#39 Albert Wenger – How can we create a world where technology benefits the many, not just the few?

In our CONVOCO! Podcast Corinne M. Flick speaks with Albert Wenger, German-American businessman and managing partner at Union Square Ventures, a New York City-based venture capital firm, about: 

How can we create a world where technology benefits the many, not just the few?

Here’s what he said:

The scarcity of capital is essentially over and has been replaced by the scarcity of attention. 

Knowledge is something that is made explicit, making things extrinsic to a particular action and moment in time… That is truly unique to humans, and it is both the source of our power and the source of our responsibility. 

There isn’t anything in computer technology that somehow automatically increases human freedom. Many people, myself included, were incredibly naïve early on, thinking that just because we have the web everything’s going to be decentralised. 

Psychological freedom is about recognising that our brain didn’t evolve in this environment of an infinity of cat pictures. Our brain evolved in an environment where, when you saw a cat, there was an actual cat […] We need to develop mindfulness practices to properly operate our brain in an environment that is information supersaturated. 

We need to be able to program large systems, as opposed to being programmed by them. We need to shift the power away from the current owners, who tightly control computation, back to individuals and to technology that we can use as individuals and as communities. That’s informational freedom and that requires regulatory change

We need to be able to rely on the law. And in order for us to be able to rely on the law, the law can’t change rapidly. That’s a feature and not a bug.

We really need to think hard about what the right mechanism for regulating speech on the internet is, because it is far easier to overreach than it is to underreach.

In many ways, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I believe that all the people who are pursuing a very strong pro-privacy agenda have very good intentions, but I believe that the ultimate consequences of the solutions they’re proposing will be terrible.

Previous #36 Sean Hagan – Why is it important to fight against corruption?


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