A cautious approach to tech innovation

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Kentaro Toyama, U-M’s W. K. Kellogg professor of community information, writes in a recent article that society is rushing toward technological innovation without thinking about its consequences or societal impacts. He says many new technologies fail to provide meaningful improvements, simply “coddling people with consumer comforts and echo chambers.”

Toyama suggests giving “skeptical forces” more power, considering bans, requiring moratoriums, and thus, slowing the pace of technological advancement. This would, he says, give society time to think about costs and benefits of new technologies.

“There are many reasons to continue to build new technologies – to remain globally competitive, to advance human knowledge and to prepare for potential future crises,” Toyama writes. “Technology has its benefits. But slowing the pace of its advance would give society more time to think through the consequences and debate which aspects of new technologies are desirable, and which should be outlawed.”