The role of Innovation in shaping our world
Recently, I have spent a good chunk of time thinking about the growth and transformation of social media and how it has affected our lives. It has permanently changed the ways businesses operate, how schools teach their students, how police conduct investigations, how talent is scouted and a myriad of other aspects across all areas of life. The rise of social media created new revenue streams, connected people that ordinarily would be out of reach and gave a broader voice to social and political issues. Now, whether those things are positives or negatives can certainly be debated. Widening the scope to innovation as a whole, the same balance of good and bad is present. There will be always be a darker side of the brilliance, but innovation is necessary to continuously maintain and improve our quality of life.
That being said, I certainly empathize with arguments leaning toward innovation creating more harm than good. Sticking with the example of social media, with its growth also came a growth of mental health issues, cyber bullying and scamming. It's a circular process as innovation is exactly what's needed to address those problems. At it's core, innovation solves problems and there will never be a shortage of them- ironically, that is partially due to innovation itself.
Teddy Ruxpin was an animatronic toy meant to bring fun to children's lives, yet I once used it as a weapon when I threw it at my brother during an argument as a kid. We cannot always control how things will be used, the ethical code of those who engage with things, or how other forces not yet known may affect things in the future. While Teddy Ruxpin is a silly physical example of misuse, innovation opens the door to more meaningful and impactful ways to misuse advancements.
I would rather manage risks as best as possible and continue to push new ways of thinking and operating instead of sacrificing potential greatness. There is a responsibility to take care of people and the world and we could stand to improve our approaches in many ways, but innovation is necessary now and forever.