A Technological Messiah

I believe you will have to concede that what ails us, what causes us the most misery and pain – at both cultural and personal levels – has nothing to do with the sort of information made accessible by computers. The computer and its information cannot answer any of the fundamental questions we need to address to make our lives more meaningful and humane. The computer cannot provide an organizing moral framework. It cannot tell us what questions are worth asking. It cannot provide a means of understanding why we are here or why we fight each other or why decency eludes us so often, especially when we need it the most. The computer is, in a sense, a magnificent toy that distracts us from facing what we most needed to confront – spiritual emptiness, knowledge of ourselves, usable conceptions of the past and future. Does one blame the computer for this? Of course not. It is, after all, only a machine. But it is presented to us, with trumpets blaring…as a technological messiah.

[Added emphasis; Full Article: Neil Postman, German Informatics Society, 11 Oct 90, Stuttgart]

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