Inequality, abuses of power, and bias could increase if there isn’t effective governance over technological developments. New technologies hold the key to our future, and proper governance can lead to new opportunities, more equality, and a better quality of life. Below we have listed five visions of the future for global technology governance.
1. We’ll move beyond devices
According to the Chief Futurist at Deloitte, Mike Bechtel, getting the newest smartphone won’t matter in the near future. He says that we will be “moving beyond the device” in the next ten years. He says that it is unrealistic to have “15 smart speakers everywhere we go.”
He says that there will be a move towards something called “ambient experiences,” which means that we won’t be asking our smart speakers what the weather is like outside, instead we would just say “‘what’s the weather?’ and the right agent jumps up at the right time to give the right answer.
2. AI won’t take our jobs in the near future
According to Fortunly.com, 37% of workers are worried about losing their jobs due to automation. Furthermore, the number of industrial robot jobs increases by 14% each year, and, shockingly, more than 70% of people are willing to augment their brains and bodies in order to improve their employment prospects. In addition, the OECD says 14% of jobs globally are at risk from automation within the next two decades, while 32% could change radically.
But Professor Stuart Russell of the University of California, Berkeley, has said that if you are worried that you will lose your job to a computer or a robot you can relax, for the time being at least. He said that “the kind of AI that people are worried about taking all the jobs doesn’t exist yet”.
3. Reality will be diminished
You will have heard of augmented reality, but what about diminished reality? It’s not a new concept. Noise cancelling headphones are an example of a product that diminishes reality. The DR company Atlantis states that “unlike Augmented Reality, in which virtual objects are added to the user’s environment, Diminished Reality removes components of reality from the viewer’s perspective. Based on computer vision techniques, unwanted image elements are detected and replaced by other image elements, creating an overall plausible and consistent impression for the viewer.”
In other words, it refers to removing extraneous things that allow us to focus on what matters most. Diminished reality spectacles, as an example, could allow us to remove things we don’t want to see when undertaking certain tasks.
The future could include noise-cancelling windows, according to New York University’s Professor Amy Webb. She said that these windows could create an ‘anti-wave’ to block sound from passing through. In the near future, she said, “it could totally transform our cities and turn the volume down on all that extra noise”.
4. Transformative, real investment in human capital
A central question in our society is why some jobs are better paid than others. There is a strand of thought that it comes down to investment in training.
The University of California, Berkeley’s Professor Stuart Russell gives an example that a surgeon draws on thousands of years of medical research while training for ten years, say, and is then rewarded with a high salary and high status. Contrast that with babysitters, for example. He says that there has been almost no research into the engineering, training, science or professionalisation of childcare.
“If we could do it right it would be wonderful. We have plenty of data on what happens when you have one-on-one human tutoring as opposed to classroom education. A really good human tutor can teach at about three times the rate of a typical school classroom. So roughly speaking you would bring children to college level by the age of 10.”
This may seem like wishful thinking, but technology can unlock a future where this is possible.
SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER
We do not sell our lists, and you can easily unsubscribe if you so wish.
5. Synthetic biology could change the world
Synthetic biology includes CRISPR, the gene-editing technology that is being used to fight COVID-19, and it has the potential to improve biology and redesign organisms for beneficial purposes. Professor Amy Webb again says that “it’s going to allow us to not just edit genomes but also, and importantly, to write a new code for life – we will have write-level permissions,” she added. “This could and will transform not just health but also materials. I can’t think of an area in which we won’t see a significant improvement.”
Global technology governance will help shape the future making it a very exciting field with extremely high potential. However, global technology governance also poses a number of challenges meaning that the future may not seem as clear as initially imagined.