How do we go about discussing the gap between our technology’s potential and how well we reach that potential? In many ways technology is the ultimate incarnation of the expression, “more than the sum of it’s parts”. A smart phone mostly consists of simple things like plastic, silicon, glass, metal. Yet, the way in which those substances come together has resulted in a device that has transformed our entire society.
I recently watched an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation where this issue came to mind. The crew of the Enterprise encountered beings with advanced scientific know how. These beings stole a shuttle craft and used it’s existing technology to travel 20 times faster than was previously possible by humans.
The technology to accomplish this “uber feat” was already there. It was only a matter of rearranging it or programming it in a new way. This gap between what our technology is capable of and what we do with it could be an important subject to consider.
As our technology advances, it becomes more likely that a single genius or group of smart people can use it to achieve an “uber feat”. It need not come in the form of traveling 20 times faster than is humanly possible.
Mark Zuckerberg could be an example. He used existing technologies to parlay a few lines of programming code into a billion dollar industry and a communications revolution.
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