Digital Nation

Douglas Rushkoff: Program or Be Programmed

October 1, 2010

In a recent blog post I asked: Does Technology Make Us Smart or Stupid? At least part of my motivation for asking the question was a result of watching a thought provoking must-see PBS Frontline documentary by Douglas Rushkoff called Digital Nation, which examined many of the pros and cons of the internet and modern technology. In the video below Douglas Rushkoff goes a step further and argues that within the current technological paradigm one either programs or is being programmed. While Rushkoff’s argument and its implications are much broader in scope and more sophisticated in meaning than merely referring to computer code, it reminds me strongly of the classic cult sci fi movie Tron. In Tron there are “programs” and “users.” Since the users wrote (i.e. programmed) the code for the programs, in Tron the users are Gods. The [...]

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Does Technology Make Us Smart or Stupid?

February 22, 2010

Technology often divides us into techno-optimists and techno-skeptics. The optimists, as exemplified by a recent Reuters news article, believe for example that the Internet will make us smarter and that technology has an overwhelmingly positive effect on the human species. After all, ever since our Cro-Magnon fore-fathers left the caves it has been technology which has provided not only our food and shelter but almost everything else above and beyond — from the iPod in your pocket to the International Space Station (ISS) in orbit. It allows us to travel vast distances in short periods of time, to communicate instantaneously across continents and to live on average 3 times longer than the ancient Greeks. It is hard to deny that technology makes our lives easier, more comfortable and more pleasant. But does technology make us smart or stupid? Is it, [...]

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