As you are probably aware due to the unending stream of utopian press reports emanating from Silicon Valley, three new technologies bankrolled by three of the biggest names in tech are poised to change your life for the better. Just as the computer and internet have been nothing but a positive in the lives of all people everywhere, so too will virtual reality, drones and self-driving vehicles liberate human beings from the tedium of, respectively, sensing the real world, delivering packages, and driving.
Still, in the wee hours of the night, and admittedly afflicted by the kind of doubt that will forever keep human beings from reaching the computational certitude of computers, I find myself thinking that VR, drones and autonomous vehicles sound nice in the vacuum of public relations and venture-capital funding, but may experience or even provoke real-world problems upon deployment. In fact, I can’t keep my storytelling reflex from filling in all the utopian backdrops and can’t-miss financial windfalls with scenarios in which these technologies fail or are repurposed to darker intents. [ Read more ]