More, not better

I had a conversation today with somebody who questioned the value of technological advances in media. As we begin the transition from mass social media on phones to social media on wearables, she pointed out that this is not necessarily an improvement.

I countered that humans are not really in the business of becoming better over time. We are, rather, in the business of becoming “more”.

Our superpower of language allows us to create all sorts of new means of communicating with each other. None of these means of communication, be they written language, recorded audio, movies or internet, are making us better.

Instead, they are making us more powerful in our ability to communicate with one another. And that power, alas, does not with a free card that says “use only for good.”

With each new technological advance, we remain as complicated, messy and morally compromised as ever. But we become, undoubtedly, better and better at being complicated, messy and morally compromised.

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