How technology has changed everything
by Sophie Heinz
Positive effects of technology
Few things have had such a lasting impact on our lives as the rapid technological development in the past decades. Every aspect of our private life, our work and society has undergone radical and profound change. Many new technologies bring us simplification and a significant increase in the quality of life. At the same time, they are increasingly receding into the background, appearing normal and self-evident to us. They form the basis for modern life in an all-encompassing way, they are always present and yet invisible.
Digital technologies have enabled society to make enormous leaps in development. The internet — and all the innovations associated with it — represents the most dramatic breakthrough. It allows us to communicate with one another across the globe, it’s a gigantic store of information and a place for exchange and dialogue. It offers an opportunity to tackle the problems and challenges of our time together — regardless of location and time zone.
Technology in the health industry — Cure or curse?
One recent example is Covid-19. An incredible number of people are working to fight the pandemic and use technology in different ways to accelerate solutions. The web allows them to share their progress with each other. AI helps make patterns visible and brings important findings to light more quickly (LINK 1). Teams of the 42 network are involved in the development of an AI that analyzes and classifies all available scientific data on Covid-19 (LINK 2).
In other areas, such as cancer research, AI is increasingly being used to detect diseases earlier and treat them more effectively (LINK 3). With the help of apps, it is possible to obtain information about people’s state of health in a reliable way.
There are plenty of examples in other areas, too. Digital technology opens up new possibilities for environmental protection and in the fight against climate change (LINK 4). Smart applications calculate the most efficient use of energy, both in the public and private sector. Self-driving and connected cars will reduce traffic in cities and make getting from A to B more efficient and safer.
The application of VR and AR allows individualized learning opportunities and support. In addition, knowledge and culture are accessible to us to an extent never seen before. This brings us closer together. Direct communication increases our understanding of diversity and different life realities — even if it takes place virtually and we never meet in real life.
Be part of the solution, be part of something better
One thing is certain: The technical progress will continue. However, that also means we have to take a close look at what this progress entails. In addition to its obvious benefits, every new technology brings new questions and challenges with it. It is important to understand the responsibility that lies in programming.
It is also worth taking a look at the source itself: technology devours huge amounts of energy. Good code not only ensures its efficient use, it should also be efficient and economical itself. Good code will ensure non-discriminatory access to knowledge and information. Good Code will also ensure data security to guarantee open and repression-free communication.
The demands on technology in the future will be diverse and specialized. That’s why we encourage our students at 42 Heilbronn to choose projects according to their own interests and to deal with various perspectives, topics and opinions along the way (LINK 5). Most of the time, however, we don’t even need to push them: Many 42 students donate their skills to a good cause and participate in hackathons or other programs that benefit the greater good. They understand that we are not detached from the world around us — and our work is a cornerstone when it comes to shaping tomorrow’s society.