This post is by Om Malik from On my Om
A few weeks ago, my good friend Howard Lindzon (blogger, investor, and maverick) invited me to be on his Panic with Friends 1 podcast. Howard is a skillful interviewer and as always have to watch out for his trick questions. However, we are old pals, so we laughed a lot, and I josh with him a little. We ended up talking about the old times, the present times and what the future might look like after this pandemic/panic is over.
We ended up talking about technology’s loss of innocence, when it happened and why. My argument is that from the early days of the Internet to today, everything is twenty times bigger, and technology touches everything, and this pandemic is showing us that reality.
If anything there’s panic is making us understand how pervasive technology companies really are, I told Howard. Whether it is the broadband connections, our iPhones, Netflix, YouTube, DoorDash, Amazon, Zoom, Google, Microsoft, Slack — we are dealing with the pandemic with technology on one end, and medical equipment that is so basic on the other. Just as the 2008 financial meltdown turned big banks into behemoths, the pandemic is increasing the grip of technology on us, and technology companies are going to come out bigger on the other end.
My prediction is that the current lockdown and isolation is just a beta-test for what is to come. While we are worried about the pandemic, in reality, we should be preparing for a reality that comes from extreme weather and rapid climate change. Inhuman temperatures, crazy windstorms, rising sea levels — life as we have known it isn’t going to be the same. Life will have to exist with those extremes, but the question is, how is it going to happen? What is the moral responsibility of the technology companies and their leaders?
If we are smart, we should listen to the lessons we are being taught at present. Needless to say, I enjoyed this conversation, and I hope you get a few minutes to check it out.