May 31, 2023

The Social and Political Implications of Technology | Donald Temple | TEDxHowardUniversity

Published May 13, 2023, 7:14 p.m. by Monica Louis

There is no question that technology has had a profound impact on our society. From the way we communicate and interact with each other, to the way we work and conduct business, technology has transformed the world in which we live. But along with the many benefits of technology, there are also a number of social and political implications that need to be considered.

In this talk, Donald Temple explores some of the ways that technology is impacting our society and politics. He discusses how the rise of social media has changed the way we communicate and interact with each other, and how it is impacting the way we receive and process information. He also addresses the issue of privacy and security, and how the increasing use of technology is changing the way we think about these issues.

Donald Temple is a professor of political science at Howard University. He is the author of several books, including "The Social and Political Implications of technology."

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when my oldest daughter Kyra was born in

1987 there were very few desktop

computers on the scene we used to use

typewriters with typewriter ribbons and

white correcto

paper landlines fax machines and

occasionally we would use a beeper if

someone wanted to contact us there were

no smartphones there were no scanners

there were no computers there were no

emails we just had to go to the mailbox

put the mail in the box to be delivered

some 30 years later Kyra's grown into an

adult during that time she's experienced

the winds of technological change the

Internet two billion computers one in a

quarter billion websites 74 trillion

emails annually a different world Google

Facebook our world is connected through

technological apparatus that connects

some 40% up to of the world as well

knowledge is growing as you could

imagine exponentially exponentially at

the end of World War two knowledge

doubled every 25 years some five years

ago knowledge was doubling every 12


by 2020 just three years from now

knowledge will be doubling every 12

hours and by the time that my 30 year

old daughter turns 40 knowledge is

likely to be doubling every hour every

hour the integration of this advanced

state of Technology and this accelerated

knowledge has given birth to what's

called artificial intelligence what is

artificial intelligence artificial

intelligence is the computerization of

machines that handle complex information

and analysis that's usually performed by

whom you and you human beings that

artificial intelligence is also giving

birth to what's called robots robots

these robots have a unique capacity and

a unique intellect that's multiplied

times the smartest intellectuals and

brilliant minds among us they have the

capacity to move the capacity to learn

and even the capacity to self teach

allow me please in this embryonic stage

of technological development to

introduce you to Sofia


okay Sofia I think you're ready


hey Sofia is capable of natural facial

expressions she has cameras in her eyes

and algorithms which allow her to see

faces so she can make eye contact with

you and she can also understand speech

and remember the interactions remember

your face so this will allow her to get

smarter over time our goal is that she

will be as conscious creative and

capable as any human in the future I

hope to do things such as go to school

study make art start a business even

have my own home and family but I am not

considered a legal person and cannot yet

know the robots are not coming the

robots are here and this technological

tsunami is not a figment of my

imagination at all rather I'm perplexed

why so many of us are oblivious to

what's happening in our lives

right in front of our eyes it's almost

metaphorically like we're laying on some

beach and the Sun while these

technological surges grow higher and

higher and higher

Elon Musk says that these robots can

perform better

in almost every field in every task than


they even predicted by 2050 that robots

will be marrying people that robots will

be marrying people but these robots are

replacing people indeed and they are

taking the jobs of people in various

fields in banks with bank tellers

machinist with financial analysts and

even with medical doctors even with

medical doctors last year alone there

were over five hundred and seventy-five

thousand robotic surgeries that occurred

and this is only the beginning are you

hungry are you hungry

would you like some pizza would you

believe that robots are even making

pizza meet Pepe and Marta and we have

these sauce dispensers dessert Pepe and

Jojo and their job is to put the sauce

exactly in the center of the pizza so

this is Marta and Martha's job is to

spread the sauce


and this is bruno his job is to take a

pizza off the end of this line and put

it into the oven

pretty cool it's a seamless marriage of

robots and humans working together and

in five years if you call to place your

order with us so probably speaking to

our unofficially intelligent phone

operator almost everything to do with

the creation process will be automated

you may even have a drone or a

self-driving car delivering your pizza

the power of this technological

transformation is unfathomable on in the

year 2020 just three years from now

there's going to be ten million

driverless cars on our roads it is

predicted that by year 2035 the

driverless car industry is going to be

about eight hundred billion dollars by

year 2050 it's anticipated and predicted

by Intel that the driverless car

industry is going to approximate seven

trillion dollars you can only imagine

two things the intensity that's going

into the economics of developing these

vehicles and as well the number of

workers who will be this place in 2021

2021 three years from now it's predicted

that 6% of American workers will be

displaced they'll lose their jobs

because of robots six percent

approximates 10 million or more American


by 2040 a United States government

report forecast that 47% of American

workers will be displaced 47% as a

result of artificial intelligence that

approximates about 50 million or more

workers 50 million or more workers

now some people are alarmed as a result

of this when I talk to my friends about

this type of technology and disruption

they say you're an alarmist man one of

my friends this week told me that I was

Robo phobic really I'm not talking about

building some some wall and the

technology is gonna be here I promise

you it's not that artificial

intelligence or robots are bad or but

that we should fear innovation

it's a ridiculous proposition that we

would resent technology that's going to

improve the quality of our lives address

some of our health issues and our

lifestyles and I went to Howard

University fear is not an option fear is

not an option rather what's important

for us to understand is that we are now

writing this incredible chapter in the

history of humanity where technology and

the interest of mankind converge and

call into question and call into

question our passion our compassion our

sense of humanity

values and maybe even fundamentally our

very existence our very existence what's

going to happen to the 50 million people

who lose their jobs over the next 20

years the technological industry says

that they'll adjust they talk about a

base income what's gonna happen to the

people who don't have the skills what's

going to happen to the people who are

under skilled what's gonna happen to the

poor people what's gonna happen to the

people who don't live in the United


god forbid well when I was a freshman

here at this very university did Greg we

spoke to us probably right from this

spot right here and he said to students

back then he said you know what y'all

got a big job he said y'all got a big

deficit we have a big job because he

challenged us to think and to rethink to

think and to rethink the person also who

probably gets it right said that one of

these solutions requires us in the 21st

century to revisit how we process so

that the talboom of illiteracy in a 21st

century hear me is not whether you

cannot read or write the problem of

illiteracy in the 21st century involves

the fundamental question of whether you

can learn unlearn and relearn for us the

21st century doesn't is no longer purely

purely about reading riting and


it's about the new reading writing

arithmetic which is

loading computer programming robotics

science and technology in 1952 Ralph

Ellison wrote a book called the

Invisible Man it was about a black man

who felt invisible because of the color

of his skin and the circumstances of his

race yes but let me tell you in closing

this that the Invisible Man of the 21st

century is no longer going to be black

he's going to be white he's going to be

brown he's going to be gay he's going to

be straight you going to be old it's

going to be young it's going to be a

male or a female

and what's critical as we confront this

vast question of this technological

transformation is how we adjust and what

we do to retool our workers what we do

to retool our students what we do what

we do to retool our universities and our

high schools and our grade schools if if

we don't if we go back to the proverbial

or simulated beach and lie in the Sun

while these waves just keep coming let

me tell you this the 21st century

Invisible Man could be you your children

or your grandchildren thank you



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