The unwritten law of the universe is that everything must have a gauge; an imposed yet useful limitation. Why? Because excesses result in one thing only: destruction.
Innovations have brought about industrialisation and commercial technology has improved human life. However, Henry Ford once said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
That is, the desire for innovation is often hinged on the insatiable desire to create the impossible. While challenging reality may seem great, it becomes bad when we lose focus of the goal of innovation. It becomes worse when innovations are constant without principles and realistic justifications.
One may ask: what is reality? Is reality not what we humans choose to accept, and illusion what we denounce? Non-realistic innovations may become realistic when accepted but without realistic justifications, they are mere excesses.
‘Realistic justifications’ is a term coined to refer to the cost of constant innovation on human lives and environment. It determines what innovation is necessary and that which is detrimental to mankind in the long run.
If an innovation does not improve on an existing reality, it may become excessive. If an innovation is made for the sake of achieving the impossible at the long-term cost of human lives, jobs, and the ecosystem, it is excessive.
It is excessive because it’s an unnecessary effort of creativity. It is unnecessary because it takes away more value from the human life than that which it adds.
Think, when humans began to desire a faster and easier weapon of war, what happened? Hiroshima and Nagasaki; two cities were wiped out by nuclear bombs. Worse weapons of war are being developed. Countries are competing to innovate deadlier weapons. All at the cost of the extinction of the human race.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a great innovation as long as it adds to human intelligence instead of replacing it. Although we are using artificial intelligence to improve every aspect of our lives, there are checks that must be set in place. If we do not check our insatiable interest in AI, the time will come when the need for human intelligence will be discarded.
Another important innovation is virtual reality. Virtual reality is being put to use in almost everything. In today’s business world, business owners are exploring how to use virtual reality to create better individualistic experiences for customers. While it is exciting to discover more uses for virtual reality, we must check ourselves. The craze for virtual reality may also get us to the point where more people will focus on virtual reality and abandon common reality. Slowly but steadily, we will turn to virtual reality to constantly escape our present reality and world. The effect of excesses in AI and virtual reality would be chaos in our society.
How? Humans would have more logic and intelligence at their disposal and less or no emotional intelligence. Also, we may no longer be able to separate illusion from reality and this will negatively affect our perceptions and actions.
Definitely, every innovation has its pros and cons. It would be unrealistic to insist on an innovation that has no side effects. However, we must insist that these innovations be built on realistic justifications or are checked by them.
Realistic justifications are not intended as limitations to innovations. They are like the speed meters of vehicles. They don’t stop you from going as far as you want but they indicate how far you are going and what could happen when you disregard caution. And what happens when you choose to ignore the speed meter in your car? You could end up injuring or killing yourself and others.
We must understand that science ought to walk hand in hand with the natural. Innovations and realistic justifications must act as checks and balances to the other. If the innovations we desire makes our human abilities and humanity worthless, we must not desire it.
We must remember that constant innovations without principles and foresight could make us a species that evolves itself out of existence. Faster horses are great. However, if we keep demanding faster horses all the time, the time would come when we would forget how to use our own legs.