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Elvin Guri innovation Explorer 2019


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Science: the new religion

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Elvin Guri innovation Explorer 2019

  1. 1. Science: The New Religion Innovation Explorer 2019
  2. 2. What if we all live in the matrix? (or why “Humankind cannot bear very much reality” – T.S. Eliot)
  3. 3. Making the World a Better Place through Technology • Further democratizing business and institutions • Connecting people • Improve health, even cure death • Save the environment • Make the world safer for everyone • Reduce inequality
  4. 4. LawofAcceleratingReturns RayKurzweil
  5. 5. The promise of Technology 
 (according to believers) Technology shall make humans and society smarter, better, richer, longer-living, and ultimately happier; it will eliminate disease, hunger, war, and generally every other plague to humanity.
  6. 6. Is this just an empty promise?
 After all, we’ve been here before... (end of 19th century, but more generally…)
  7. 7. 
 who/what else makes this kind of promise?
  8. 8. Versions of the same promise Judeo-Christian religions Communism/ Fascism Science/ technology Change the world for the better √ √ √ Improve life/Cure death √ √ √ Save the environment √ √ √ Universal peace √ √ √ Reduce inequality √ √ √
  9. 9. Are we replacing one religion with another?
  10. 10. The promise under fire • Twitter and the Arab Summer • WhatsApp/Facebook and fake news • Data privacy and their use for nefarious purposes • 3D printing, now used to create weapons • Google Earth, used for terrorist attacks (Mumbai 2008) • Amplification of social vices
  11. 11. Maybe Techno-Religion is the ONE •After all, who can deny human progress? •Stephen Pinker, Hans Rosling •Kurzweil’s proposed law
  12. 12. Human Progress Progress Time 1800 1850 1900 1950 2000 2050 2100
  13. 13. Two Problems with this paradigm Problem 1: Definition of Progress: Knowledge/ Prosperity vs. Ethics Problem 2: View of Time: history develops in cycles of alternating order and chaos.
  14. 14. Technology is simply a tool in human hands • Elif Shafak and 40 Rules of Love • Technology and science progress in a cumulative manner, but human nature does not. • Science and technology on their own cannot bring about any kind of drastic change in society. Only people can do that.
  15. 15. But it is much more powerful… • The existence of religions is evidence that humans are “hackable animals” (Yuval Harari) • The traditional religions or ideologies like fascism and communism take a very heavy-handed approach to hacking people. • Techno-religion promises tailor-made solutions to hacking humans by targeting the message down to the individual.
  16. 16. While on the Ethics front… • “if there is anything unique about the human animal it is that it has the ability to grow knowledge at an accelerating rate while being chronically incapable of learning from experience. Science and technology are cumulative, whereas ethics and politics deal with recurring dilemmas” – John Gray, philosopher • Faith in the better future? NOT – progress is a myth; conflict and violence are an inherent part of human society; civilizations collapse, usually violently; world peace not possible.
  17. 17. Human Progress – the Ethics paradigm 
 (or Star Wars vs. Star Trek) PROGRESS TIME 1750 1800 1850 1900 1950 2000 2050 2100
  18. 18. Time defined by Cycles of Violence • The ancient view of history and time: growth and fall of civilizations • Main culprit? Human Nature (as we found out earlier) • Aristotel’s view of history • Walter Scheidel’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War, Natural Disaster, Famine, and Plague.
  19. 19. Conclusion • We do live in a matrix of our own doing - there’s a Neo in every cycle not as a bug, but as a feature of the system. • I would like to hope that there is a self-improving, evolutionary mechanism that allows us to register tiny, micro steps towards a better, more virtuous life for each of us and for humanity as a whole. • “The work of reducing local conflicts inspires us with the confidence that one day it will also be possible to solve global conflicts. A foolish hope, but sometimes you have to lie by example… making people believe that a particular proposition may be transformed into a universal proposition.” Umberto Ecco, “Some Reflections on War and Peace”
  20. 20. Human Progress – updated Ethics paradigm PROGRESS TIME 1750 1800 1850 1900 1950 2000 2050 2100
  21. 21. Thank you for the attention! Elvin Guri