It has been said that meaningful social change moves at the pace of trust. The past decade has seen a rapid wave of new technology that was captured by a relatively small group of people. This group dramatically breached the public’s trust in a myriad of ways, resulting in tangible and damaging negative impacts for people. The Centre for Humane Technology groups these negative impacts in six areas:
- Digital addiction
- Mental health, social comparison & cyber bullying
- Breakdown of truth & the post-truth era
- Political & social polarization
- Attacks on democracy & political manipulation
- Superficiality & social systems based on likes
Grouped together, the Centre for Humane Technology describes this as the “extractive attention economy” and argues it “is tearing apart our shared social fabric”. As a result of these impacts and the lack of response from the corporations responsible, the promise of web 2.0 technology and the potential for positive social change was lost.
Web 3.0 technology is now emerging at an evolutionary moment for humanity, one that is framed by contrasts. Rising economic inequality, the unprecedented centralisation of corporate power, the fracturing of democracy and the existential perils of the climate emergency on the one hand, and on the other the wealth offered to humanity via technological and exponential progress in artificial intelligence, biology & health, finance, education and ongoing improvements and hardening of our information communication networks.
We built Typehuman to help people navigate this technological change and understand its implications for them. We do this by combining deep expertise in emerging technology with design and innovation methods.
There can be no doubt that emerging technology will play a critical role in determining what humanity is evolving to. Will technology continue fracturing our communities, destabilising our democracies and deepening the climate emergency? Or will technology re-centre our humanity, decentralise power and meaningfully reconnect humankind?
We agree with the scholar Carlota Perez that emerging technology can usher in a new golden age: “The technologies capable of driving a sustainable global golden age are available; unleashing them successfully requires an understanding of the historical moment and the willingness to make a clear socio-political choice.” In fact, as Carlota writes, “at times of unused technological potential, it is safer to be bold than to be restrained by realism.” We believe it’s time for unrestrained imagination; a time to harness the possibilities of Web 3.0 for a more just, sustainable & prosperous society.