Over the past 40 years the society has witnessed the exponential growth of the presence of technology in our lives, computing efficiency, AI development. Some see it as a threat to the autonomy of the human beings, some see it as an evitable change in our lives in order to reach “our ultimate selves”. In March the foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times - Thomas Friedman held a talk in Chicago where he was speaking about his newest book “Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Acceleration.” His book speaks about the idea that technology is developing at a speed that humans cannot keep up with. Throughout the book Friedman speaks about the dangers of technology, the increase in global warming and the straining of geopolitical tensions due to globalization. All in all he is not completely against technology and it’s development but he is suggesting the idea for people to slow down, confront the technology obsessions that resonate through every day of our lives. There is no point in catching up with technology, this will only make it stronger. Friedman represents one side of the “technology progress” debate, the side that is expressing it’s concern with the speed and the way technology is entering and getting cozy in our lives.
Miroslava Duma - founder of Future Tech Lab, a disruptive movement of innovators bridging together fashion and science to create a sustainable future, has a completely different opinion on the rise and the presence. In her interview with Financial Times she stated the need to create luxurious wearables: “What we are talking about is wearable tech: algorithms and microscopes embedded in fibres and fabrics that can solve a lot of problems the iPhone does. In the future you will wear the technology, and it will do the same things for you”. Duma is convinced that the world will become more and more technical and that the society should accelerate this transition and not stay in the “old world”: “There are always going to be people who are for progress and evolution and people who are against it because they are part of the old world”. While the debate around the usefulness of the technology is attracting a bigger audience, technology has never stopped progress. IBM, the American multinational technology company, has released it’s “5 in 5” list, a tradition started in 2005, outlining the 5 technologies believed by the company able to reshape the society. This year the main focus was on security and AI. Blockchains that will fight counterfeiting, quantum computers that will open the possibility of solving currently unsolvable problems, the unhackable lattice cryptography, future AI systems trained to apply human values and principles, autonomous microscopes that could analyse and track plankton in the wild. And that’s only their top 5 but the fashion industry has also become keen to partner up with technology: 3D printing, smart watches, SOS rings, virtual wardrobes and fitting rooms, virtual personal stylists etc. The debate might be still going on but the society can’t deny that technology has become a big part of our lives. So should we really be threatened or are we in control?