We argue loudly about technology in sports, not so much the consequences of our own. Why?
In electronics, technology propels the world and its economies
forward relentlessly, but we have similar moral/cultural issues we
rarely confront as loudly. Technologists created dynamite, machine guns,
planes to drop bombs on civilian targets and atomic weapons. We can
now fly drone aircraft half a world away, kill a suspected terrorist and end the mission, walking out of a trailer in Nevada and grabbing
Starbucks on the way home.
Technology has spawned an amazing information age, but it's
transformed society in dark, slimy ways we're just now grappling with: I'm
thinking here of families sitting around a table staring at their
phones, conversing with everyone but the people sitting a foot away.
What's the impact on basic human communications and society?
Technology has spawned an incredible Internet-of-things that is
revolutionizing many aspects of society, but it will also continue
to crash into our civil liberties through cameras and sensors we
can't even see.
These technological consequences are as troublesome as those from
the spread of bleeding-edge pharmaceuticals (perhaps more so because
they are effecting everyone, not just athletes). And yet… little of
isolated discussion. When bicyclist Lance Armstrong gets nailed
(what a breathtaking use of technology!), it's Page 1
Neither electronics nor pharmaceutical technology can be stuffed
back in the toothpaste tube, and issues of "level playing fields" in sports and technology are hogwash.
So, how do we manage this tension? How
do we move beyond the simple-minded "cheaters" mantra? Or do we?
(Meantime, vote for Barry!)