It’s pretty disappointing that TED allowed this talk to ever occur, it’s the classic “you better fear technology or else” hogwash that we have all heard before. Of course our technology is a doubled edged sword, it can be used for both good or ill but that has been the case since the first tools mankind ever used. The wooden club, chipped flint and fire can be used for defense against predators, hunting and cooking food or it can be used to pillage the camp down river. This presenters perspective on technology really exemplifies the problem with modern law enforcement in that it perceives any and every new technological innovation as a possible threat. From this perspective such threats can only be mitigated by limitations on technology, its development and proliferation throughout modern society. This talk comes off as a kind of propaganda, there is no original thinking going on here it is merely fear mongering. Here is a sample of some of the speakers more ridiculous quotes;
“We are at the dawn of a technological arms race, an arms race between people who are using technology for good and those who are using it for ill.”
This arms race started long ago with stone tools it’s not the “dawn” of anything. An axe and hammer can be used to build a shelter or kill a man so this is not news.
“A search engine can determine who shall live and who shall die.”
Really? and how precisely are we to remedy that? Monitor all searches, limit what people can search for? Limit who they can search for and when?
“If you’re expecting the people who built airport security to protect you from the coming robopocalypse, you may want to have a backup plan.”
One would think that any TED presenter worth his salt would stay away from “Bad Robot” insinuations but guess not. The assumption here is that the advent of a “robopocalypse” as he calls it is an inevitability. Either intelligent autonomous robots will turn on humans or some crafty human will turn robots on the rest of humanity. Perhaps this was the presenters attempt at humor.
It’s too bad the presenter did not use his opportunity to speak at TED to explore a problem much more relevant given his background and that is the militarization of local law enforcement agencies which also seeks to leverage modern high technology for their own purposes. Those of us interested in technology and innovation expect more from TED.