Nobody asked me, but here they are anyway. A short list of suggestions and clarifications for pundits, journalists, bloggers, and assorted scribblers who write about technology, in no particular order …
1. Don’t be a Borg. The development, deployment, and adoption of any given technology does not unfold independently of human action.
2. Do not cite apparent historical parallels to contemporary concerns about technology as if they invalidated those concerns. That people before us experienced similar problems does not mean that they magically cease being problems today.
3. Do not deify technology or assign salvific powers to Technology.
4. When someone criticizes a specific technology without renouncing all other forms of technology, they are not being hypocritical–they are thinking.
“I believe that you must appreciate technology just like art. You wouldn’t tell an art
connoisseur that he can’t prefer abstractionism to expressionism. To love is to choose.
And today, we’re losing this. Love has become an obligation.” (Paul Virilio)
5. Relatedly, the observation that human beings have always used technology is not a cogent response to the criticism of particular technologies. The use of a pencil does not entail my endorsement of genetic engineering.
6. Don’t grant technology independent or sufficient causal force. Consequences follow from the use of technology, but causality is usually complex and distributed.
7. If you begin by claiming, hyperbolically, that a given technology is revolutionary, thereafter responding to critics by assuring them that nothing has changed is disingenuous at best. If something is completely different, it can’t also be exactly the same.
8. It is banal to observe that a given technology may be used for both good or evil; this does not mean that the technology in question is neutral.
9. Use the word technology circumspectly. It can function as an abstraction harboring all sorts of false assumptions and logical fallacies.
10. That people eventually acclimate to changes precipitated by the advent of a new technology does not prove that the changes were inconsequential or benign.
These are, of course, otherwise known as Sacasas’ pet peeves. You may take them accordingly.
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