A good analogy

Explaining my why and how to a variety of people has led me to refine the story over and over. I believe I have found a good analogy!

As a web interface developer my focus was on creating usable interfaces, ironing out any rough edges between the browser and the user.

I wanted to make the interaction between man and machine as smooth as can be. I wasn’t a particularly good programmer, but what made me an appreciated developer was my curiosity to find better ways, to learn new techniques, to try out and build upon new browser features. Oh, and knowledge sharing! I absolutely loved (and still do love) to share my excitement and insight about what I’ve learnt.

What’s different is the technology. The more I learnt about technologies and topics that are on the verge of transforming our world, such as gene editing, artificial intelligence, nano-bots, space colonization, health tech, the clearer it became that we need more people to be involved to make sure they develop for the benefit of all.

As an interface developer I’ve seen plenty of examples of interfaces developed by programmers with no consideration for actual user. The result of a bad web interface is a user who leaves the site. But what do we do when a badly designed AI makes healthcare decisions for you? When a space colony’s habitat doesn’t consider the our biorhythm?

Today I want to do what I did during my interface developer days, but scale it up. I want to widen the range of interactions I focus on from just web interfaces to technology in general.

Our lives will inevitably contain more and more technology with ever greater impact on us and the environment. As technology is inherently neither good nor bad, it is our use of it that determines that impact. As such we need ever more people with a wider range of skills and views to influence the path these technologies take, shaping our future. I firmly believe that we have what it takes to create an amazing future, but we will have to work hard to ensure this. This is where I want to contribute, sharing mindful optimism about the way ahead.

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