We are in a race, even if you do not know it. The Aztecs and the Incas did not know they were in a race for better technology until the Spaniards came and took everything they had.

When a Stone Age civilization meets a Renaissance Age Civilization, there can only be one outcome. China had a glimpse of Renaissance technology, and they chose to turn their backs on it. This did work out well for them. When the Portuguese came along, they were able to force trade concessions and that was just the beginning of 300 years of exploitation by Europeans wielding better tech than they had.

The Japanese tried to stop technology from altering their society but then they saw that their only choice was to either accept reality and modern ways of doing things or be subjugated like the Chinese had been. They forced themselves to modernize and they were able to stave off the Western powers.

History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. We can draw from the lessons of history, so we don’t have to learn the hard way. Organizations that refuse to adopt new technologies become irrelevant. Or exploited. Or dead.

We are on the verge of a new wave of technological advances that are going to change our societies right to the very core. Energy, transportation, intelligent machines, synthetic biology, and other technological disruptions are going to change how we do everything.

Of all the disruptions coming, the disruptions caused by the rise of machine intelligence will be the most transformative. It will enable and drive many of the other changes. Ignoring this or pretending that we can refuse to adopt intelligent machines will relegate us to the status of has beens.