Technology has had a tremendous impact on Human life over the past few decades. From the way we communicate to the way we work, technology has revolutionized every aspect of our lives. Other key areas are for example education, healthcare, entertainment and transportation.
- The telephone first allowed us to communicate with people from all over the world instantly, but now thanks to technologies like email, social media, video conferencing and smartphones, the possibilities are almost infinite.
- Work became easier and more efficient. We now can work remotely from anywhere in the world, collaborate with colleagues in real-time and many of our tasks can be automated.
- In the same way education got revolutionized by making it more accessible and convenient. Students can now access online courses anytime and anywhere, collaborate with classmates in real-time and get instant feedback on their work.
- It transformed healthcare by making it more efficient and effective. Doctors can now use advanced imaging technologies to diagnose and treat diseases and patients can access medical information and resources online.
- It has revolutionized entertainment, making it more immersive and interactive. We can now watch movies and TV shows on-demand, play video games with people from all over the world, and experience virtual reality and augmented reality.
- Technology has also changed the way we travel, making it faster and more convenient. We can now book flights and hotels online, use ride-sharing services to get around, and use navigation apps to find our way.
While technology has had an undeniable positive functional impact on modern human life, it has also raised concerns. For example, some people worry that technology is making us more isolated and disconnected from each other, and that it is contributing to the decline of face-to-face communication. Others worry that technology is making us more dependent on machines and less self-sufficient. In any case it will likely continue to shape our world for years to come.
Impact of technology in the field of Justice and Human Rights
We cannot deny that modern technology has also had a significant impact on human rights in both positive and negative ways. On one hand, it has provided individuals with powerful tools to exercise and defend their rights, but on the other hand, it has also created new challenges and threats to these same rights.
Positive impact of technology on Justice and Human Rights:
- Access to information
Technology has made it easier for people to access information and knowledge about their rights. The internet has become a powerful tool for advocacy, with websites, social media, and other online platforms allowing activists to reach a wider audience;
Now it’s much easier to hold governments and organizations accountable for human rights abuses. The widespread use of smartphones with built-in cameras and video recorders has enabled ordinary citizens to document and report on human rights violations, exposing abuses that might otherwise go unnoticed.
It can also protect individuals at risk of Human Rights abuses. For example, activists and journalists in repressive countries can use encrypted messaging apps to communicate securely and avoid surveillance, while human rights organizations can use satellite imagery to monitor and document atrocities.
Technology can also a threat for Justice and Human Rights:
Technology has made it easier for governments and other entities to monitor and track individuals, raising concerns about privacy and freedom of expression. Governments can use facial recognition technology and other surveillance tools to identify and track individuals, potentially chilling free speech and assembly.
The proliferation of social media and other online platforms has also made it easier to spread disinformation and hate speech, which can fuel violence and undermine human rights. Social media algorithms can amplify extremist views and promote polarization, making it harder to have constructive debates and find common ground.
finally, technology can also perpetuate bias and discrimination, particularly in areas like artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic decision-making. Al systems can replicate and reinforce existing biases, leading to (increased) discrimination against marginalized groups.
We cannot but be concerned about what may happen with the European Digital Identity Project (EUDI)
- The European Digital Identity project EUDI wallet, of (a) digital identity for European citizens and residents will allow a solid authentication tool common throughout the EU.
- All documents and digital certificates relating to the individual will enter a European database, every aspect of the individual’s life will be digitally usable: from public services, banks, presentation of tax returns, university enrollment and therefore access to culture and training, car rental, access to tourism services, the health sector with e-health.
- Everything will be digitized and therefore traceable. Digitization is one of the fundamental objectives promoted at Davos through the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. This digitization will lead to an unavoidable control system.
- The green pass system, as was implemented, for example, in Italy, has performed a pilot function and the Covid pandemic has provided the necessary impetus to accelerate the transition to a digital world.
- In fact, with the interruption of most activities in all areas of social and economic life, all sectors have been digitized.
- Social control and surveillance capitalism could be the actual goals behind the cult of progress and of technology-driven comfortable and easy living. Everything is becoming available with a just click, even man himself.
We have already experienced the social and human annihilation of those who, if not in possession of the green pass digital card, were excluded and marginalized by society. This should make us reflect and remind us that according to Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to life, liberty and personal security.
In the Declaration of 1945 the natural rights of man were crystallized. Those rights which belong to him from birth.
No human law can scratch or erase them. For this reason in this historical moment where we are witnessing an unbridled race towards human engineering and the transition of humanity towards robotic technology, we must loudly claim the right of man to live “disconnected” or free from and not conditioned by any digital device.
The right of man to live without any electronic support; his right to be able to freely live human life as an autonomous being, not forced or conditioned to depend on any external mechanical technological support whatsoever in order to be able to operate in society.
We have gotten to the point of implanting chips under the skin to be able to make payments or to open the car and Elon Musk would like to create an interface between man and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) via a chip implanted in the brain. Clearly control over man could then really become total.
Technology vs. Humanity
The forthcoming clash warns us against the risk of not starting to think seriously about the risks of uncontrolled technological development without falling into the rhetoric of trans-humanists – those who, to simplify, dream of overcoming human beings through technologies.
We absolutely must not leave these decisions to “free markets,” venture capitalists, corporate technologists, or the most powerful military organizations in the world. The future of humanity should not be a generic paradigm of the industrial age based on profit and growth at all costs, or an obsolete technological imperative that could have done well in the eighties.
For Leonhard, the uncontrolled and very rapid acceleration of technological innovations that feed our narcissism and our tendency towards unlimited individual self-determination could lead to the denial of our own humanity. Artificial intelligence, deep learning, the Internet of things or even bodies, and genetic editing are already part of our reality and pose unavoidable questions about our future relationship with technology, between risks and opportunities.
Leonhard describes this incessant technological development with three words:
in fact the technological innovations have had in recent years is that of Moore’s Law and, more generally, of the exponential development of technology compared to the linear one typical of the human subject;
as great achievements such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of things and deep learning tend to intersect and contribute to mutual development;
in the sense that these technologies are able to develop themselves, like robots capable of reprogramming themselves.
According to Leonhard’s thinking which I fully share, we must create a Digital Ethics Council. We need to affirm a series of fundamental ethical values to preserve our humanity, claiming our inefficiency, irrationality, slowness against technological efficiency.
Leonard provides us with five points to found a digital ethics for the realization of a future Manifesto for a digital ethics manifesto, namely :
- The right to remain natural, i.e. fully biological
in particular, there must be the right to live unenhanced by technologies and, above all, to work without the obligation to install technological devices on our bodies (for example augmented reality visors).
- The right to be inefficient
if and where this defines our fundamental humanity – this way those who, to quote the Author’s example, would not like to see their health data entered into a general cloud would not be penalised.
- The right to disconnect
in order not to remain trapped in the so-called digital obesity understood as a technology bubble where we now live constantly bombarded by an overabundance of news, updates and information processed by algorithms, in which we live enclosed Considering the imminent wave of new technologies and digital engagement platforms, it is undoubtedly time to think about the importance of proper nutrition also in the digital environment.
- The right to remain anonymous
in defense of protected spaces where you don’t end up being identified and tracked by simply using an application or digital platform.
- The right to hire or involve people rather than machines
to prevent companies that recruit humans from being put at a disadvantage.
I think this is our current challenge: to bring the natural human being back to the center.
Technology must go back to being at the service of man and not man at the service of or enslaved by technology.
We claim the explicit protection of our natural right as freeborn Human Beings:
OUR RIGHT TO BE DISCONNECTED
- Shaping Europe’s digital future
- EU Digital Identity Wallet Consortium selected for large-scale pilot
- EU Digital Identity Wallet Consortium
- TECHNOLOGY vs. HUMANITY – Gerd Leonhard
- Technology and humanity, the next ten years
Gerd Leonhard’s talk at Dutch Future Society (2018)
- Tecnologia contro umanità: come ripensare l’uomo nel mondo post-umano