I learned a new word today: Luddite. Its context has changed some over time, but the basic meaning is the same between then and now. Essentially, a Luddite may:
“…view technology as a threat to traditional ways of life, or they may be concerned about the negative impacts that technology can have on society, such as the erosion of privacy or the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few tech companies.”
While the term may be new to me, the concept is definitely not. I’ve harbored this kind of sentiment for a long time, without knowing what it was called, or even that it was called anything at all.
I’ve never really been all that gung-ho about new flashy technologies before, but my gut instinct really started to hit the breaks when, if you were paying attention, technological evolution decidedly took a much creepier turn, in public.
It’s always been about convenience — something easier, faster, more. Efficiency, we told ourselves. Because then, yes, we really could Have It All (TM).
The joke was always on us, of course. First, back in the 1950s it was about Electric Everything, even when the nonelectric version of something actually worked better (can openers anyone?).
Goal and end result: get everybody to swap out their perfectly fine manual crank chops and whatnot for the New Electric Version, as if it worked better (and you were a better person for having it) simply because it plugged into a wall. Congratulations, the power grid gained generations of new dependents. The old ways faded away with the ancestors, and the transition was complete.
The ARPANET we feel super-informed and hip to be square for just finding out about last month gave way to the much-hyped Information Superhighway, gradually-yet-unmistakably, increasingly, steered and shaped by algorithms that began to censor, suppress, and full-on shadowban the moment they’d mastered predictive text in your search-box. And it logged (logs) everything too.