A reading club with a view to the future

077 Gerd Leonhard: Technology vs Humanity

Humanity’s biggest challenges will be to create a sustainable and ethical future for humans and technology to coexist.

Gerd Leonhard: Technology vs Humanity


Gerd Leonhard provides a thoughtful analysis of how emerging technologies will impact humanity and explores the ethical and moral dilemmas that will arise from this transformation. He argues that humans need to re-evaluate their relationship with technology to create a sustainable and equitable future.


Title: Technology vs Humanity

Author: Gerd Leonhard

Publishing year: 2021

Publisher: Fast Future Publishing

Length in hours: 6 hours and 4 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. We need to develop a new mindset that prioritizes humanity and ethical considerations over technological progress.
  2. We must rethink the relationship between technology and work to avoid mass unemployment and inequality.
  3. Our approach to data privacy and ownership needs to be re-evaluated in light of the emerging data economy.
  4. Education must shift from teaching knowledge to nurturing creativity and problem-solving skills.
  5. We need to find ways to balance technological progress with environmental sustainability.
Gerd Leonhard: Technology vs Humanity

5 funny quotes

  1. "The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed yet." (William Gibson)
  2. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." (Arthur C. Clarke)
  3. "I know there’s a proverb which that says 'To err is human,' but a human error is nothing to what a computer can do if it tries." (Agatha Christie)
  4. "If you think technology can solve your problems, you don’t understand technology and you don’t understand your problems." (Bruce Schneier)
  5. "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." (Alan Kay)

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "We must teach our children to dream big but also to dream well – to be mindful of the consequences of their actions and to consider the perspectives of others."
  2. "Humanity will change more in the next 20 years than in the previous 300 years."
  3. "Data is not the new oil – it’s the new plutonium: incredibly powerful but also incredibly dangerous."
  4. "In a world where everything that can be digitized will be digitized, there is little point in trying to compete with machines."
  5. "The future is something to be created, not predicted."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing the potential benefits of data collection with the need for privacy and data protection.
  2. Deciding which tasks should be delegated to machines versus humans in the workplace.
  3. Ensuring that technological advancements do not exacerbate inequality and the digital divide.
  4. Addressing the ethical implications of autonomous machines, including self-driving cars and drones.
  5. Finding a balance between innovation and regulation to ensure that new technologies are developed responsibly and with the best interests of society in mind.

5 examples

  1. The rise of social media and the effects it has had on our behavior, including addiction and online bullying (Example: Facebook).
  2. The growing use of artificial intelligence in decision-making, and the ethical implications of delegating these decisions to machines (Example: Amazon's AI-powered recruiting tool).
  3. The importance of finding a balance between technology and human touch in healthcare, including the use of virtual assistants and telemedicine (Example: Babylon Health).
  4. The rise of automation and its potential impact on employment and the workforce (Example: Tesla's use of robots in manufacturing).
  5. The need to address the digital divide and ensure that technology is accessible to all, including low-income and rural communities (Example: Google's Project Loon).

Referenced books

  1. "Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow" by Yuval Noah Harari
  2. "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains" by Nicholas Carr
  3. "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari
  4. "Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy" by Cathy O'Neil
  5. "The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future" by Kevin Kelly

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"The future is something to be created, not predicted."

Gerd Leonhard: Technology vs Humanity
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