The exaggerated aversion to technology and the exacerbated fear of artificial intelligence can represent an obstacle to the progress of humanity – MPI

The exaggerated aversion to technology and the exacerbated fear of artificial intelligence can represent an obstacle to the progress of humanity


entrepreneur Whurley stated during his speech at SXSW. According to him, instilling fear of new technologies in people will only result in negative consequences.

On the same day, the CEOs of major technology companies didn’t have a good time on the stages of SXSW. Early in the morning, futurist Amy Webb criticized the messianic behavior of executives like Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk, accusing them of trying to shape the world according to their interests.

After lunch, it was William Hurley’s turn, better known as Whurley, CEO of the quantum computing startup Strangeworks, recognized for his critical stance towards Silicon Valley, to present his vision. His lecture, entitled “On the Arrogance of Man in the Age of Thinking Machines,” began with a series of videos featuring figures like Musk and Bezos emphasizing the potential of AI as a threat to human existence on Earth.

“We are experiencing the most promising era in technological terms, with incredible advances in healthcare, design, space exploration, and artificial intelligence,” declared the scientist. “However, instead of helping us make the most of this phase, technology CEOs spend hours in interviews trying to scare the population with alleged threats to humanity’s existence.”

Entrepreneur Whurley argues that technology billionaires are doing a great disservice to the planet by promoting a climate of fear around new technologies, while claiming to want to save it. “If we open ourselves to the possibilities of technology, we can encounter fascinating realities. On the other hand, facing them with fear can bring real dangers. It’s time to end the panic that has set in and face the new era with optimism,” he declared.

Whurley particularly criticized the disastrous statements of CEOs advocating strict regulations for technologies, whether coming from the United States or China, or even the end of the advancement of a particular tool, such as artificial intelligence. “The arrogance of these people is remarkable, especially when it comes to apocalyptic predictions. Fortunately, rarely has a technological industry expert made a prediction that proved accurate,” he concluded, generating approval from the audience.

Whurley points out that history is full of premature statements that did not materialize: from the belief that the world would only need five computers to the idea that people would eventually give up the internet or that no one would be online in a decade. “But do you know who has been accurate in predicting the future of technology?” he asked, prompting the audience. “Science fiction authors.”

He highlighted Arthur C. Clarke as an example of an accurate prophet, mentioning his classics like “2001: A Space Odyssey.” In a 1964 video shown on stage, Clarke accurately predicted how it would be possible to work remotely, communicate globally via satellite, and even perform surgeries virtually.

Whurley argues that Clarke’s words have never harmed anyone. “However, today, those who promote technophobia – and sometimes, fear of science – are causing dangerous results, leading people to ignorance and obsession. This is reflected in those who believe the Earth is flat or that man never went to the Moon. And, what is more alarming, many of these ignorant people end up participating in lawmaking,” he pointed out.

Taking an activist stance, the scientist stated that there is only one way to reverse the current crisis of confidence in technology. “My proposal is that we create a movement to combat the technological panic that is being instigated in people. I invite all of you to work with me on this,” he emphasized.

For those who interpret his statements as support for the abuses of technology companies, Whurley responds. “I believe we all agree that some form of regulation is necessary for technology, especially for AI. However, for many of the problems raised, there are already laws in place, such as copyright laws. We may need new laws, but nothing so drastic. It’s not just the rules, but rather the cooperation between humans, science, and technology that will make the world a better place to live in.”

Later, futurist Scott Galloway dedicated much of his podcast alongside Kara Swisher to criticizing technology CEOs – his favorite target, as usual, being Elon Musk.


South by Southwest (SXSW) is one of the most comprehensive and renowned events in the world, held annually in Austin, Texas. Founded in 1987, it began as a music festival and has expanded over the years to cover a wide range of industries, including technology, film, media, education, and more. SXSW is known for being a meeting point for creative and innovative professionals from various fields, providing a platform for networking, learning, and showcasing new ideas and trends.

The event consists of various conferences, lectures, panels, workshops, exhibitions, musical performances, and networking sessions, covering a variety of topics, from the latest trends in technology to social, cultural, and political issues. Emerging companies have the opportunity to launch products and services, while industry giants share their insights and experiences.

One of the striking features of SXSW is its vibrant and interactive atmosphere, which encourages active participation from the audience. Participants not only have the opportunity to listen to lectures and watch presentations but also to engage in discussions, ask questions to speakers, and interact with other attendees, creating an immersive and dynamic experience.

Moreover, SXSW is known for its ability to drive the launch of new trends and technologies. Many startups and established companies choose the event as a launching platform for their most innovative products and services, while experts and influencers take the opportunity to share their predictions and insights about the future of various industries.

In summary, SXSW is a multifaceted event that offers a unique blend of entertainment, education, networking, and innovation, making it an indispensable meeting point for professionals and enthusiasts from various fields around the world.


Technophobia is the irrational fear or aversion to technology. It can manifest in various forms, from resistance to the use of simple electronic devices to extreme fear of more complex technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence and automation.

This phenomenon can be fueled by a series of factors, including a lack of understanding of how technology works, concerns about privacy and security, fear of changes in the job market due to automation, among others.

Technophobia can have significant consequences, both at an individual and societal level. On an individual level, it can lead to digital isolation, difficulties at work and in daily life, and even mental health problems due to stress caused by aversion to technology. On a broader scale, technophobia can hinder progress and innovation, slowing down the development of new technologies that could improve quality of life and solve important problems.

It’s important to recognize that technology is a neutral tool and its impact depends on how it’s used. Instead of fearing it, it’s crucial to promote a healthy and educated understanding of technology, encouraging digital literacy and critical thinking so that people can make effective and responsible use of the available technological tools.

Danielle Berry
Danielle Berry

an editor at MPI since 2023.


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