Tech is the solution, not the problem
My motto has long been that I'll never be completely settled/content/satisfied with anything. When I was talking to a student about this about a year ago she thought it sounded really tough, that I was crazy. Fair enough, but for me it just means that I would have to give up a little bit, and that just doesn’t work for me.
A while ago a post appeared in my Facebook feed that commented on an article on Aftonbladet.se* regarding the resistance against Uber. A friend of mine linked to an article with the headline "Uber is a virus that spreads around the world" (article = in swedish). I got hooked because of his comment, he roughly wrote (note that below comment is loaded with irony):
"Yes yikes new technology is horrible. It enables us not to waste time on things that can be automated and it gives us time for more life-enhancing chores ... What do all the telegraphers and ice delivery men do today? No, the Internet and refrigerators should definitly never have been invented!”
Should we just have settled with communication through telegrams?
To see the technology as an obstacle is something I can’t relate to. Technology is nothing to be afraid of, it means large gains for the individual and for the world. The "problem" is often the people and the unwillingness to see the benefits of development.
From a behavioral perspective: we humans are sometimes affected by this thing called loss aversion, which probably controls us more often than we think. Loss aversion was first presented by psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman* and basically means that people are more likely to try to avoid losses than to acquire new profits. So we are so afraid of loss that we avoid development, even though it would mean that life would get better. Why change a winning concept ... or?
Really, no one who wants to switch off the internet and give up their refrigerators, but the comparison is not silly. You just take those things for granted. Everyone can see that the internet and refrigerators have created new job opportunities, right? Well, I work in the “internet business” so I like it. Could it not be that Uber and similar services/companies also contributes to something new and rewarding? Can we see what that thing is, even if it is in the future?
Anyone who finds a way to trick loss aversion will forever be my hero. Until then, we must help each other out and use even the silliest of comparisons to reach the goal of a better world.
* Daniel Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002 for his work on the psychological economy. He is also the author of the popular book Thinking Fast and Slow.
* Aftonbladet, a Swedish evening newspaper with the political term "independent social democratic”.