Superpowers such as telekinesis, mind reading and mind control have long been portrayed as merely a matter of science fiction. While advances in technology and neurology have led to some brain-controlled prosthetics that users can operate seamlessly with their minds, these inventions have largely been limited to the research setting.
The examination of this trajectory must begin on an individual level by thinking harder. To think harder is to recognize that no human exists entirely independent of the world around them. We constantly absorb the world around us through observation, through the storage of memories and through interactions with others.
Leanpath, a technological system that aims to minimize food waste, is currently being used at every dining hall at the University of Connecticut Storrs campus. The system works by weighing how much food is being thrown out and entering the reasons why. These reasons can range from overproduction to quality to the fact that they were simply leftovers on the line that can’t be reused. A snapshot is taken every time an entry is made and can be seen in the system at any time.
Per your orders, your alarm clock blares at 7 a.m. You hit the snooze button to sneak in some extra rest, a decision which becomes a catalyst for early-morning chaos when you doze past your next alarm and must prepare hurriedly before class or work begins. You press your electric toothbrush against each of your pearly whites, but somehow the bristles’ rotations fail to remove that especially stubborn particle of food wedged in between your two front knockers, just in time for an important photoshoot. “Disruptive innovation,” a phrase which Harvard University business professor Clay Christensen coined, casts light on the fact that certain technological advancements may have some unintended side effects (and under more severe circumstances than those I’ve described above, the consequences can be particularly dire). Despite such downsides, however, technological innovation still benefits us more than it harms us.
While advancements in technology have improved our society by creating a network with which to link our globe, the new world that is quite literally at our fingertips is not without its shortcomings. Time spent on the internet behind the safety of our keyboards and tiny screens has led to underdeveloped social skills and a reduction of human interaction.