Will We Start Rejecting Technology?

At PJ Media, I write more about how the Internet ruins lives and is doing so more frequently. I consider two conceivable reactions in the future: either people will reject digital technology to some degree (though not completely) or they will push for more stringent privacy legislation for the web, such as that in Europe.

Here’s a taste:

Though the Internet has been an important feature of our civilization for years, we are all still figuring out how to cope with its effect on our society, personal lives, and livelihoods. As technology improves, it presents us with new social and ethical problems, which we can never resolve before the new set of problems arrives. The backlog is now evident. At every level of our existence we are thinking about, and often despairing of, technology’s encroachment. You can, if you wish, dismiss this as the hand-wringing of Luddites, but we are still not any closer to answering these valid questions. Each week, for instance, a different writer warns about what automation will eventually do to the global economy, offering dark Victorian scenarios of mass unemployment. Entire industries are dying. Media companies still really don’t know how to make money in the Internet age, despite years of trying different models.

At a more personal level, people are now genuinely frightened of what social media could do to their lives. There is little room for error. An unfashionable view, a careless phrase, an interaction with the “wrong” person, a tasteless joke, a slip-up in politically correct terminology—all could mean consignment to the pile of the unemployed and unemployable. Do you think that Alberto Iber, the (former) principal of a high school in Miami, thought he’d lose his job simply for saying that a white police officer acted appropriately in a recent confrontation with a black teenager?

What do you think?

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