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From Gutenberg to AI: A Historical Analysis of Humanity’s Opposition to New Technologies


From Gutenberg to AI
From Gutenberg to AI

In a recent turn of events, acclaimed filmmaker Tyler Perry decided against expanding his $800 million studio in Atlanta, a decision influenced by the release of OpenAI’s text-to-video tool, Sora. Perry’s choice underscores his belief in where the recent advancements of AI is headed. However, some of the public’s reaction to his decision highlights a recurring theme in human history: resistance to new technologies. From the printing press to artificial intelligence (AI), skepticism and opposition towards technological advancements have been a consistent part of our collective consciousness.


Historically, the resistance to new technologies often stems from a fear of losing our humanity. This sentiment dates back to the 16th century when the printing press faced opposition from those who feared it would undermine their authority. Today, we see similar fears echoed in the debate over AI. While some warn of AI’s potential dangers, others downplay these concerns, highlighting the ongoing tension between embracing progress and safeguarding human values.


The resistance to new technologies is not solely rooted in fear but also in perceptions of inequity. When innovations are seen as benefiting only a privileged few while imposing risks on the majority, public opposition intensifies. Similarly, short-term risks versus long-term benefits often fuel skepticism, as seen in debates over climate change solutions like solar and wind energy.


Yet, history also teaches us that innovation can be a force for good when aligned with societal needs and values. The evolution of cellphones, once dismissed as toys for the wealthy, demonstrates how technology can empower communities and drive social change. In Africa, mobile phones have revolutionized banking and education, showcasing the transformative potential of inclusive innovation.


Moving forward, bridging the gap between technological advancement and societal well-being requires a reimagining of entrepreneurship as a force for social good. By prioritizing the common good over corporate interests, enterprises can help mitigate the adverse effects of new technologies while maximizing their benefits for all.


In essence, the history of humanity’s rejection of technology serves as a cautionary tale and a source of inspiration. It reminds us of the importance of balancing progress with ethics, of embracing innovation while safeguarding our humanity. As we navigate the complexities of AI and other emerging technologies, let us learn from the past to shape a future that reflects our highest aspirations. Despite the initial resistance, technological advancement has always found its way to succeed, and it’s likely to continue doing so.


 

If you or your organization would like to explore how AI can enhance productivity, please visit my website at DavidBorish.com. You can also schedule a free 15-minute call by clicking here

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