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Tuesday, July 26 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
The Illusion of Technology: A Generational Perception on the Need for a Human-Centered Approach in Dealing with Developments of Science and Technology

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2842 We are at the turning point of an era with a huge potential of change in which humanity can decide to finally address the failures of our economic, social, governance and belief systems. However the current narrative build around the hopes of being saved by science and technology is getting more and more traction into a society in which digitalization, the illusion of zero marginal costs, sharing economies and big data seems to be the answer to our most pressing problems. This is ironical, since science and technology (S&T) have been not only central to the development model followed by human societies in the last centuries but often very effective instruments of mass destruction, environmental degradation and social exclusion. S&T have been definitely part of the problem, a key component of our model of economic development, and not only an exogenous factor as considered by mainstream economics, which anyway recognize their crucial role to improve productivity and sustain long-term growth. But they are also deemed to be the core of the solution, a paradoxical vision grounded in the idea that finding a technical fix is a good way to avoid the less comfortable question of how power and wealth are distributed in society and with what consequences. In particular the younger generation seems to be distracted by the excitement about technological and scientific new developments and its untapped potential. Addressing the systemic underlying root causes which are the real drivers of our problems is too complex compared to building the new app and the social enterprise that goes with it. While for previous generations changing the world for the better would require also political and social innovations, now it seems that S&T has even displaced every other source of hope. The launching of the latest digital artifact creates a widespread frenziness, but also a true and exciting entrepreneurial spirit is mobilized by the potential of technologies to address human challenges. In a sense, we put S&T at the core of societal evolution, or to say the least we do not conceive any transformation without them playing a significant role, and this is also why we think they should rescue us from all disasters, even those provoked by ourselves. In light of these developments I would like to emphasize the following questions in my contribution to ISSS 2016: How can we go beyond a paradigm of “S&T solutionism” and channel the huge potential these developments will bring? How can we change the route towards a future in which humanity has to adapt to digitalization and its consequences, instead of putting digitalisation at the service of humanity?

avatar for Louis Klein

Louis Klein

Consortial Partner & President, louis.klein@segroup.de
Vice President Conferences (2015), International Society for the Systems Sciences SIG Chair:    Systems Applications in Business and Industry SIG Chair:    Organizational Transformation and Social ChangeLouis Klein is an internationally recognized expert in the field of systemic change management. He is the founder of the Systemic Excellence Group and has been its CEO since 2001. Louis Klein holds a PhD in sociology. He is the chairman of... Read More →

Tuesday July 26, 2016 2:00pm - 2:30pm

Attendees (3)