In a world that is becoming more 0s and 1s more than letters on a page, we the engineers have more work to do.
I’m not sure if anybody would have predicted the technological boom that has exponentially accelerated over the past 15 years. Mankind has evolved from dial tones and tube TVs into having the ability to share every second of every day with a handheld device that has more power than the computer that brought man to the moon. From printing out our driving directions before each trip to having a cloud determine the fastest route between two points in real time.
All this progress is the result of incredible individuals who chose to follow an idea, they chose to focus on a mere foggy vision and follow that vision down the winding path until they were able to hold their accomplishment in the palm of their hands. Achievements that have spanned countries, languages, and has blanketed any barrier that mankind has created.
With a mere tap of a finger, memories can be created, joy can be shared, and we can connect with people with whom we never would have the opportunity to connect with. A thought or a whisper of a hope can surge into a tidal wave fueled by caring people all around the world and completely change someone’s life.
However, there is a dark side to all of this. With the possibility to live each other up, we also have the opportunity to put down. Toxicity and deceit can seed itself in society and separate us. Platforms and applications that were created with the sole purpose to share, to create, to build up, may unfortunately push people to look down on others and worse yet look down on themselves.
We may forget that as it turns out we do not walk through our world digitally. Human beings, at least at this phase in our evolution, are still very much analog creatures. Our brains are not accustomed to the swarm of information we have on at the tip of each of our fingers. All the likes, hearts, images, messages, and comments that come to us via electromagnetic waves can pull our thoughts to places that aren’t us. We must remember who we are, and that this information does not define us, and should not necessarily dictate how we feel.
This is where we the engineers must be better. Every day as we develop the platforms that will serve as the foundation of tomorrow, we must have the human condition at the forefront of our minds. In the applications we develop, we must be more attentive to how to bring hope and joy into people’s lives and do our best to eliminate possibilities of corruption and deceit. We must push our applications to help people see that their lives are so much more than a collection of likes, but an opportunity to help people give the world a glimpse into how special and unique each and every one of our lives are.
I believe we the engineers have not just the opportunity, but the responsibility to help people people feel empowered and to help people feel more connected not just with other individuals and the world around them, but to who they are deep down inside. I believe our creations can go beyond the screen, and beyond the little thumbs up icons flashing before our eyes. I believe what we build can give people the hop in their step that fuels them for the rest of the day. I believe what we build can help people look up and see the vast possibilities on the edge of horizon, and give them the opportunity to follow those fuzzy visions that, who knows, may shape the future.
We the engineers, let’s build tomorrow…