Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The effect of technology

:: Douglas Rushkoff - Weblog :::
"Do we *want* to choose our child's talents? If so, what does that say about why we want to have a child in the first place? Is it to have the opportunity to care for another human being, or simply to extend our own obsessions to another generation?

It all came down to 'human nature' for Jeff Greenfield; you know, the idea that we can develop all sorts of technologies but human nature will stay the same, and use them for the same good and bad reasons. And that's when, for me, it became about the opposite: yes, human beings may have their biases, but so do the technologies we develop and implement. And we don't always know those biases when we set out to invent this stuff in the first place.

For example, Marconi thought radio would create understanding across cultures when in reality, as every media student learns, radio is such a 'hot' medium that it gave leaders the ability to stoke mass racist violence in Nazi Germany and more recently in Rwanda. Does that mean that radio should never have been invented? Of course not - only that we don't always know the ways our technologies influence us until after they've been implemented.

Was there a take home from all this? Sure. I think we're moving into an era when we will define ourselves more by the technologies we refuse than the ones we accept."

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