Can technology solve our problems?

Question: Can technology solve our problems

Vest: Absolutely not. These are complex issues that have technical components, technological components, scientific components to their solution. But none of these things happen if we don’t have the understanding through society what needs to be done; if we don’t have the political and national will to take the steps that we have to take; if we don’t innovate in the way in which we organize work as well as organize science and technology. It all has to work together. And I’d like to believe that despite the fact that we look at these things, and look at globalization as daunting problems, they’re really terrific opportunities. And at this point in time no nation on the face of the globe has a better hand to play than the United States. Because we are still the best, particularly at the cutting edge of science and technology. We’re dramatically challenged by other countries as we should be, but we’re still the best. And unlike much of the world, we build what we do on these remarkable substrates of a diverse population, and of democracy, and an open market system. I believe we’ve got the best possibilities in the world of helping to resolve these problems, and providing leadership, and having prosperity in the future. But we can’t do it if we don’t have the core science and technology; if we don’t have young men and women – whether they’re going to be scientists or engineers or not – if we don’t have young men and women who have some technological literacy, some quantitative skills, some understanding of the world at large, then we’re gonna be in trouble. But the basic answer to your question is technology alone can never solve these large scale problems. On the other hand we can’t solve them without them. Recorded on: 12/5/07

 

Absolutely not, says Vest.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Trauma in childhood leads to empathy in adulthood

It's not just a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Mind & Brain

  • A new study suggests children who endure trauma grow up to be adults with more empathy than others.
  • The effect is not universal, however. Only one kind of empathy was greatly effected.
  • The study may lead to further investigations into how people cope with trauma and lead to new ways to help victims bounce back.
Keep reading Show less

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

(MPH Photos/giphy/yShutterstock/Big Think)
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Keep reading Show less