Re: 'Smart Computers For Stupid People'
Wed, 11 Mar 1998 12:46:23 -0800 (PST)

> Mark Grant wrote:
> To me this is troubling, because by putting the 'intelligence' outside
> the individual (human or SI) we have a potential for catastrophe when
> the computers go wrong (most obviously the current year-2000 bug issues)
> or someone exploits a hole in the system.

There is something dangerous about technologies that are so sophisticated that an imbecile can use them effectively. Underneath the shiny veneer of "enabling technology" is a darker, subtle form of slavery.

The danger doesn't exist so much in not understanding how the device works; indeed, people have been effectively driving cars for years with very limited knowledge of the mechanics of the engine. The danger is that the gap between what the average user knows and what is required to understand the technology has been growing with increasing speed. What was once voluntary slavery (you may not know how to fix a car, but you could learn pretty easily if you wanted to), will become involuntary slavery as the knowledge gap threshold slips past the average user of that technology.

I think that this is the true fear of many Luddites; they just haven't expressed it this way in many cases.

-James Rogers