally enabled. Digital influence and connectivity are a major factor of the continued civilization process. The Industrial Revolution began the application of technology to everyday life. It created means of connections such as steam engines, cars, boats, planes. Telegraphs telephones, integrational technology enabled people to connect over greater distance in less time than previously. The telegraph – it, too, digital, over long distance –was when we began to appreciate the scale of life beyond our limited view of our small universe. All of this improved the human condition.

This is not to negate the reality of evil. Evil in all its forms will always be a reality; be it stealing bitcoins or breaking into someone’s house and stealing. We aren’t heading into a totality of angelic world. The prevailing common bad practices will still exist. Digital dystopians will continue to exist. Next week’s Games of Thrones will be leaked, a power plant will be hacked. But we are miles ahead of where we’ve been.

Acceleration of innovation means that we will be confronted with increasingly capable technologies at a rapid rate. Tech, AI, robotics of all kinds, automation of all kinds, will create a set of challenges for us that in some ways are unique in that the steam engine and locomotive did not call onto question what it meant to be human; we could distinguish ourselves from those machines. We could use them and not be threatened by their existence.

Machines being developed now perform behaviors that had been assumed to be solely human purview and call into question many aspects of what it means to be human. Cognitive capabilities, for one. To perform all kinds of actions, not just the sole purview of humans, but what people have been trained to do (computer programmer, lawyer, accountant). Cognitive operations can be performed digitally. So what do we do with our time? And what makes humans different? We are exceptional. But evidence of it is shrinking because machines can do what only we could do in the past. It forces us to do a lot of, think about what we want to assert as being the benefit or consequence of being a human being.

We are problem solvers as a species. Inventors. We figure things out. We’ll direct more resources to dedicate to those solutions. Time freed up by virtue of technology allows us to address problems.

Tom and Dean give us much to think about. To ponder our digital destiny, the fate of humankind, and whether or not to give a private concert via blockchain to a loved one. Paid for, of course, via cryptocurrency..

Dean Landsman is a NYC-based Digital Strategist who writes a monthly column for PR for People “The Connector.”