In this video, learn how to apply the first question to common and thorny technological issues.
- [Host] You know, the question about To me, that's the single most important thing we must ask about our technologies. I'll give an example of a technology that can benefit everyone. Artificial intelligence applied to medicine. You know, the fact is that apps in our smartphones are free. We download them or they cost a couple of dollars or so. What if we could build apps that are digital doctors that take data from the senses we have in our body? We have excelometers and chiroscopes and also some senses on the smartphone that keep track of our movement.
If this device knows when we wake, when we sleep, how active we are but we're also going to be wearing also the devices that keep track of our body's vitals. What if we could build apps now, that monitor those and that also know about our lifestyle, our habits, and our long-term health then have our medical records and advise us on how to stay healthy? The beauty of software is that when you build it once it can be replicated billions of times at no cost. So, that's an example of a technology that could benefit everyone equally, right? Now, an example of a technology that can't benefit everyone equally, high frequency trading.
So now you have the investment banks who've already been siphoning off money from the financial system by doing high frequency trading and giving themselves a treat to take advantage. That benefit (mumbles) doesn't benefit anyone else. To me, that's evil. To me, is good because we have a chance to share the prosperity we're creating. This is a type of decision we're going to have to make over and over again. Now these are two extreme examples and that's why I'm making them, but you'll find that the same principles apply to almost everything you do.
Do it in a way that where the world benefits from it because you know, if we can now share our technology with the world, if we can and provide the same benefits to everyone that the rich and the powerful have, we will uplift mankind. We won't get this type of social disharmony we're seeing in the elections. We won't get the inequity that's ripping humanity apart. We'll be able to benefit everyone equally and to me, that's the most important thing we do with every technology that we build. That even robots, we build robots.
If they can serve us, if they can help the elderly. You know, when you look at exponentials, you'll realize that the cost of components keep getting cheaper, even though you maybe believe them for the rich right now. If you look at the way prices drop, those technologies will benefit everyone in a few years from now. Doesn't have to be that your technology benefits everyone at the same time. You have to look at the exponential curve to see the cost of components dropping, the cost of computing dropping, the cost of connectivity dropping, networks sensors, everything dropping and realize that over a period of time it will benefit everyone equally.
So this is how you are to be thinking about your technologies on the exponential curves. You know, if you're a product developer creating some software for large company, there's not much you can do on a day to day basis about making sure your technology is doing good and worrying about the risk and the rewards but you can certainly. You shouldn't just be in your narrow style of focusing deep down at what you did, you should look at the bigger picture.
What is the impact it's going to have on the people that it's meant to serve and to the rest of humanity itself? These are questions you can ask now because you know, before in the past you were developing simple systems that we use by small numbers of people. Now the technologies we build can be shared very broadly, that even if you're building a sensor that detects temperature or detects some kind of gas or so on. That sensor may be very expensive right now but the cost of it will drop exponentially over the next few years.
If you're developing a sub-routine that can understand a specific type of market data in the long term, it could be shared more widely and benefit people in a wider way. I'm giving you very silly examples over here. You can think bigger than that. You can think broader than that. Just think about the technology you're creating. Look on the exponential curve, the fact that the cost of computing drops every year or two, that everything gets cheaper, everything gets faster, everything gets smaller.
Look at the exponential curves and think about how your technology is maybe available to the masses over longer period of time and start being aware, being cognizant of your creations because today, we can impact billions of people with our technologies. Never before did we have this opportunity, or this responsibility. Today we have it.
Vivek Wadhwa offers an approach to help you make intentional choices about the technology you develop and the options you use when faced with uncertainty. He explains how to assess your efforts and deliver outcomes that are aligned with your values and the values of your company. Vivek goes beyond the usual discussion of "is this profitable" to "is this something we should do". Discover how to consider the implications of your actions and choices, weigh your options, and ultimately make more informed and mindful decisions.
- Asking tough questions
- Weighing risks and rewards
- Considering who benefits
- Choosing the right technology
- Determining how to do what is right