Lift12, Technology vs. People: JP Rangaswami [en]

[fr] Je suis à la conférence Lift12 à Genève ces prochains jours. Voici mes notes de sessions.

Live-blogging from Lift12 conference in Geneva. These are my notes and interpretations of JP Rangaswami‘s talk — best effort, but might be imprecise or even wrong!

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So, is technology good or bad?

We need to think about the reasons this technology exists. For a long time, two drives to create new technology:

  • Flying? Perceived need.
  • Velcro? Observation.

Interesting: cooking as pre-digestion or external stomach. Cooked food allows us to have a relatively small stomach for our size.  => wish to speed up evolution.

Technology: we need to evaluate it in context — e.g. Cocaine toothache pills, dentists recommending which brand to smoke..

We’re not leaving enough time to evaluate the impact of technologies.

Interesting: medicine has gone from customer-centric (holistic) to product-centric (treating the illness). Not that much progress with cancer.

We should not just be thinking the technology we have, but about the technology we do not develop. What we choose not to do is also important.

Technology is also pioneering: e.g. Foursquare, mapping the digital world. Pioneers are sometimes ridiculed, or pay with their life (Marie Curie). Innovation seen as positive today did not come without criticism and bad things happening.

Crickets biggest betting scandal figured out by somebody who had all the time in the world to look at hours and hours of tape (and connect the dots…).

Unintended consequences of banning technology (ie, Pakistan and YouTube).

How Target Figured Out Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before her Dad Did.

Sometimes technology is not to accelerate things, but to slow them down (e.g. qwerty — steph-note: wasn’t that a myth? need to check.)

Look at things holistically: pioneers exist, unintended consequences.

Development of the suburbs. Positives and negatives coming out — was television created to produce a generation of couch potatoes? Unintended consequence. Was Google created to “make us dumb”?

Online interactions to augment offline interactions, but from the outside, fear that online is replacing offline.

Photo rescue project. People giving their time and skill to help save other people’s memories.


Technology itself is not good or bad, it is the engagement of humans that decides that. We still get to choose good or bad.

Every economic era has its peculiar abundances and scarcities. Hyperconnectivity is our abundance. How can we create business value from this abundance? What does it mean to have pressure on attention?

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