Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

Keeping Tabs with Tech Direction

These days Microsoft is hosting their BUILD developer conference. Once in a while I check on the developments and directions these technology companies are taking. Whether you like it or not, our world is already being dictated by these multinational corporations. What they plan for the future will shape societies across cultures.

Apple’s iPhone and ecosystem is ubiquitous and sought after by both rich and poor. Google saturates all aspects of our lives. Microsoft dominates business and productivity. Our lives is marked by a continuous and steady union of the physical and virtual spheres. This landscape is surely affecting how you live in 21st century.

So what’s interesting in the coming years?

  1. A new take on User Interface. It used to be that our interface with computers is through the screen, mouse, and keyboard. Expect that to change as technology is entering the Natural Interface: language and touch. Technology is slowly becoming more natural when it interacts with users. There will be more and more use of voice and natural language in giving out commands to your phones and computers.
  2. Centralization. I’ve talked about this before in one of the JPII Cebu sessions. There is a strong movement to centralize information online so that it would match your unique and singular identity on earth. All of us now log-in either with Facebook, Google, or Apple credentials. The same credentials can be used for other services. Some observers would raise the flag for privacy concerns and putting in too much power over information to these companies. But this is the direction we are heading and we need to be aware.
  3. Use of Artificial Intelligence. As more information gets accumulated online it becomes more difficult to manage and sort out. Here comes artificial intelligence to help out in making sense of all the data we are all pouring out. Artifical intelligence will make sense of the semantics (meaning) of all the information you put it: your personal information, your social connections, your online habits, yes, all of your life. It will also attempt to act as an interface: you are already using Google Search that has been partly powered by AI for the past years, almost everyone is aware of Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. These AI’s are sure to spawn out more applications in the coming years.
  4. A more seamless world. More boundaries will be toppled down and there would be more tension in who and how our human structures can control this ebb and flow of the internet. This openness will challenge governments, convents, and homes. Access to the internet and information would become a hotter topic. Security, privacy and safety both for individuals and businesses will find more challenges. Computer literacy will have to be seriously considered in education. The global village will continue its path of search of identity and organization as individuals and groups try to make sense of the internet.
A Caution
While these developments are interesting, I believe we should taper down on our optimism that the internet will save the world. I personally believe that technology will always be an extension of human capacity and nothing more. It will not become more sentient and intelligent than the minds that program it. Afterall, the effect can never be greater than the cause. The internet and its parts might appear more intelligent than the average human simply because it is an accumulation of collective and personal information. It won’t find itself useful outside the human sphere.
Nothing can ever replace efficaciousness of personal physical contact. No matter how fast or efficient communications become, whether we enter into a world of virtual and augmented reality, the basic and most important way to get to know each other is always through our persons – as bodies and spirits who need to be near each other in space and time. No text message, chat, e-mail, or video conference can ever replace the tenderness and genuineness of a mother’s hug and kiss.

Lastly, technology will remain amoral. Whether it is good or bad essentially depends on who uses it. It could save the world if there are good people using it or it could also destroy everything with the same mad people using it.


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