Re: WIRED 6.01/Technocracy R.I.P.

Michael Lorrey (
Tue, 30 Dec 1997 18:46:58 -0500

Hal Finney wrote:
> I have not yet read the issue, but it sounds like Postrel has a point.
> Much of the opposition to progress and advancement comes from those who
> fear change. The Rifkins and other neo-Luddites seem to oppose every new
> technology that comes along. It is important to counter the view that
> change is something to be feared.

WHile nuts like rifkin & company are irrational in their fear of change,
most average people have developed, through the industrial revolution to
today, a sense that technological change is a threat to their ability
to earn an income doing what they do now, a threat to their jobs.
Remember, most people tend to be SOOO happy when they finish school and
get out into the workforce. Most tend to get into the habit of thinking
of learning something new as a pain in the butt. Just look at how union
members look at new processes, new ways of working, etc. These guys and
gals want to go to work, punch a clock and stop thinking for 8-12 hours,
punch out, go home, and watch the tv, play with the kids, get drunk, and
fornicate all night.

Due to this, anything that will make them change their set ways of being
is therefore a threat to their peace of mind, added stress in an already
stressful world. Following a path of least stress is the easiest way for
them to get through life.

THis is why the computer revolution didn't really get going in the home
market until graphical user interfaces were easy to use and affordable,
why the internet didn't get really going until easy to use graphical
WYSIWYG web interfaces became available.

WHile people want to automate their personal lives as much as possible,
they don't want to automate their workplaces so much that their jobs
will go away.

What is needed is:
a) widespread PR of studies showing that technological progress
INCREASES employment and earning power.
b) further expansion of automation of products and processes in people's
personal lives so that a generation down the road, the kids of today
will be living by the credo that tech is cool (this is already starting
to some extent here in the US). Personal life automation has been the
last area to be automated by computers. Solve this need.
> Of course you are right that not all change is good. Once we get past
> the view that change in itself is threatening, we can then stand on
> common ground to evaluate various possible options. Each of us will make
> their own decisions about which changes and new technologies to embrace.
> Some may seem initially beneficial, like new designer drugs, or full-sense
> virtual sex, but in the end may prove to be harmful.
> I wrote earlier today about knee-jerk libertarianism. Let us agree that
> people are free to exploit whatever technologies they like in order to
> improve their lives. When we speak of "talking about" changes and
> "engineering their flow" it is in the context of mutually voluntary
> interactions, of persuasion and reason, not force and coercion. This
> provides an unthreatening context to discuss the opportunities and
> dangers which change presents.
> I would support a form of "dynamism" which recognizes that change is
> inevitable, and that change is not to be opposed per se. But at the same
> time, within the dynamic context we still want to think carefully and
> critically about the new possibilities available to us, their implications
> and effects.
> Hal

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------	Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?