As technology continues to advance at a breakneck pace, the difference between right and wrong, between black and white, becomes increasingly murky, plunging us deeper into what we might call “Gray Matter.”

This was the subject of a talk Alex Schmelkin, CEO and co-founder of Cake & Arrow, gave at a TedX event at WC Mepham High School in Bellmore, New York on November 19th. In his 15 minute presentation, Schmelkin posed a series of ethical questions exploring our diminishing ability to draw clear lines between black and white, emphasizing the role technology has played in blurring this distinction.

Watch the complete presentation:Gray Matters

Alex TedX

With the ability to illegally download music, watch bootlegged videos on YouTube, and cheat all manner of games and systems at the click of a button, the temptation may be to immediately try to redefine what we mean by right and wrong in the digital age. Instead Schmelkin suggests we take a step back and first ask ourselves a question: Why do we wind up in positions where it is difficult for us to determine right from wrong in the first place? He then goes on to explore a series of answers, each accompanied by a personal anecdote from his own life, including a story about how he was able to hack into a hotel reservation system to reserve a an optimal beach umbrella for him and his family while on vacation–and the ethical dilemma this created. With such ethical dilemmas likely to become more, not less complex as time goes on and technology continues to advance, Schmelkin concludes his presentation by posing another question to his audience: In an age of gray matter, who is responsible for making choices about what is right and wrong? The answer, he tells his audience, is you.

Download the presentation slides: Gray Matters