Technological defeatism

Kevin Kelly (of, among other things, Cool Tools, which I read regularly) said “we can choose to modify our legal and political and economic assumptions to meet the ordained [technological] trajectories ahead. But we cannot escape from them.” This “technological defeatism”

“…downplays the utility of resistance and conceals the avenues for seeking reform and change. As a result of technological defeatism, concerns and anxieties about various technologies are recast as reactive fears and phobias, as irrelevant moral panics that will quickly fade away once users develop the appropriate coping strategies and upgrade their norms.”

The claim that resistance is futile is simply false. People say it to reduce others’ resistance, and believe it to justify their own acquiescence. It’s not that we should resist all change. Air bags, for example, are mostly good; but they need a mechanism to disable them when the owner sees they would be a liability, when the seat’s occupant is very small. PowerPoint is mostly bad. It can be useful and informative in some circumstances, though an example escapes me.


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