I watched a documentary hosted by Stephen Hawking last night. He spoke somberly about the dangers posed in an ever-changing universe and argued for continued technological developments that would allow us to explore other galaxies and other hospitable planets.
Given that technology has changed our world faster than our brains can process, I’m not convinced the universe is ready for us. So far we’ve managed to endanger ourselves and our planet with our innovations, starting with the automobile, cloning, electronic surveillance and weapons of mass destruction. What we really need is a pause button that will give us time to consider the consequences we’ve wrought so far. Anyone who can do that should be worthy of a Nobel Prize. But we humans are an inquisitive lot and what is discovered or invented will inevitably lead to more discoveries and inventions. The compulsion to create is in our DNA.
For a peek at our future, we have only to look at the companies where venture capitalists are putting their money. Here are a few:
Sonitus Medical is developing a wireless communication device that sits in a person’s mouth where it can’t be seen. It picks up and transmits to nearby walkie-talkies and cell phones.
Plantir Technologies is building tools that allow massive amounts of disparate data to be collected in one place so that discovering patterns in phone records and financial transactions are easier to spot
Oculis Labs is working on software that alerts a person when someone in the vicinity is looking at his or her computer screen.
ADAPX is creating digital pens that allow users to record information in real time, then connect to a PC or cell phone to share information.”*
Frankly, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is beginning to look tame.
* List courtesy of “Venture Capitalism for Spy Games,” by Helen Coster, Fortune, May 20, 2013, pgs. 73-75.
(Boris Karloff courtesy of hiiragihq.blogspot.com)