NEXT15: we create the legacy of today’s technology

Can we truly consider the implications of the tech we build, if we can't predict how people will use it?

Zlatina Tsvetkova has written a long and thoughtful exploration of the themes that emerged from NEXT15 back in September , over at the Nordic Startup Bits site.

The whole thing is worth your time, but I wanted to highlight a few elements, like this insight:

It all comes down to the kind of legacy we are leaving and what we are creating. Exponential growth gives us the ability to impact billions of people in the following decades – how do we want to influence those people, and what do we want to contribute to their lives with?

This comes back to the idea that mindful exploration of the possibilities of tech is one of the great challenges of the next few decades. Rather than just pushing tech out there, can we give more thought to how our decisions shape our society?

The NEXT15 stage set

Well, possibly, but as Zlatine goes on to say:

We’re heading towards a world where you can not forget, get lost – or be anonymous. This seems dystopic, but it’s a realistic part of our technology landscape. A technology’s true impact will only be determined by those who use it, not those who make it. And it will always be used in ways we don’t expect.

There’s an interesting tension there: we should be mindful of the impact of the technology we create, but we should also be realistic about how technology will change our society – wether we like it or not – and the fact that we can never predict exactly how people will end up using technology.

It’s a nice counterpoint to our own reflections on the event.