We love our gadgets. Try disconnecting from your smartphone (the meaning of “phone” no longer has any resemblance to its meaning just a blink in time ago) and see how that goes. Just the thought shows how integral technology is to daily life. Smartphones are how we consume news and entertainment, navigate cities, record and share moments, and buy stuff.
But does technology have answers to really big questions? We are bedeviled by problems: Climate change. Caring for an elder boom. Income inequality. Where to find jobs in a digital economy. And politics feels exhausted, too slow, too ideological to come up with solutions. Maybe technology can rescue us with a fancy device to get us out of this fix.
In the following pages, we ask whether technology is a force for good or bad. Can geoengineering avoid catastrophic global warming, or is it just a cover to avoid changing our capitalist ways? We look at how technology is upending the economy by weakening big institutions and empowering individuals. And we show which current jobs are under the shadow of computerization, while calling for a revolution in education policy to ensure we have enough skilled workers for a digital economy.
It may not save the world. But it’s a start.