Jim Funk: Technology increases human conflict


Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 1:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 1:12 p.m.

As one befuddled by technology, I was amazed by Ray Kurzweil’s recent standing room only presentation at the Phillip’s Center. He is an inventor, software and technology expert, businessman, and a futurist specializing in artificial intelligence, a modern renaissance man.

He vividly demonstrated his premise that knowledge and technology growing exponentially has met humanity's needs as they appear, and will continue to do so, handling all our looming problems. His forecast predicts a small possible human/machine conflict as machines get smarter and develop identity and feelings.

The flaw in Kirstein’s prediction of technology saving humanity is not a potential machine/human conflict, but the ongoing conflict between human beings. Technology has consistently shown that it increases conflict. Though it greatly increases material benefits and human interdependency, it also causes increased disparity of wealth and power between those that own, control, and can use technology and those that must submit to it. (Think clubs vs. hands, armed drones vs. unarmed humans, educated vs. uneducated, poor vs. rich) While technology allows us to hate at a greater distance, we excitedly expound that it allows us to love more people from afar. Unfortunately distance more easily enhances hate and dilutes love. (Try: two-bit preacher damns a book to burning causes deaths halfway around the world. Think: X number of Facebook friends equals X number of friends in person.)

Ray’s video showed a humanoid machine trying to pass for human. The ultimate test was to care for others as one cares for oneself. Now if technology could spark the golden rule to expand in humans, rather wax and wane as it has done forever, I would embrace technology like teens to iPhones.

Jim Funk,

Gainesville

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