Technological predeterminism.

I was talking to my dad yesterday about technology, how clever it is, where it is heading, and how important it is that more people get involved in making informed decisions about what we do with it. He asked me “If you had a seven year old child now what would you tell them?”.

I said that I would do what I had done with my two kids already. Talk about what I know, notice the things I notice, get excited about the things that I believe will make the world a better place, and let them watch me using the various devices to their full capacity.

He had expected me to tell the seven year old what it all means and what they should do with it. But I am very wary of this sort of idealism. I have no idea what is going to happen. I have no idea what technology will be used for. I would have no idea what aspirations and skills my child might have. Any attempts I might make to “steer” them in any particular direction are almost certain to backfire.

Sadly as societies we are still driven by the idea that we should know, and should be in control of, our futures rather than arming ourselves with as much knowledge as we can and training ourselves to react in the moment to the situations that present themselves.

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