This extra bit of free will choice, which did not exist before the tool was invented, is itself good, even if the tool causes harm. Having the choice itself is a positive good. That extra positive good tilts the 50/50 balance slightly in favor of the good, but only by a little tiny bit. But it turns out, a little bit is all we need. Because if we use technology to create only one percent more than we destroy a year, that one percent difference (or even one tenth of a percent difference), compounded year by year over centuries will make civilization.
[…] today, somewhere in the world, there is a boy or girl already born, a Shakespeare of their generation, who is waiting for us to invent their technology. Until we create their tool they cannot discover and share their genius. So we have an obligation to increase the amount of technologies in the world. We benefit from people in the past who bestowed on us the possibilities inherent in the alphabet, in printing, the book and newspapers, so we too should be inventing as much technology as we can in the hope that in the future more people will have the option, the possibility of using their fullest talents for us all.
The Positive Balance of Technology
This is why I write software. This is why I release it as open-source.
It’s not even about making things, real or virtual. It’s about distilling knowledge and sharing it.