Technology As A Tool of Empowerment

There are so many uses for technology these days.  I remember many discussions earlier in my career about how we should “not use technology for technology sake alone.”  Now, technology can be used for so many more things that it could in the past by anyone.  And those tools are put into more people’s hands than ever before.  The technology divide as once professed as a big concern is evaporating.  Applications allow for specialized tools that before were only available in big expensive packages.

Harnessing the opportunities to get more tools into more peoples’ hands is a powerful way to embolden individuals that may have felt under served or under appreciated.  How do we do that?  Silicon Valley seems to be doing a great job of churning out apps and ideas and companies around social media, pictures, video and the like.  I think there are areas they are missing in the mobile market that can serve people without computers, without a car, but empowered by having a mobile phone or a smart phone.

The combination of cloud technology and mobile applications gives us a chance to put intelligence in the palm of our hands like never before.  We are only just at the beginning of how we are going to utilize that capability.  Some amazing trends are emerging in health IT, research collaboration and aggregation of information.  Twitter’s purchase of Summify could provide some huge changes that we will see in the coming year just to mention one.

“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” Thomas Jefferson.  I think this says it very clearly.  How would our founding fathers’ feel if they saw the access to information that we have today?  Access to information is allowing countries to be remade directly by their citizens all over the world.  It can be scary in that we do not have control of how it will turn out like in Egypt and there is always concern over the quality of the information. Certainly the information needs to be filtered and viewed in light of the source, but our ability to research and make informed decisions are quite amazing.

I believe we are in the beginning of a new phase of technology development where news and information will be delivered to us through increasingly more intelligent algorithms.  The way the news is shared and used will define how our society evolves. Our children are now given devices with amazing access from a very early age and progressive schools are using this to train their minds to gather and process more information than we ever had easy access to use.  I applaud Steve Jobs attention to redefining education and textbooks.  We will see many other transformative initiatives by Apple and others in education in the next 6-18 months.

Empowering people through technology and specifically ease of access to information is a wonderful thing.  We will continue to see events in the US and all over the world take advantage of this empowerment and use it in ways we never imagined.  I, for one, am very much looking forward to it.

kirbywinters

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