Without a doubt, techno-optimism – a fierce belief that the world is improved by any technological advancement – is a very effective foundation if you want to get ambitious things done quickly. It has enabled a generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to reshape the face of civilization in fairly short order.
Its main peril, perhaps, is ethical myopia. While optimism may allow us to dream our imagination into being, only critical reflection can enable us to evaluate the meaning, value, and probable consequences of those dreams.
Jaron Lanier, virtual reality pioneer and author of You Are Not a Gadget argues that cutting-edge technologists aren't taking into account the human cost of their creations, nor building them upon economic models that will help to sustain the livelihoods of future humans. He'd like to see more of the billions of dollars Silicon Valley is generating creating jobs for the worldwide consumers of its "free" products and services.