In the wake of the Coronavirus epidemic, a tech CEO is concerned about the world we are leaving our grandchildren.
As the CEO of a tech startup, it is difficult to share my opinions publicly, but in the wake of the COVID-19, Coronavirus outbreak, I find myself torn with what I see happening in the world and feel the need to share my thoughts. I am going to start by saying this is going to be a controversial post. It would be impossible to write about this subject without discussing some sensitive issues.
Because my company is tech-based, I tend to live and breathe tech industry news, often finding myself chest-deep in the latest updates and innovations happening around the world. At times these innovations are amazing, but there are other times when I find myself scratching my head in disbelief.
Let me explain. As of late, I see a common trend taking place in various tech industries. It’s a trend fuelled by fear & greed, and it is dangerous.
I cannot tell you how many new products I see being introduced, with the promise of giving us a better, more protected world.
Once introduced, the products are praised by the masses, hailed by our governments, and quickly adopted without question.
Surely protecting us must be a good thing, right? No, not always.
Why do I say that? Because some of these products seem like they are straight out of Orwell’s 1984.
In the name of protection, people are happily signing up for all sorts of intrusive technology, without actually thinking about the ultimate long term consequences of doing so. The reason this is happening is simple; people are making decisions from a fear mindset, rather than a rational one.
In the last month, I have noticed several phone apps designed to track Covid19 carriers. Helmet mounted thermometers that secretly scan peoples temperature without their consent, mapping systems that track the proximity of people walking next to each other on city streets. Bracelets & Card ID systems that carry data on your Covid19 status and the now infamous MIT Develop ‘Tattoo ID’ that checks if you have been vaccinated or not.
If you think that sounds like conspiracy talk, please read the articles for yourself.
Is this the world we want to leave our children? A world where police become the weapon of governments, locking up parents who take their children outside to play or elderly parents left to pass away alone, because of fear of spreading the virus.
Fear has caused a mass stream of irrational thinking. People have been getting sick for as long as we have records. Yes, sometimes those sicknesses have been terrible killing millions, but we always recover. Humans are resilient and can overcome the worst of these situations naturally.
The world does not need the kind of technology currently being developed. What we need is to take a deep breath, breathe, and think rationally about our future. Let’s go back to living our lives, using common-sense protection measures. Measures that do not include privacy-invading technology. Once we do, our natural immunity will build up, healing itself as it has always done.
As tech leaders, we need to be ethically minded first, understanding, tech cannot fix every issue. We also need to ensure that the products we develop are beneficial to humanity rather than destructive.
So I ask again, is this the world we want to leave our children and grandchildren? Please take a deep breath and think before you develop.