Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Illusions of Technology

American Digest had Cobb in the sidebar.  I decided to read the whole thing.  If you haven't already, you should, too.  Cobb says, You Don't Know Beans. 

I would add that being able to do clever things with your smartphone and apps does not make you an expert on technology, a programmer, or a geek.  That's like thinking that being able to press your accelerator to the floor and go 110 mph in your Ford Fusion makes you a mechanic or mechanical engineer, or, for that matter, a good race car driver.

Technology for the common man was perfected 60 or 70 years ago. Everything since then has been for university presidents and rich people who fly in jets on the regular. There's no new technology that is more enabling. It's all just marginal improvements and fashion conceits. All you ever need were Levi's. You needed to learn algebra. You needed to read and understand Shakespeare and the basic laws in your small town. You needed to learn how to use a needle and thread, a hammer and sickle, a mortar and pestle, and pots and pans. You needed to learn how to take care of your own basic needs - food, clothing and shelter.

There's something about that particular paragraph that bothers me, but I don't have time this morning to figure out whether it is conflict or conviction.  Maybe it's just his timeline, because I'm a coder and I'd hate to go back to writing on punch cards for mainframes.  I do agree with what he's trying to get at in the article as a whole.  Technology that doesn't actually help you be more productive at a job that is productive is not all that wonderful.

Entertainment can have some value.  Things that merely distract us from the emptiness and lack of purpose in our lives are detrimental.  

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