Steve Newberry on the major movements, social impact, and the impact of technology of Silicon Valley
In Episode 13 Steve discusses some of the things that have stood out and happened in Silicon Valley over the last few decades from a technology standpoint, from a social standpoint, and some thoughts going forward as it is changing the world as we know it.
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One of the things that stands out to me and there’s a whole bunch, it’s really the impact that social media has had on society and obviously that’s been enabled by smartphones and laptops and other mobile iPad type devices. I remember 40 years ago we were talking about the communications age when the internet had just first come out. Today it’s totally ubiquitous and everybody’s in constant communication or has the opportunity to constantly communicate.
I think that’s both good and bad. I think sometimes we need to separate ourselves from all the information that’s on these mobile devices. I think from a standpoint of really impacting society, the semiconductor industry in terms of miniaturization that occurred over the last 50- 60 years has enabled tremendous computing power to be sitting in the palm of your hand. And so, I think that’s just dramatically changed people’s lives for most of us in positive ways. I think if I were to pick this kind of one thing that’s affected society, I would say the mobile communications social media and the impact that’s had in terms of just constant real time communication.
Technology and How we Engage with It
It’s interesting because generationally, our generation was at the forefront of bringing the technology that enabled this. But when I would interact with my parents, they didn’t want anything to do with this level of technology and automation. My mother continued to use snail mail and manual typewriters and all that kind of stuff, and I could never get her up on a computer. It was one of those things where I think that generation was locked into what they were doing, and our generation has been in both worlds.
I think we have a lot of versatility and the younger generations have been born with technology in their hands. My two little granddaughters are being exposed to it all the time. So, the challenge for parents is, how do you make that a positive experience and make it value-added to enhance their life and try to keep some of the other aspects that I think technology creates from really creating any problems in your life.
Machine Learning and AI
I think there’s unbelievable potential in terms of what AI can bring to us as individuals, to many industries, whether it be pharma, biotech activities, big data types of analysis. I think AI is going to change the world. I think robotics embedded with AI is going to be something that within the next five years is going to be available at a cost point that many people will participate with.
But like with any technology, it can be utilized in ways that are potentially negative, and we’re going to have to have to guard for that. But I think we’re not going to stop technology progressing. There’s no going back. And so, I think that the challenge is how to help people understand how to take advantage of technologies like AI and how it can enhance their life.
Hopefully, from a medical standpoint, it enhances the longevity, but more importantly, the quality of the longevity. So that if you’re living in your quality of your life is extremely high. I look at AI. And its potential to contribute to quality of life, and human longevity is one of the great opportunities to apply it. I’m really looking forward to seeing how that develops over time.