Technology: Panacea or Plague?

As educators, parents, policymakers, and psychologists wrestle with the question of what we gain and what we give up as our reliance on technology grows by the day, digital natives often find the question quaint. For them, it’s not black and white — which makes it all the more important to focus our public conversation on the nuances of technology and how we can harness it for good. For so long, we’ve taken a manichaean view of all things tech: On the one hand, technology is the magic elixir that will revolutionize education, communication, opportunity. On the other hand, it’s a menace that threatens the future of communication, government, and human connection. Somewhere between elixir and menace lies the truth about technology and its promise. This discussion will examine myths about technology use, its power to scale solutions to some of our biggest problems, and the implications it has for the way human beings connect in the world.

Festival: Aspen Ideas 2017

Watch and Listen: Technology

When a self-driving car’s brakes fail and it has to barrel down one of two lanes, each occupied with two people, which... See more
The genius of artificial intelligence (AI) is its capacity to swiftly mine repositories of data, such as the vast... See more
Technology used to be a lot more accessible, open, and ethical. It was driven by optimistic tinkerers rather than big... See more
The Afternoon of Conversation is the Aspen Ideas Festival's signature event and hosts an audience of 2,000 in the... See more
Technology may teach the pleasures of controlled exchanges—admit it, texting is often so much easier than real-time... See more
Bill Gates portends doomsday is coming. Stephen Hawking says we should prepare for our robot overlords to take their... See more