Technology, Diverse Empowerment & Slavish Dependency

I keep in mind, ever since 9/11/2001, that all systems fail, that is all except pain receptors in the human body. All technology, all systems are designed to operate within certain environmental tolerances for a specified period of time. Stress those tolerances and snap, crackle, pop: system down. Makers are stressing those tolerances every day because they want what they build to exceed one or more of them. Hackers are stressing them to find the limits and gearheads make it their business to know the factors. Consumers and those wishing to consume are just trying to get a ride in the boat, trusting souls. For a maker and hacker and gearhead, I am all three depending on the target, I want to experience the balance. I create for my consumers to the level of their expertise to enable them to do what I do with my 20 year headstart. That’s a product; that’s the enablement, the empowerment, the new economy. I could make them slavishly dependent but I choose not to. I want the product to educate as well. I want its guts to be transparent, so that when it fails, all can see how to fix it. This is a principle of integrity that can easily be ignored. It is disrespectful at best, and coercively entrapping and enslaving at bottom. It is the Muzak that cannot be switched off. It is ultimately the company town, the slave plantation whose master rejects the liberating cotton gin. And yet in human skill and nurtured talent is the ability to remain free of such all encompassing systems. When they fail, it is what humans must fall back on anyway. So we should always be mindful of what skills and talents and abilities we give up for the convenience and empowerment of technology.

via Technology, Diverse Empowerment & Slavish Dependency – Cobb.

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