Better living through technology

One of the things I marveled at as a kid was the computer on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Here was a computer so big that it contained every piece of media ever created by human civilization, and it was all instantly accessible. I think of this in terms of music: being able to hear, say, a particular concert or performance or recording is kind of mind-blowing.

And then I look up a random song on rdio on my tiny iPhone and see that we are a lot closer to this reality than we may think. I pay a relatively nominal fee each month and I can access a whole lot of recordings from the past 150 or so years, just about anywhere I am. That is a remarkable achievement.

But now that we are amassing this type of technology we need to ask ourselves, "To what end?" It will be immensely sad if the answer to everything is, "For our entertainment."

What happens if this technology is distributed evenly to everyone? What if it is not? What if we always make it about money? What if we give it away? How does all of it make us better people? Does it?