by Alan Moore on 6th December 2017
Menno van Doorn is Director of the Sogeti Research Institute for the Analysis of New Technology (VINT). Menno shares his views on emerging technologies, Facebook anxiety, Robotic optimism, ‘machinefulness’, how AI might save us from ourselves, self driving transportation, why we need an approach to technological design that is beautiful creating happiness. Centre stage is our humanity.
Menno’s observation of our conversation, Alan is working on “Crafting Beautiful Businesses” and I’m engaged in “Digital Happiness”, our new research theme. It was obvious this wasn’t going to be an easy talk. But who needs easy talks in a bizarre world where everyone is looking at “What’s Next” and “How do we get there”? Alan started asking about the importance of memes, the way new ideas spread into our culture. Words matter. A popular word in the digital space is “Alternative Facts” and a rising star is “The Frightful Five” (referring to the 5 big tech companies like Google). There is a growing unease with everything being digitized, spread, managed and controlled.
The important question is, what are the design principles for the artificially intelligent world? What are the robots going to do? The simple answer is: Making us happy. We can program them in such a way that they improves our wellbeing, joy, and purpose in life (aka happiness). Design principles are emerging in a new scientific field called Positive Computing. We have only scratched the surface of the digital world. Like many other technologies, digital technology started ugly. The side effects of living a digital life are becoming more clear. We need safety belts, deal with the digital exhaust and introduce speed limits as we did with the car. Even better: we need self driving cars we can trust.
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