Is the Technology Bubble Going to Burst Us?

This is a fascinating time to be alive and to be doing the work I get to do as a consultant where I focus upon trying to understand and then help my clients respond to emergent conditions. And lately I have been watching a fascinating one emerging!

Never have we experienced so much accelerating uncertainty and widespread economic and global changes on such a grand scale. And much of what we are seeing is being driven by exponential advancements in technology.

Modern technologies have not only made the world flat but it has also virtually eliminated time and geography as limitations to communications across the entire planet.

I can send and email or a text around the world and get a response in seconds.

This represents a staggering development in societal evolution. And the ripples are wide spread and are multiplying and morphing in ways that we can neither predict nor effectively adapt to.

There is no way human evolution can keep pace with the evolution of modern technology. Yet the one that that is proven beyond a doubt is that the nature of the relationship between humans and technology is that humans leverage existing technologies to create faster and more powerful technologies faster and faster. This means the cycle is going to continue AND accelerate as we move into the future.

Another aspect of this relationship is that technologies are not limited by human limitations. So as they get faster the gap between their capabilities and our abilities to handle or control them gets wider and wider, moment by moment.

So for me, the question becomes this: Could it be that humans, through the proliferation of, and the exponential growth of technology and connectivity, “created” a world society that is far too complex, interconnected and fast paced for us to be able to manage or sustain?

I have to wonder how close we are to reaching the breaking point of our civilization’s ability to survive at its current rate of progression. We are unique as a species in that we have the ability, by and large, to create the environment in which we live. So far this has helped us to evolve in a relatively steady upward trend both consciously and culturally over the tens of thousands of years of our existence. 
But while we have used technology to separate and insulate us from the natural world I’m wondering the solution to our survival has become our biggest threat to it.

Could it be that we have become the first species to evolve our surroundings to a point where we are no longer capable of surviving in them? With the run away combination that we call “Apps and Connectivity” we are using technology to accelerate the speed, interconnectedness and therefore the complexity of our world beyond anything ever imagined and I would argue, beyond our human ability to keep pace with.

And the signs of stress this is causing are appearing everywhere. Significant increases in both the number of incidents and the sizes of global economic, political and social chaos are being experienced beyond anything we have experienced before have all been either created by or accelerated by the use of technology.

As a result our large and lumbering governmental, educational and economic institutions upon which the “modern world” has been built are incapable of reacting to the pace of the modern world. Literally all of them were designed to succeed in conditions that were infinitely slower, more predictable and less connected than the world technology has created.

Neither our societal models nor our bodies, minds or spirits were designed for this level of complexity or the level of, and speed of, change that the modern world is thrusting upon us constantly and exponentially.

We are at the mercy of our technologies more than at anytime in our history. The tail is officially wagging the dog more and more. This can be demonstrated by the increasingly documented incidents of “addiction” to emails, cell phones and technology at all levels and layers of our society which are being documented and attested to. We are losing control. And it is showing.

We have punched our ticket for the “Technology Express” and none of us can get off of it now.
It’s like we built a rocket, loaded it with high octane petro, strapped our butts to it and lit the fuse not knowing how far or fast it is capable of going. And now that we are on it we are realizing that we lack the ability to understand it, steer it, stop it or to even slow it down.

And that bad boy is picking up speed and starting to wildly careen out of control. None of us have ever traveled this fast, this far, or to this place. That is why I believe that we have, for the first time since perhaps the collapse of the Roman Empire, created a world who’s complexities FAR exceed our abilities to live in them, and if we haven’t gotten there yet we soon will be. 

And just like my dear friend Wyle E. Coyote who, when screaming through the air strapped to an ACME rocket, first sees the canyon wall he is going to smash into we need to surrender ourselves to the most probable predictable outcome because it’s gonna hurt like HECK….. Blink….blink.

But like Wyle AND the Terminator, we too will “Be Back”. It just may take a while for us to pick up the pieces, re-establish the balance between humans and technologies and put humans back in control. But in the meantime it is going to be one heck of a ride and I am fascinated to be a part of it and to witness this amazing time in history.

So while the thought may be a bit unsettling every generation has its major challenges. Such as WWII, the Great Depression, the decade of the 60’s, the Civil War, etc, etc, etc….. Just another day on planet earth.

So for me, I am going to try to get back in balance a bit now, before it is forced upon me. Get back to the basics that worked so well for so long by putting humans first, get more disconnected down time, go hang out in a forest and re-experience the world as we were designed to experience it more and more.

And we will just see where it all goes from here…….

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