Scott’s Thoughts: Prevent or Create?

“I decided to spend my time trying to create the things we need as opposed to preventing what threatens us.”

Bill Joy, American computer engineer, co-founder of Sun Microsystems.

Lightbulb in the air.The above quote by Bill Joy was taken from a 2017 interview in WIRED Magazine (“Bill Joy Finds the Jesus Battery“). In the article, he expresses his concerns about the enormous power of AI and gene-editing technology, technologies so powerful and potentially dangerous, that he can not see a way to meaningfully oppose or control their development. The best he can do, in his mind, is turn his attention to other needs.

I find this quote to be a refreshing mindset we might meditate on in other aspects of our life. While there is value in protesting potential harm, preventing abuses of power, and dedicating ourselves to mitigating threats, it can come at the cost of more positive endeavors. When our energies are dedicated to threat prevention, we are seldom in a creative mode. We do not act so much as we react.

There is much beyond our control. Market forces. Disruptive technology. Bad luck. But to remain in a defensive crouch in the face of these forces makes our lives smaller. Much better to look around and identify needs we can serve. Places where we can make a difference–with the active verb being make.

Creating enriches a life. It fosters connection, inspiration, and hope. Rather than fear what may happen to us, why not discover what we may make possible?

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