There seems to be a consensus that the pace of technological development will become exponential in the foreseeable future but very little coherent advice on what to do if its effects become seriously destructive for civilisation.
Apparently we are expected to assume that human ethics will determine the inherent goodness in a given technology and ensure that it is appropriately controlled. http://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/cs181/projects/technology-dangers/recommend.html
Really? That looks wildly optimistic in the context of an exponential rate of change.
Beneficial for most, so far
There’s no doubt that technological development has substantially advanced the economic welfare of many, particularly the best educated and the wealthiest. But, in a politically and ethnically divided world, is it getting us to collaborate to ensure the stability, fairness and happiness of our future civilisation?
Yes, we’ve seen the appearance of the dotcom billionaire philanthropists (We also had industrial revolution philanthropists). This money goes into health (good) and art (OK). Paradoxically, it doesn’t seem to go into ensuring that the social consequences of their sources of wealth are positive for civilisation.
Exponential looks scary
We are beginning to detect some nasty behaviours and serious neuroses arising from the rapid expansion of Social Media. Legislators scramble to manage the negative effects, but they can only begin to deal with them after the event. Do we have political systems that are able to respond to the impacts on society as technology change rates become exponential? Is the manifest distrust of the establishment that has become now globally prevalent a signal that we need a new system of government?
Exponential technology development rates change the way society can function. They could drive us to the ultimate murderous competition, or perhaps, if appropriately directed, to solutions to the problems that afflict mankind. Might the aspirations and values of decent society be brought to bear on the instincts of the entrepreneur?
Alright then, how do you subordinate the profit motive to the greater good of mankind?