As we head deeper into the fourth Industrial revolution, those people who design, programme and implement the hardware .software and liveware dictate the speed and direction of progress.
Reward structures are more lucrative for programmers and coders than many other traditional occupations and reinforce their worth to their specific employer and society at large. What is happening is that this rise in recognition and reward is soon followed by an increase in sensitivity to criticism, delight in ‘disruption’ and hubris. Their position becomes almost a natural right rather than a recognition by society of their worth. Technicians who become successful tend to rule their domain as autocrats with power and desire to ‘improve’ the world through their technical knowhow.
The high salaries these people command influences their approach to the job market and choice of employer. These ‘datacrats’ are part of the new elite and their career success depends on the accumulation of digital knowledge, if they like where they work and are paid handsomely then they will add value to the business model. Additionally if they share the values of the business and it’s founder, then the prevailing digital morals will become further reinforced and embedded in products and services. Before we know it the conglomeration of these technicians and the general direction of technological progress will continue to lead to further acceptance of technology in our lives. We already accept robo advisors, we accept Alexa or Siri and we accept sat nav. These technologies have not been planned, but rather have led to an acceptance or general movement which acknowledges the supremacy of technology over our lives.
Today’s digital service providers and Tech Titans are known for their CEOs/Chairman just as much as for their product or service and we appear to become willing participants in this new fiefdom.
Witness some of the recent press. (Senate hearings and Zuckerberg, Thai cave rescue and Musk)
This movement has been piecemeal and gradual. Ultimately without regulation it will end up as an autocratic or oligarchic drift into the way society is structured. As consumers we have the power of consent, we do not have to allow fingerprint or facial recognition, we can restrict data use, we can ignore digital advice.
If we don’t do this willingly, we can regulate. Recent economic events and uncertainty have caused us to accept innovations that we should take time to think about and rational debate Government time is focussed on more immediate issues and the usual infighting.
As Technology transcends national boundaries, ill briefed governments also struggle with international cooperation.
The ultimate arbiter in all this is the end user and we should expect to feel safe with new technology The behaviour of Government and a laissez faire approach to technology doesn’t seem to make us feel secure, so where do we go from here ?