A majority of the ideas in "21 Ideas for the 21st Century" (Cover Story, Aug. 23-30) deal with the advance of computer and communications/information technology. This is a somewhat somber outlook, as the trend seems to be going toward humans becoming slaves to technology, instead of humans becoming its master, using it as needed.

Nobody can doubt that technology is a necessity in the world's present and future state, but it is used for too many operations and applications that are "doable" but not necessary or convenient for the advancement of mankind.

As for using "artificial intelligence" as a substitute for the human brain, this may lead over time to the atrophy of the human brain by under-use. Even if AI could solve most problems for the average I.Q. brain, it will never be a substitute for intuition, an important tool for decision makers in the past (and probably the future, too), nor will it feel pain, sorrow, or joy.

Federico C. von Wachter

Caracas, Venezuela

I totally disagree with the second idea stated: Nationalism. The Internet and globalization are more of a threat to nationalism than a factor strengthening it because peoples' values and perceptions toward welfare are changing.

Over the Net, information and education might spread across the world so it would be more important to have a good job and be integrated in society than fight for a specific cause. In reaching for this, the people will be more addicted (or forced) to let their languages go in favor of English, the language of the 21st century, and work for the company that gives them the most satisfaction, whether it should be German, Brazilian, American, or Australian.

Adrian Neamtu

Munich

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