Christian Long

Bill Joy: Muses on What’s Next

In TED Talks on May 10, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Reflection by CAROLINE M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Bill Joy:  Muses on What’s Next

I found Bill Joy’s outlook on what he’s worried about and what he’s excited about rather interesting, however there was a lack of focus on certain issues. I would have liked to hear more about one subject rather than a little bit of each one. The introduction of his talk was about death rates and how clean water is more beneficial than antibiotics, and I would have enjoyed hearing more on decreasing those rates. It all felt a little all over the place. Nevertheless, I was still intrigued by what Joy had to say.

One of the main topics was the threat of a pandemic, and how we wouldn’t be prepared for it if one sprung upon us. This is something to actually be worried about due to the fact that with advanced technology people can actually create viruses. For example, as mentioned, the 1918 flu virus was said to be “too dangerous” to FedEx so instead you were allowed to recreate it to do research. The thought that someone was allowed to create a virus is troublesome. If someone wanted to quickly create havoc they could by regenerating a virus with no antidote. Scientists couldn’t keep up with the spreading pandemic, we’d be in major chaos. Almost like the recent scare of the Swine Flu, except a lot worse. Our lack of preparation and possible misuse of technology could cost us. It would be far more enterprising to use all of our technology in the most efficient ways feasible.

What Joy was excited about also originated from technology. The continual and steady advance in technology, or Moore’s Law, can open up numerous opportunities as far as education. Many schools and dedicated teachers are currently researching how to improve the technology for their students. With all of the electronic discoveries booming in this era we are bound to find something spectacular to take learning to a whole new level. As a high school student I love being introduced to newer and innovated technology. The fact that there’s so much software at our access is in fact exciting. Next, Joy discussed the “improvements in energy and resource efficiency”, a specific example being nanotechnology. Their are properties and nanotubes that can help the environment and make it just a little more green.

Basically, what it comes down to, is the correct use of technology at hand and not the overuse. If we are given to much power by software allowing us to destroy the world with a push of a button then that’s not alright. It’s necessary to have some sort of checks and balances on who is qualified to have access to certain technology and how much. All that Joy had to say was completely relevant and important. Power through technology should be monitored and given to the “good guys”. Certain people will use these progresses to the advantage of education, the environment, and the benefit of the populations health. But if in the wrong hands these advances intended to favor humanity could eventually destroy it.


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