Technology won't solve the world’s food problems; without better institutions, it will simply amplify inequality and inequity.
— umair haque (@umairh) August 5, 2013
I’ve never meet a self-proclaimed geek who understands this. Technology is not something that’s inherently good, where more of it solves more problems and improving it improves our lot. If we implement servile AIs and pervasive automation, that won’t be used to create a society of abundance and leisure but to make the rich richer while the unemployed starve. Technology is something that needs to be applied and generally reflect the economy and culture it was developed in.
This means that a society geared towards inequality and inequity will use technology to amplify them. This means that a police state will use it to decrease the freedom and privacy of the citizens. Theocracies will use technology to hunt unbelievers.
Technology does not make the unfair fair and it does not right wrongs. It is a tool and the only way to change the world is to first change the people who wield it.
ETA: Athena Andreadis made this here excellent point over on twitter:
.@umairh @fakebaldur Yes, but there are degrees of intrinsic tilt. Plutonium enrichment versus contraception, to give one example.
— Athena Andreadis (@AthenaHelivoy) August 5, 2013
On the contrary, low-cost mass produced technology is making basic amenities affordable to so many people, especially in developing nations. What if the rich take most of it – let them take it, not be satisfied and yearn for more. The poor also inevitably end getting some share – which can sometimes bring a huge improvement in their lives. Things like solar panels and mobile phones are bringing electricity/connectivity to so many villages which had neither, before.
Technology can be used in anyway – It depends on how it is being applied.