People take sides, often for no reason except
that they enjoy doing so. This or that football team, style
of clothing or musical taste. Even in politics several conflicts
are based more on personalities or allegiance than on issues.
There is a lot of debate about technology. The subject is
serious and relevant, because scientific and technological
development has always had a great influence on our lives and
our civilization, and at this time its even greater. But I
dont think it makes any sense to be for
or against technology as a whole.Even the most
aggressive enemies of technology arent really willing to give up
electricity, motorcars, telephones or medical care.
Taking sides gets in the way of
understanding. The issue isnt if, but how the development of
technology must continue. Is there a conflict between a
new and old economy? The more I think
about it, the less I understand. It may be better to get rid
of those definitions and think about how economies (and
societies) are evolving.
Does it make sense to be pro or
against the internet? In spite of the hype many
people dont like it. Simply because, personally, they have
found no real use for it; or, more importantly, because
established powers (in politics, in economy, and in culture)
are uncomfortable with an environment that they cant control
as effectively as mainstream media.
Can the issue of information technology be reduced to
proprietary versus opensource, Microsoft versus Linux or
Windows versus Macintosh? Its not as simple as that.
We can all have our likes or dislikes and change them
(for instance ten years ago I liked mobile phones, now Im
beginning to hate them). But taking sides doesnt
improve our understanding. And the middle of the
way between extremes is no solution, either; compromise
can be even worse than prejudice.
We must learn to live with turbulence, use the benefits
of technology and solve (or avoid) its problems. That can be
quite difficult but it isnt made any easier by
That said... there are a few principles on which, I
think, we should be as one-sided, obstinate and militant as
we can. One is that technology must work for people, not vice
versa. Another is than nobody and nothing must get in the way
of our freedom to think, say, write and read whatever we wish
in all environments and especially on the internet.
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