VMware chief executive officer Pat Gelsinger and MuleSoft founder Ross Mason respectively debated the pros and cons of technology being available and accessible to all.
Gelsinger, arguing for mass technology, said there is much reason for optimism, as technology has tackled the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” as we clean up industrial waste and move into the digital economy. “We need to make sure tech is a rising tide to rise all boats,” he added.
However, Mason felt that not everyone will benefit as we are not good at dispersing tech evenly across the globe. “Today, no one can argue that our environments and worlds have been touched by tech in amazing ways,” he said, “but we are also starting to see fractures, making us re-evaluate whether we are really moving in the right direction.”
With leading futurists like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk lobbying the EU to take more precautions, whether this opinion is tech rhetoric extremism is up for debate.
Gelsinger felt there was no basis for the scepticism, with less people living in poverty now than ever before: “People told the Wright brothers that flight was for the birds”.
Mason argued that AI and robotics is a Pandora’s Box, with scifi like Terminator feeling much closer to us than we realise, if proper controls aren’t put in place “Technology is a force but it’s a force we don’t understand,” he said, continuing that, while technology is neutral, it can be used for good or bad.
Gelsinger countered that it is our job to shape technology for the good of all humans on the planet.