In reflecting upon my reading of Nelson’s Computer Lib/Dream Machines, I abandoned my fascination with the drawings and the structures, and focused upon some of the detractors. I was drawn to comments made by a business person asserting that computers would lead to the demise of the individual or one’s worth and sense of agency. Of course, one with real worth would probably get excited with the prospect of additional tools which could enable one to more efficiently access and analyze data as well as generate reports, right? How could this make a human expendable?
It seems simple rhetoric however these situations continue into the present. We have colleagues who still use typewriters, who are unable to utilize the most basic and common MS Office applications, who avoid IM – and those are from the proverbial Dark Ages. They are not ensuring job security but rather inviting an involuntary exit plan. And where would they next work?
I commented to a colleague a few months ago that I was not smart enough to do something and he coyly replied that intelligence wasn’t the issue, application of effort was the missing element. And I agree(d). Our capacity is pretty fantastic. It boils down to how we want to spend our time. Routine is safe-feeling however it stifles a lot of what-ifs. In reading the excerpts, it became clear that the author left that safe-ness and if he hadn’t, we may not be using the tools we are today. How many other endeavors do we tolerate because the better way, not refined, but completely different and better are not yet available?