In this edition of Innovate 2018, Andrew Keenfinds himself in the hot seat.
Keen, whose new book, “How to Fix the Future”, was published earlier this month, discusses a moment when it has suddenly become fashionable for tech luminaries to abandon utopianism in favor of its opposite. The first generation of IPO winners have now become some of tech’s most vocal critic—conveniently of new products and services launched by a younger generation of entrepreneurs.
For example, Tesla’s Elon Musk says that advances in Artificial Intelligence present a “fundamental risk to the existence of civilization.” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff believes Facebook ought to be regulated like a tobacco company because social media has become (literally?) carcinogenic. And Russian zillionaire George Soros last week called Google “a menace to society.”
Eschewing much of the over-the-top luddism that now fills the New York Times (“Silicon Valley is Not Your Friends”), the Guardian (“The Tech Insiders Who Fear a Smartphone Dystopia”), and other mainstream media outlets, Keen proffers practical solutions to a wide range of tech-related woes. These include persistent public and private surveillance, labor displacement, and fake news.
From experiments in Estonia, Switzerland, Singapore, India and other digital outposts, Keen distills these five tools for fixing the future:
- Increased regulation, particularly through antitrust law
- New innovations designed to solve the unintended side-effects of earlier disruptors
- Targeted philanthropy from tech’s leading moneymakers
- Modern social safety nets for displaced workers and disenfranchised consumers
- Educational systems geared for 21st century life