Used By Tech­nol­ogy

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I will use technology when I judge it to be in my favor to do so. I resist being used by it. In some cases I may have a moral objection. But in most instances, my objection is practical, and reason tells me to measure the results from that point of view. Reason also advises me to urge others to do the same. An example: When I began teaching at NYU, the available instruments of thought and teaching were primitive. Faculty and students could talk, could read, and could write. Their writing was done the way I am writing this chapter—with a pen and pad. Some used a typewriter, but it was not required. Conversations were almost always about ideas, rarely about the technologies used to communicate. After all, what can you say, except that you’ve run out of ink? I do remember a conversation about whether a yellow pad was better than a white pad. But it was inconclusive.

Neil Postman