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Second Thoughts: The Dilemma of Technological Advances

A deep dive into the perils and promises of technology from the lens of a tech enthusiast.

Examining Artificial Intelligence's Broad Implications

On my birthday in 2015, I drove to New York City to attend the Singularity Summit, where numerous technologists, philosophers, and scientists spoke about AI. They all believed that once you open the box even slightly, AI will escape. At that time, these new technologies captured my attention, along with that of many others who were looking for a better future. I had read numerous books about synthetic organs and various technologies designed to improve or lengthen our lives, and it looks like we are closer now than ever to making those advancements reality.

To explore if this might be true, read The Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the Twenty-first Century's Greatest Dilemma by Mustafa Suleyman. Much of this book discusses the idea of containment. Suleyman spills a lot of ink on this concept, comparing AI to a nuclear bomb. Building a nuclear bomb is quite difficult as the ingredients are not easily acquired. However, what one needs for AI is much easier to obtain, with the exception of a quantum computer.

The Evolution of Digital Communication: You’ve Got Mail

My first computer featured a 286 chip. It was 1991, and it had a modem that granted me internet access. There were a few ways to get online; one was called CompuServe, and another was Prodigy. It would be years before AOL would introduce the laggards to the World Wide Web. This wasn’t the internet as you know it today; it was mostly forums where people posted messages, and others responded.

The internet made email available, a technology that was primarily used in academia. The novelty encouraged people to adopt this new technology, which made communicating with friends and family easier ,and eventually it became the dominant medium for communication. There was a time when I loved email, but that time has passed.

If history gets this right, the list of the greatest villains will include Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and the person who created email. Even when we try to make things better, we find there is a downside that may be larger than the upside.

Imagine a technology that allows anyone to send you a message at any time about anything, anywhere. Your email inbox is likely overwhelmed with emails that are not relevant to you, or worse, that ask you to undertake a task without knowing about your current projects and priorities. If only this were the worst aspect of email, but it isn’t.

When someone sends an email to a group, every time a recipient responds, the thread grows, adding to the messages in the other recipients’ inboxes. This technology, designed to be asynchronous, has now become synchronous in practice. Most people expect a response to an email within a matter of minutes. We need someone to build an email platform that prioritizes the emails from your contacts over those from senders who are not in your contacts.

The Smartphone: Navigating Our Love-Hate Relationship

Regardless of where you are reading this article, I am positive your smartphone is only a few inches away from you. If you jump in your car and find yourself two miles away from home having left your phone behind, you will turn around and retrace your path. This device is precious enough that you pick it up and carry it around. A newborn baby isn’t picked up as often as a smartphone.

Your smartphone will allow you to call, text, email, or meet on video. It will also alert you to news and minutiae by sending notifications about this thing or that. It is the modern-day electronic Swiss Army Knife, one that constantly demands your attention. My iPhone is staring at me, hoping I will notice it and return it to its rightful home in my left hand. Unless my phone rings, it will sit on my desk. This device is a leash. For some of us, it is more like a shock collar, buzzing us to open some app or text or email.

I removed all social media from my phone. I also turned off notifications and cleared out the apps I downloaded and never use. I am trying to make my smartphone a dumber version, limited to a few essential functions, like phone calls.

The Silent Subscription Economy

The subscription economy continues to proliferate. I won’t blame you if you avoid looking at your card statements to see just how many subscriptions you pay for monthly. Recently, I have canceled more than a dozen subscriptions. However, I have kept a few that are important to me. There are still two quite expensive subscriptions I need to cancel.

My family subscribes to Netflix, Hulu, Paramount, and a number of other apps that reach into my card to take a payment.

You may find that you need to rethink something you are doing and explore your second thoughts. You may find that what was once important is now a burden or something that is no longer what you believed it to be.

Leaving this article, take a few minutes to see what kind of second thoughts you have. Having explored these second thoughts, make a list of things you may want to change, technological or otherwise.


Sales 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on May 3, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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