Distinction and nuance are not common these days. Everyone is eager to either be “all in” or “totally against” the newest and coolest fads, fashions, and even phones. Current economic, social, political, and personal realities have yielded a climate of cynicism about the dangers of social media, the disturbing possibilities of digital surveillance on smartphones, and the power stronghold of tech and business giants.
The countless ways technology and scientific advances have changed modern life can be viewed as both positives and negatives. Some people perceive innovation as life-changing; others categorize them as unnecessary (or even evil). But it is creative thinking and constant discovery that fuels progress. Whether it is apps, gadgets, start-ups, or business models, there is something to be said for striking the right balance between outright enthusiasm and paralyzing negativity.
The world as we know it relies on the greatest minds to continually push for more. But it also needs to leave room for the doubters. Those asking the hard questions, like “why?” and “who might this harm?” need to be heard and taken seriously. Business growth and tech expansion do not happen in a vacuum. They generate tools, policies, and platforms that transform the way we live and how we interact with the world.
Executives, administrators, and developers will do well to remember that there are people at the other end of that bottom line, avatar, or username. Pretentiousness must be abandoned for humility by those hard at work in the tech and finance sectors. Even those who govern these industries—the policymakers and overseeing officials—need to bridge their zeal with the right amounts of reality-informed doubt.