A Luddite

It’s been a strange old week – yet more power cuts. I’m afraid it has led to some grumpiness, more from me than HBTW.  I really am grateful for the quality of life we have in Scotland, but not having a shower in the morning makes me feel like a dlg. (dirty little gnome – oops is that being politically insensitive to gnomes?)

What I want to talk about is the negative attributes of the internet. Come to think of it I am not really sure that the internet can be thought of as having a separate identity. Anyway, I was talking with someone this week who confesses that they are a true Luddite where computer technology is concerned. I was struggling to be sympathetic to this view until this illustration came up.

Someone in London presses a button (computer key) and buys a million shares from a firm in China; ten minutes later the shares increase by £x – the London holder of the shares sells at a profit of £x never having moved from their desk. Thus the whole of the world economy ends up going round in circles and imaginary/real become confused and prices fluctuate on a whim.

I’m not sure if I am explaining myself very well. Take a simpler example: violent computer games leading to violence. In fact this is starting to happen where drones are controlled from one country and piloted to the enemy causing perhaps widespread destruction and violence. The drone commander is totally isolated from the consequences of their action.

I had to start to admit that there is something to think about in all of this, though I would hate to do without modern technology, even if it does lead us all into the realms of ethics that we never envisaged.  I was going to ask – What do you think? – but if you are reading this you are probably like me and are committed to “progress.”


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6 Responses to A Luddite

  1. friko says:

    I don’t think any of this – the digital speculating or digital warfare – is the fault of technology. Technology simply makes it possible for humans to indulge in their worst impulses at the touch of a button. If humans could learn to use their abilities for the good of mankind, then progress would indeed be a boon. We could learn how to combat hunger, for instance, or disease, we could irrigate deserts and dig wells; we could harness the power of wind and water and preserve the earth.

    It’s not progress or technology which are at fault, it’s what we use them for.

    Leave me my computer; it’s a wonderful tool to speak with friends all over the world, from Scotland to Australia; to get to know them well enough, never to want to do any of them any harm. I have had many prejudices through ignorance removed through this tool and guess what, I am getting to like my fellow man in the shape of bloggers.

    Can’t be a bad thing, can it?

  2. June says:

    I am committed to “progress” insofar as it makes my life more comfortable. I adore that I can buy things without going out and hunting them down. (I grow fatter by the day as I do not move to hunt or gather.)
    I feel no compunction about deploring parts of the interwebs in which I do not participate. A friend and I were sneering, the other day, about Facebook providing people with the illusion of having friendships.

  3. Graham says:

    Hello I must pick you up on a point where you state that “Violent computer games leading to violence”, there is no tanagable evidence that they do, I myself play video games and have done so for years ( I’m a 55 year old Grandad now) and i haven’t had the urge ever to become an axe murderer yet.
    Some of the youngsters in my work are amazed that i am an active gamer and I’ve given many of them a rum for their money over the years playingagainst them on line.
    Where the problem is, is with parent not supervising what their offspring are playing seems some parents can’t say no these days.

  4. chris says:

    Can’t agree – and I’m sure these trading practices preceded the internet. They used phones then …
    Besides, without the internet you wouldn’t be able to Hang Out over Evening Prayer with all these lovely people, now – would you?
    It’s just people, after all.

  5. freda says:

    Thanks for the interesting comments. Graham, two of my sons are into fantasy games, so I know widespread generalisations are not right, it’s just the whole concept of them turning into a reality that harms others that has to be guarded against. I also agree with you about the need for supervision of young people.

    Chris, Oh how I would miss Online Evening Prayer, last night I was getting in a bit of a flap about the new link, and was very grateful once I was ready to join in.

    Friko, you are gaining a goodly number of commentators, obviously lots of people value your writing. Technology makes all of this possible so I am committed to its development.

    Some parts of the internet are no-go areas for me as well, June, though facebook is not one of them. I learn more about my family from their postings and enjoy having the contact with the grandchildren.

  6. Dianne says:

    Provocative and wonderful post today Freda. I agree with Friko. Humans do whatever happens. Humans choose to use violent games. Humans choose to wage war. I don’t think it is more moral to use an airplane to bomb a city than a drone.

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