Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Technology Turkey

Is the digital revolution comparable to the industrial revolution?  Will the current "go green" emphasis repeat itself in the coming decades with a similar "going luddite" type of backlash?  Last week's ArtsJournal "Mind the Gap" book club blog concerned Kevin Kelly's What Technology Wants.  All of the exchanges caught my eye, especially Matthew Guerrieri's entry, "What Technology Wants: It's All How You Look At It".   This November 17 discussion contained a fascinating look at a couple of late-18th, early-19th century paintings as well as a quote both hilarious and sobering.  According to Guerrieri, when commenting on the World Wide Web as early as 1994, Edward Tenner stated:
'Any future information network will help unhappy people secede, at least mentally, from institutions they do not like, much as the interstate highway system allowed the affluent to flee the cities for the suburbs and exurbs. Prescribing mobility, whether automotive or electronic, as an antidote to society's fragmentation is like recommending champagne as a hangover remedy.'
I tend to agree with Mr. Tenner as I cannot yet seem to grasp how being electronically in touch with multiple "friends" offers me the same sense of connectedness as having an old-fashioned, face-to-face, get-together with my gal pals.  I am looking forward to such experiences this weekend, as I hope all of you GC::VA readers are as well.  Thanks to the holiday weekend for giving us an excuse to turn off the cell phones and computers and spend some time with friends and family, even if football and/or turkeys are involved.  Happy Thanksgiving!


Prof. Darrell Kincer said...

Fantastic quote.

Earl Grey said...

Agreed. Fantastic quote because it, indeed, addresses the notion of fragmentation as a by-product of the "greatness" that comes w/ technology. There is, indeed, greatness but also a lot of ill. To artgal's post, I'd like to add in another, less scientific and less attributed quote that's been making its way around various circles (techno-phobes moreso than techno-philes):

"People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used."