Innovation comes in many different guises but it is fair to say that the most recent wave of innovation has been dominated by Silicon Valley's adage "move fast and break things." And despite all the talk about "making the world a better place," almost all of it has been about "markets" – markets for taxis, holiday rentals, songs, household help, basic consumer goods, and so on. What these markets have in common is that they are reigned by algorithms which turn even the tiniest everyday human interaction into an anonymous market exchange.
This wave of innovation has, no doubt, made many things more efficient, more convenient, but a more efficient world isn't necessarily the "better place" we were promised. According to Allison Arieff in Solving All the Wrong Problems, "We are overloaded daily with new discoveries, patents and inventions all promising a better life, but that better life has not been forthcoming for most. In fact, the bulk [...] targets a very specific (and tiny!) slice of the population [and] for most people working on such projects, the goal is basically to provide for themselves everything that their mothers no longer do."
But is this future we want? Is this truly the best we can do given the many fundamental challenges humanity is currently facing and the action needed to be able to deal with these challenges head-on? If the answers to these questions is “no,” what should the next stage of innovation then look like? Which problems should it address and how might we go about doing that?