Abundance: If Politicians Don’t Ruin It

by Larry Emmott on March 4, 2012

in Future Tech,Health Care Politics

A Glenn Reynolds column discussing the book Abundance, The Future is Better Than You Think (Linked below)

I believe that their technological optimism, though justified, also needs to be qualified… Science and technology are wonderful, but there’s nothing in this world that politicians can’t manage to screw up if they get their hands on it.

via The future will be better than we think if politicians don’t ruin it | Washington Examiner.

The column is pure politics with just a little technology but it hits on three themes that I believe are important and do have relevance to dentistry and technology.

  1. Despite dire predictions of imminent doom humankind in the future will be eminently better off than they are now or have been in the past. This has been true throughout history and will continue to be true in the future driven ever faster by developing technology.
  2. People and institutions who have power and success based on old ways of doing things will attempt to hold on to power by obstructing or controlling change. They often do this with government control and regulation that benefits the established and blocks the new disruptive challengers. When this happens a company’s success depends more on good lobbying than good research and development.
  3. New technology, most significantly digital information storage and exchange using “cloud” technology, has created many challenges that are not well addressed by traditional ethics and regulations. We do need to and are in the process of forming new ethics and eventually new regulations to address these changes. The danger is that established institutions will subvert the regulations to protect their interests rather than advance the general good. (See number two above.)

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