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Simon Kiplangat Bett

Well said there. Digital technologies is expanding the human capacity and thinking. everyday, we become very innovative and embrace new technologies. But all these comes at an expense....disruption of social order

EMS Solutions

The bright side of technology it creates bridges between cultures and history. It creates a bond between families around the world.It also creates a world wherein technological advantage gives people a world chance to pro create the future.

5 Template Responsive

The dark side of technology that scares me, thanks to the author for bringing this to the dark side of technology, this time I will be more cautious

Fenia Petran


This is a great post.

It lays the basis for the around-the-corner revolution in business, enabled by technological disruption.

Once we acknowledge the dark side of the technology and we understand the reality of what is happening around us, we are ready to go forward and harness these technologies to turn challenges into successful opportunities.



One of the big takeaways for me (as someone who actually builds and invests in social technologies) is that the digital infrastructure is indeed quite flimsy... because value has been separated over time from networks of people.

Somewhat related, I wrote this through the lens of what money and value might mean in this new era of cryptocurrencies:



Good book, read it, Proofiness the Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception", it is all math models and you might want to look at my Algo duping page..lots of videos and be sure to watch the Quant documentary...they do the math models and shift around risk for profit as needed..gov needs to learn how to model. It is the Attack of the Killer Algorithms...


Banks and insurance companies are not much more than big software companies that control money and access while the flawed data keeps getting worse.



For further reading on this basic idea see, Technopoly by Neil Postman. There is a Faustian Bargain in every technology.

Amy Wohl

John, over at TMTS, Mark Stahlman and I have been focusing on this problem, writing scenarios, and ondering the real options.

We believe that until those who make and implement policy, both in the U.S. and globally, understand tis issue, we are vulnerable to what one of your readers called the "backlash."

We must have a plan for sharing work in different ways to employ more people. We need a social safety net because we may not be able to employ everyone. We need activities for the unemployed that are socially useful.

The money for this will have to come from somewhere. I would suggest taxes on excess profits, since many corporations and banks are rolling in money.

The future will be bleak unless we can take action and make changes soon.


I very much appreciate how the Shift Index measures the change itself. On a related note...

Do you (or anyone on this thread, really) have any ideas on how to measure the backlash / resistance to these monumental shifts?

It's something I've thought and blogged about...I think it's important to understand so that pressure can be released, so to speak, through targeted intervention so less catastrophic things happen due to technology's dark side.

Bill Seitz

Yes, this seems like a classic Economic Transition.

Maybe some combination of improved safety net (true healthcare reform might have been part of that) and constraining of the Finance sector could combine to channel thinking and effort in a productive progress.

Then again, maybe the only thing that saved us last time was the post-WW2 opening of foreign markets...

Rashmir Balasubramaniam

That is a bleak picture indeed. I am, and I expect you are, more optimistic about the future. Though it is very useful to have you call out the dark side so explicitly.

I'm looking forward to seeing your proposed pathway forward. And can't help but wonder if it includes aspects of 'evolve' and 'pull'.

Luis Alberola

A great and timely article John. I wonder if you've read Acceleration, by Hartmud Rosa ...

Looking forward to the path you'll propose in your next article.

In my own practice, we try to help our clients go towards institutional mastery of technology by:
- making social technologies take center stage in the digital enterprise; it's a way for employees to exist socially and this offers a way towards collective mastery of digital technology;
- based on these technologies, developing new professional practices (sharing, co-creating, searching, designing, ...), that are needed to take advantage of these technologies in new ways that are not solely focused on productivity; that's a dangerous path
- we work on responsibility development (by adressing the depth of context)

And it's all great work, but difficult to carry on past a certain level if leadership does not take ownership for the needed risk ...

Thanks again for your great article


Many thanks John pointing out the "dark side of technology". It is very much what I have encountered in many different fields of work, and life.

What is missing in our times seems to be a connect, and understanding across different cultures of speed & discipline.

What do I mean with that?

The technology geeks, programmers and people who have an entrepreneurial spirit will inevitably run ahead. Companies, and with them ordinary people (including the C-level, mid-level and workers) will stay behind, trying to make their companies work better, and keep up with the changes that are arising.

... and so we will see the patterns of the past again and again.

Only that disrupt can and might be more disruptive than is useful for an evolution of society of our globe.

in small places like the Middle East, Thailand, Greece we see what is happening with the fabric of society is broken apart.

What can be done?

Creating the "cultural islands" that Edgar Schein proposes where all the different groups can come together to build a shared understanding, and vision from which all of society can move along.

We have all the tools in our hands, only making the best use for the whole is not always easily seen, and done.


John, thank you for getting to the deeper cognitive biases - I believe each of them can be turned on its head by designing for human solutions that work for poor and rich alike.

Our team of women designers, data scientists and developers at EDDEFY are creating tools to help us navigate through the dark waters while helping us share insight:

1. You can see and share the big picture, both pitfalls and achievements (not magnifying our perception of risk and discounting our perception of reward)

2. You can plan for long term life goals (No shrinking our time horizons)

3. You can pursue a path with others that is uniquely your own, assembled from all times and places (Personalized and reflective but not reactive)

4. The experiential learning process can include others so that everyone can achieve their own win (no zero sum win/lose dichotomies)

5. Sharing insight builds trust between guides, peers, teachers and seekers (and as Rachel mentions, supports dynamic relationships and communities).

I am concerned with how data is being used as a weapon against people and I agree that the masculinized tech marketplace reduces people and their actions to numbers and metrics, dehumanizing the individual and our collective culture. As automation replaces more people with bots, we need new ways to value the contributions of the uniquely human spirit that celebrates and honors both creativity and discernment.

Change is coming quickly and we love lighting the way, navigating long term paths to progress that empower, not enslave the masses.

There will always be backlash, but I'd rather see that energy open the throttle and release the flow of information. I believe there's great potential to end slavery and create opportunities for everyone, but it will be bumpy and painful for those who abuse power. The transparent world makes the dark spots very easy to address, and this stress will likely mean we will see more frequent atrocities that are shorter in time but more lethal in concentration.

These are dark and dangerous times and we need to equip each other to be more human, not less. Be the light for each other. Share more. Resist the safety blanket of your devices and make eye contact with real people from all walks of life. You are the best technology you've ever created, so work it well!


beta or obsolete.. the binary of how digital media really works. its not what it wants... since it cant want anything...really.. but it is what SELLS technology gurus , toys and books as well as seminars;).

Rachel Happe

Am I in your head or vise versa?!? This is very much the premise of a lot of the speaking I do (see this keynote from E2.0 a couple of years ago: http://www.slideshare.net/rhappe/are-you-the-red-queen) - but I think trying to be the Red Queen is exactly the wrong approach. I think the links (relationships) between our weakest links (people) will increasingly be the differentiator in individual and institutional performance - hence why communities of all types are becoming really critical performance accelerators.

Thanks for the great post and for all that you share - such amazing discussions going on at the edges that you help me peek into.


And this is why the rejuvenation of needing meaning and purpose is so timely and critical.... in such a fast changing world, where the line between black/white/good/evil is finer and finer and the grey so much bigger we need to be grounded in the virtues - and applying them to every day life - the ballast we'll need. Which is also why a liberal arts education matters - a whole lot!

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