From the Stone Age to AI, Laura van Wyngaarden on the Software Revolution

Laura van Wyngaarden, COO of the Canadian legal AI company Diligen recently spoke at a TechTO event in Toronto about human evolution and our journey from stone age technology to the era of software and AI, with all the socio-economic impacts this has had and will have to come.

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-20-56-43Van Wyngaarden’s key point is that mankind’s most recent wave of invention, namely software, has brought us to a new period in economic development, primarily because of its huge leverage and scaleable effect, especially in its ability to leverage our mental effort.

That is to say, once you’ve created a piece of software it can be used multiple times, by multiple people. Therefore its net impact can be huge compared to the economic effort used to create it. Unlike something an early ancestor may have made or grown that would only be used by one person and perhaps be highly perishable, software is the invention that keeps on giving.

Or, as Van Wyngaarden told Artificial Lawyer: ‘Technology has always helped humanity to do more. We began with tools that leveraged our physical effort, but increasing our tech helps us leverage our mental effort. Al promises to be particularly powerful in expanding what we are capable of as a species.’

It’s an interesting and thought provoking video that is just under 10 minutes, but should keep you thinking about the points raised for long after.



[ If you also have a video presentation on legal tech, AI or perhaps the evolution of mankind (if you’re feeling ambitious), then please drop me a line, Artificial Lawyer would love to host your thoughts as well. ]

1 Comment

  1. Our intelligence replicated physical strength in the Industrial Age; our intelligence replicated mental tasks in this Information Age; soon our intelligence will replicate itself in ASI. In each change, people’s jobs were lost. To think that ASI won’t dramatically impact the economy is a bit naive. Whether people who are relieved of the burden of work will turn to positive creative activities; become creatively destructive; or be heavily medicated on opioids, benzodiazepines, and psychotropics; or lost in VR is still a question for our civilization. Provocative presentation!!

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