What are the limits of technology? Are tech experts overreaching when they attempt to 'reinvent' our lives? Suvojit Chattopadhyay explains why power relations and context still matters.
Here is Kentaro, on his usual beat:
Talented chefs don’t believe their sauteeing skills entitle them to reimagine Web browsers, but talented technologists feel entitled to reimagine cooking, education and everything else.
And on a more serious note:
It’s a world full of trained engineers — and many college dropouts — who cannot be expected to grasp human dynamics any more than political scientists understand Java code. Many brilliant technology leaders have stories of bullying and isolation in their youths that would leave anyone with abiding skepticism of human groups, institutions, cultures. If family dinners and school lunches were painful for you, “disrupting” eating with a venture-capital-backed protein drink like Soylent can seem like liberation
Indeed, technology has become a kinder, gentler variant of so-called trickle-down economics, in which one gives poor schoolchildren iPads and a pat on the back, without altering the toxicity of their work-starved, father-starved, drug-war-ravaged environment
Needless to say, I agree with the larger point. While it may be unfair to call out the unhappy childhood of some prominent tech leaders, it does partly explain why their ‘abiding skepticism’ of human behaviour leads them to place their trust on machines, rather than humans.