The future of technology is…?
Predicting what’s next for technology is quite a delightful task. It is an opportunity to go beyond what is presently possible, and to speculate on what might be possible. It is daydreaming on a large scale, where individuals refuse to be hamstrung by the limitations of the present and somewhat revolt in dreaming of a technologically-advanced world of their own making.
What the future of technology holds in not an inquiry for the pedestrian chiromancer. Relative change and unmatched predictability are hallmarks of the progression of technology, hallmarks that are a bane to producing a definite and sensible picture of future technology. As such, David Pogue offers two rules for anyone who freely engages in the prediction of the future frontiers of technology.* First, “make predictions about things that will come to pass, not about things that won’t.” Quite simply, foretell things that will eventually be realized by human thought and innovation. Do not strive to be a walking doomsayer and tell what things cannot be done. Second, “[e]xperience has shown, over and over again, that certain trends are virtually inviolable.” Pogue cites as an example that as more and more things are becoming available online, it is safe to predict then that human objects that are not yet riding the information superhighway will probably do so. Pogue then reminds his readers that “it’s a blessing we can’t predict the future of tech-because it means we’ll keep trying.” It is that absence of the knowledge of certainty that enables the human mind to venture into the unknown, and thereby discover a whole new corpus of technology.
A student of law might ponder, should the law engage in the prediction (or anticipation) of technology for law to keep abreast with latter’s progress?
“Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand” so goes Putt’s Law.** “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience” the venerable Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said. A lawmaker cannot be possibly expected to enact a law concerning technology that forecloses all kinds of loopholes, for his knowledge is severely limited by actual reality. A judge cannot dabble his hand into the exploration of where technology may go or not, for he jeopardizes his position in the judicial system where his specific role is to adjudicate legal disputes. For law to predict what technology will be, and subsequently create a regime based on such predictions, experience is then vetted out as its foundation. Indeed, the law must understand technology, that is, to understand what it is today first, to manage its present and future.
The future of the law must necessarily be intertwined with the future of technology. Prediction? Naah.
*David Pogue, The Future Is for Fools, Scientific American, February 2012 issue.
**Archibald Putt, PUTT’S LAW AND THE SUCCESSFUL TECHNOCRAT.