One of the questions being raised in social conversations – over digital means – with friends in different countries is whether the acceleration of digitalization brought about by the pandemic’s constraints might not, in fact, be influencing those of us of a certain age to think like Luddites. This sentence could probably have been framed better but I’m learning as I write to search for magic and music that its the flow that matters more than the perfection of the craft. Let it be, as Paul sang Mary said to him.
Until now the digital divide has been categorized as the Haves and the Have Nots, with the latter being lower income less literate peoples of the global South without infrastructure and systems to affordably access technology – particularly Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Today I wonder whether we’ll see the emergence in the future of a different flavour of digital divide, with the rise of the Want Nots. Or the So Far and No Furthers.
That is, where do we draw the line to push back on the encroaching digitalization of our humanity? Assumptions – explicit and implicit – begin with the premise that this is an inevitable trend and it has no end.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~ Arthur C. Clarke
Is this the magic I want to manifest, asks the aging engineer who has worked hard to make things in the real world for all his life?
Is magic the search for manipulation and control of humanity, asks the technologist a generation younger?
Can we pause and ask if this is the only one way to “progress” says the grandmother who picked up a digital brush 40 years ago?
The people beginning to question the technological dominance of human are not those who have had little experience of technology or less exposure to digitalization. In fact, for most of them these questions arise after the swamping of their daily life with nothing but digital tools and ICT in all shapes and forms.
As life long innovators and early adopters, they better than most are aware of recent developments and the directions of research. Perhaps its this greater awareness that has caused them to pause and question where things are going so fast that one has not had a chance to catch breath nor to ask the questions that need to be answered. I have seen questions raised in all fora and in numerous articles, blogs, and tweets. What I haven’t seen are any real answers.
Maybe then Opt-Out will come to mean more than just unchecking the radio button for a newsletter.