Yes, technology can help solve our problems, because better technology means greater productivity. But we need to identify more than simply the problem of material scarcity. There are other human problems that technology can be used to solve, and one such problem is communication, transparency, and mutual understanding — in other words, empathy.
The reason humans find it much easier to work together in a small community than in a large one, is because communication in the local community is more straight-forward due to the sincere, face-to-face interactions. In other words, human beings can see each other’s facial expressions and body language, hear other people’s voices, and shake their hands (among other deeply meaningful ways of social interaction). In small communities, people get to actually _feel_ each other’s joy, sadness, etc.
Communication is what allows us to be aware of and acknowledge each other’s humanity, so that we don’t just pretend to value the lives of others, but actually feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves. It is easy to ignore starving people when they are on the other side of the world, but if someone is starving to death in your neighbourhood, you would be quick to help save them from their desperate plight. If you want people to care about the whole world (the global community), instead of merely the small communities in their immediate vicinity (the local community), we need some way to connect the peoples of the world in a meaningful way. Getting enough people to care about people who they do not see, is perhaps our biggest challenge.
There is also the flip side to this problem. We continually allow the wealthy to oppress the poor, largely because the rich conduct their extravagant activities in private facilities, away from the public eye. If we use technology to make the world aware of just how selfish these rich people are, that the obscene amount of wealth that they are wasting on meaningless things is what’s really causing worldwide suffering, then people may learn to care about this more. It is not enough to merely know. We need to _see_ it to believe it.
We need technology not only to solve material scarcity. More importantly, we need technology to help us see the world in a new light, because we can only care about the things that we can see. We all know that the rich are depriving the poor of human dignity. But what the world needs right now, above all, is not only to know, but also to _see_, to _hear_, to _touch_, and to _feel_.
We must first solve the problem of global apathy, before we can ever hope to solve the problem of global poverty.
If people everywhere are suffering from myopia (near-sightedness), then we need to use technology to develop better ways to help people see beyond the narrow confines of their own local communities, so that the global community can work together to solve global problems.
There is a type of resource more important than “natural resources”. Goods like empathy (communication and mutual understanding) are products of “human resources”, and clever use of technology can go a long way towards helping us overcome this scarcity of human resources.