Technology is politics

Technology is politics

I have been writing “technology is politics” for years but only now are political columnists jumping on the bandwagon. Any technological progress, any new device, any new service cannot be evaluated on its own. Technology is very much intertwined with society, economics, military and politics.  

So, when I read a news story that said Facebook will push forth free broadband internet, I cannot discuss it without talking about its political impact on countries that will receive free internet. Or I cannot help but wonder what the main purpose of the EU going after American firms like Apple and Uber is. Is it really because Uber is considered illegal or is it because the EU wants its own version of Uber to prosper? Is a 14.5 billion dollar fine against Apple by the EU a just decision or a politically motivated punishment? Apple CEO Tim Cook put this in a very “delicate” phrase when he called the decision “total political crap.”

When I read that the MTA Oruç Reis seismic vessel, built by Turkish engineers in a domestic shipyard in Istanbul, is ready to explore oil and gas, I read this as a bold statement by the Turkish government rather than a technological achievement. In the same manner, when Turkey decides to buy Russian S-400’s or when Turkish Airlines buys six 777-300ERs and 20 Next-Generation 737-800s from Boeing, it also gives a political message. 

In the next 25 years, the real war will not be fought on battlefields, but will be fought between technology firms in global markets. Any entity to lose the war in the most users or the most transactions will lose not only money but the future as well. That’s why China is pushing for its own internet business for global dominance, while American firms are struggling with legislations all around the world that are aimed at slowing them down. 

Six main technological trends are driving major changes and any country that wants to see the next century should not miss them, including Turkey. First of all, everything will be digitalized and automated. Even the military. There will be a very small number of human soldiers on the ground in the very near future, as there will be zero number of people even at the largest factories. The renewable energy production will be so effective that there won’t be any more need for coal or nuclear plants anymore. In many countries, energy will be produced by houses and cars themselves via tiny, thin and flexible solar panels that can be applied anywhere. Information about everything and everyone will be available in abundance. Soon, we will be willing to share even our daily blood counts with health applications. Super computers will be available at homes and anyone can contribute to any issue at a higher impact level than today. People will improve themselves as they wish in order to achieve better cognitive skills or physical capabilities. We will see super humans in our daily lives. Lastly, space will be very easy to travel to and it will be very easy to exploit other planets and meteoroids for raw materials. 

These are not notes from my next science fiction novel. They are bases to the reality we will face in the next 25 years. So let’s think whether we are ready for the future or not. Then, we can decide better if it was a good move to decrease the amount of biology classes to make space for an hour more of religion classes, or not.