It is not enough to be busy. The question is: What are we busy about?
—Henry David Thoreau
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word Luddite as “a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology.” The fascinating genesis of the word dates back to the Industrial Revolution and reveals the complex interrelationship that has always existed among people, work, and technology.
In the early nineteenth century, a group of English textile artisans protested the deployment of labor-saving machinery in cotton and woolen mills. The tools included power looms and stocking and spinning frames. Collectively, these devices posed a threat to the artisans’ livelihoods. Lesser-skilled laborers could now effectively do the same jobs for a fraction of the artisans’ wages. In response, the group destroyed the new machinery. The term Luddite derives from the name of the artisans’ alleged leader, Ned Ludlam.
We can debate the net effects, winners, and losers of the trends described in Chapter 1 ad nauseam. You may find them to be positive, negative, liberating, scary, or some combination of all of the above. Others may very well disagree with you. In a few decades, maybe scientists, anthropologists, psychologists, and neurologists will be able to fully appreciate how the Internet Age has affected us. Yes, you can access the vast quantities of information from your smartphone, but at what cost?
I don’t know ...