When researchers from Manchester University, UK, managed to isolate a super material erstwhile considered more theoretical, the stuff of mythology, called graphene in 2004, their work was hailed as one of the greatest technological breakthroughs of all time. When, in 2012, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna pioneered new gene-editing technology called CRISPR/cas9 their breakthrough was seen as one of the most important moments in the history of innovation. And yet, eight years later, when Alphabet subsidiary DeepMind’s AI engine AlphaFold was able to solve the problem of protein folding, the great and the good of the scientific community said that the company had achieved one of the most important advances in the history of science. There are other recent significant advances we don’t hear so much about which one day may be considered even more important. Optogenetics is an example or implanting a false memory from one animal to another using optogenetics and molecular biology.
The list goes on; technology is changing at a pace for which there is no precedent — if you are not convinced, consider the speed with which researchers developed vaccines for Covid-19. Some vaccines were designed within a day or so of the sequencing of the virus’s genome.
The impact of technology on the world of work, the economy, society and even upon the meaning of what it is to be human will be extraordinary.
There is no time for technology denialism — no time for arguments that dismiss the idea of rapid technology change. Such cynicism is well-meaning and the stuff of academic reasoning, but it is hugely dangerous because it distracts us from reality.
There is another point, 7.6 billion people reside on this planet — climate change is both real and potentially more dangerous than is generally supposed. A host of other dangers beset the world, from over-fishing, to plastic pollution, antibiotics losing effectiveness to rogue AI. The nuclear war threat is always present, but then a certain Vladimir Putin says that gene editing is more dangerous than the nuclear bomb.
We need technology; without it, we have no way of meeting the needs of the soon to be eight billion people while simultaneously combating the dangers that bestride the globe.
Any form of Luddite philosophy won’t do — that way lies failure to meet these incredibly important challenges.
We call upon everyone to join the debate — an informed debate, designed to release the wisdom of crowds and apply it to these vexing issues in ways that politicians have been unable to achieve.
But the debate must be informed — it must rise above political bias and allegiances, these issues are as important as you can imagine, petty political one-upmanship, and the hatred and intolerance that has infected the political discourse must be quelled. We need an objective debate.
And that is why Techopia exists. The word is a play on technology, utopia and dystopia. We believe that the wonderful advances that we are seeing in technology could finally give humanity the lifestyle we have strived for since we learned how to make fire, but could condemn us to misery, subject to authoritarian rule, or perhaps lead to our extinction.
To drill down into the practicalities of our mission, our raison d'etre is to produce outstanding, jargon-free content, including videos, podcasts, events and feature artilces, aimed at the curious layperson, covering these topics.
To help us achieve this end, we need partners — partners who can work with us to advance the debate.
Techopia’s objective is to create an informed debate on the key opportunities and challenges created by technology.
Achieving this end is expensive — employing high-quality journalists, running events and communicating these incredibly important but complex issues to as wide an audience as possible requires expertise, time and reach.
Topics we will focus on include:
Technology for good
Ethical use of data
Responsible use of AI
ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing
Fintech as it relates to the Techopia mission
Echo chambers and bias
Automation and jobs
Technology and empathy
The economics of technological change and whether or not we need policies such as universal basic income
Our editorial expertise won’t only be applied to Techopia publications but can be made available to you.
If any of these areas interest you, contact us. We can work together.