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October 22, 2021

The Unintended Consequences of Technology: Christopher Ategeka’s Book Is Now Available

contributor: Rob Goodier

Think for a second about unintended consequences of technology and they can be jarring, like brown well water from a kitchen tap on a Nebraskan farm surrounded by fracking sites. The problems may be on the scale of the nuisance and legal quandaries stemming from facial recognition tech that fails to work for people of color. And the problems may be existential, such as the threats of climate change and environmental destruction wrought by machines built with the intention to improve our lives. Chris Ategeka’s new book, The Unintended Consequences of Technology, explores the problems with our unplanned, chaotic push for more and better technology. And he offers up solutions.

Whether you are a technologist, a government leader, or a citizen of this world, there are things you can do to help stop humanity from innovating ourselves into extinction. – The Unintended Consequences of Technology

“The purpose for the book is to help us move a needle in, A] advancing the public understanding, awareness, and perception on the Unintended Consequences of Technology; and B] Accelerate solutions and collaborations toward collective large-scale action,” Mr. Ategeka told E4C by email.

The book captures themes from the past four years of the eponymous conference that Mr. Ategeka founded, the UCOT. How can we heal our relationship with technology? From a bird’s view, the solutions require collaboration and collective action, Mr. Ategeka argues. From his book:

The bad news is that so long as technology is here, so are its negative externalities. The good news is that with intention, smarts, and safety engineering we can deal with the unintended consequences of technologies before they even occur. This book breaks down what needs to be done in two parts.

Part one addresses how humanity got into this mess. Part two dives into the many exponential technologies and trends with lots of promise but also uncertainty. The negative consequences of technology are an enormous existential crisis, but solving them should be seen as a huge opportunity. We have ambition, thanks to the growing global movement led by young people who are deeply concerned. What we need is a will to act.

The topic has a veteran champion in Mr. Ategeka, whose own story is nearly as compelling as that of technology run amok. As an infant, Mr. Ategeka was adopted from Nigeria into an American family, and in adulthood he earned a degree in mechanical engineering and has led the storied career of the serial entrepreneur. Focusing on social enterprise rather than wealth, Mr. Ategeka has earned some of the most important accolades in his field. He has served as an Ashoka Fellow and a TED Fellow, and he was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs in 2014.

One of his early ventures was Rides for Lives, a mobile clinic in rural Uganda. He discussed that experience with us, as well as his advice for social entrepreneurs. Please see his posts.

Lessons Learned Running Mobile Clinics in Rural Uganda


Five Questions for Chris Ategeka

The book is sold on Amazon in hardcover and a Kindle edition: The Unintended Consequences of Technology. From the description: “Whether you are a technologist, a government leader, or a citizen of this world, there are things you can do to help stop humanity from innovating ourselves into extinction.”

Learn more about Mr. Ategeka and his projects through his site:

tags : bicycle ambulance, book review, clinic, Five Questions, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship

Rob Goodier

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