Technology vs Humanity: Gerd’s bottom lines and key messages


Download the preview PDF:  Technology-vs.-Humanity-Gerd Leonhard Preview

Read the TVH ‘Cheat Sheet’ (key messages explained, on my FuturistGerd site)

Below are some of the key messages presented in ‘Technology versus Humanity’, adapted and expanded for the purpose of clarification. Many of these memes are still very much work-in-progress and will be expanded upon in my upcoming keynotes, talks and presentations. Stay tuned by subscribing to my personal newsletter, here. Thanks!

Really short stuff (latest update: Sept 29 2016)

1) Embrace technology but don’t become it. Radical human augmentation via technological means will be a downgrade not an upgrade. Technology is exponential but humans are linear (and should remain so)

2) Whatever can be digitized, automated and virtualized, will be – and anything that cannot be digitized or automated will become extremely valuable (i.e. our uniquely human qualities).

3) Exponential technological change is #hellven (heaven and hell at the same time). Will we be tool-makers or tool-made?

4) Technology does not have ethics but our society depends on them. Just because we can does not mean we should.

5) Technology is not what we seek but how we seek: the tools should not become the purpose. Yet increasingly, technology is leading us to ‘forget ourselves’.

6) Efficiency should never become more important than humanity, because not everything that can be automated, should be – and happiness cannot be automated.

7) Humanity will change more in the next 20 years than the previous 300 years (yes, seriously). It’s time to decide what we want to be.

8) To safeguard humanity’s future, we must invest as many resources in human happiness and the continued flourishing of humanity as we do in developing new tools and technologies. Exponential technologies need exponential humanity; every great algorithm needs a great androrithm!

9) We are at the pivot point of exponential and combinatorial technological evolution: all around us, science fiction is becoming science fact – and the future will increasingly arrive gradually then suddenly. We need to proceed with a very wise combination of precaution and pro-action.

10) The immediate future clearly is all about technology yet the bigger future lies in transcending it

11) It is now clear that indeed, ‘software is eating the world’ (Marc Andreessen, 2011) but increasingly I am worried about the possibility that ‘software is cheating the world’

12) Silicon Valley and China should not become ‘mission control for humanity‘. We need a global digital ethics counsel that transcends the agenda of investors and the military.

13) Just as peace is not merely the absence of war, progress is not merely the presence of technology (in other words, technology is not the saviour of humanity – we are!)

14) The future is not just something that will happen tomorrow, the future is something that has already happened today but just didn’t notice it!

Longer stuff

1. There are two kinds of happiness – passing and profound. Technology is good at the first, but not at the second. Hedonic happiness is something technology excels on; for a more eudaemonic happiness and overall contentment we must look elsewhere. Eudaemonia i.e. a deeper happiness that involves what I call CORE (Creativity, Originality, Reciprocity and Empathy) – is what defines humanity.

2. It often seems that increasingly, algorithms are starting to encroach on what I call androrithms in the book- those unpredictable human patterns that result in discovery, invention and culture. Exponentially invasive technologies are amplifying this trend – are we heading towards an augmented, implanted human, supported by robots and (soon) cyborgs…?

3. Everyone’s talking about Digital Transformation but this is only one of ten Megashifts involving technology that will totally change the human game. A less documented sign of this approaching storm is the burgeoning wave of what I call Digital Obesity (there’s an entire chapter on this topic in my book)

4. We will soon discover a desperate need for a code of Digital Ethics if technology is not to proliferate uncontrollably (maybe towards machine super-intelligence?) and seriously erode human identity. Transhumanists seem to welcome this irreversible change (clearly, I do not… read the chapter in the book:) so those of us who want to be on  “team human” will need to provide a powerful counter-conversation; and soon!

Some key quotes from the book, verbatim (coming soon)

Some catchy tag-lines from Gerd

The worst way to invent the future is to predict it (Gerd Leonhard riffing off Peter Drucker)

The future is like a box of chocolates: before you know it there’s only one left (Gerd Leonhard updating a scene from Forrest Gump)

About the 10 megashifts: 

the coming clash between man and machine will be intensified and exponentalized through the combinatorial effects of what I call the Megashifts (see the new microsite here):

1. Digitization
2. Mobilization
3. Screenification
4. Disintermediation
5. Transformation
6. Intelligization
7. Automation
8. Virtualization
9. Anticipation
10. Robotization

More on these here


Many illustrations relating the memes above can be found on my public Flickr stream – all are creative commons licensed so feel free to use them (non-commercially) as long as you give credit to me. Thanks!

Technology vs Humanity

Check out the latest media links about Gerd and the TechvsHuman topic

New video introducing the book (conversations with Gerd #1)

Read more here