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Sometimes I Wish That It Would Rain Here

Monday, March 12, 2007


this article on ars struck me as rather interesting. why is it that the western/developed world sees the need to force their technologies (and implicitly their values) on the rest of the world. I'm not saying that everyone being online is necessarily a bad thing, but it's not necessarily a good thing, either. especially when we consider that, afaik, there's still no great way to get rid of the incredibly toxic waste from computers. I feel a bit like the Takers in Quinn's Ishmael, forcing my developments on the rest of the world. what if those people in third world countries don't want to be online? maybe they would be better served by mobile phone apps and WiMax (or whatever) than a "proper" internet connection. maybe they don't want to be brought into the technological era at all. how would you even go about deciding such a thing? how would you properly determine that a culture or society wanted to be leavers? I'm not quite sure, but I'm not convinced that it involves giving lots of money to folks for setting up computer labs in third world countries.


  • "how would you properly determine that a culture or society wanted to be leavers?"

    Why are "you" determining this? Shouldn't a nation or culture decide that for themselves and control their own technological development?

    By Anonymous metamanda, at Tuesday, March 13, 2007 11:00:00 AM  

  • "Shouldn't a nation or culture decide that for themselves?"

    absolutely. however, how could a culture or society decide such a thing without being exposed to the technology, without seeing the effects it has? you could certainly make predictions, but there are always unforeseen results (a la Freakonomics). e.g., if there was a technology that would kill ~10,000 people every year and emit tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, should we use it? if there was a technology that would allow people to quickly travel great distances with relative ease, should we use it? (cars). should we use technology that can nearly instantaneously disseminate information anywhere in the world, can bring people together to engender all sorts of novel social interaction, and can solve previously intractible problems in mathematics, physical sciences, medicine, and other disciplines? what about if that technology is composed of heavy metals and other toxins, of which we have to good way of disposing? (computers)

    the point is, how could one decide whether or not to adopt ("take") and certain technology or not ("leave") without using the technology and seeing the effects?

    a better (and more relevant) question might be, if an adopted technology is later determined harmful or unwanted, how does a society transition away from the technology without breaking current practices, infrastructer, and social order?

    By Blogger Jystar, at Tuesday, March 13, 2007 6:30:00 PM  

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