Certainly this term has come to be used
those who have concerns about new technologies and their use. But as with most aspects of history
, it is written by the winners.
The Frame Breaking Act was written by the British Parliament--in 1812 not any bastion of the common man--and was used to put down opposition to the then new technology; parliament was dominated by those who gained by the use of this technology.
Today, similarly, the term is used to remove from public debate those who call for even a reasonable examination of the technology, the uses to which it is put, the ends to which it is directed, and those who will benefit.
Technology is not neutral, not in its devising, not in its use, not in its effects. Coupled with the thing itself, is a whole mentality, a whole ideology of looking past
fantasy future in which all will be well--utopia.
Until that veil is rent, until the sweet seductions of the thing are revealed, we will all be subject to the tyranny of the machine.
More can be found on this use of language and ideology by the victors of history, and the powers that be in:
David F. Noble
Progress Without People
New Technology, Unemployment, and the Message of Resistance
Published by between the lines in 1995
outlawpoet makes several interesting points, and I won't be able to address them all, but I'll try to confront one or two.
I'm certainly not talking about living in some kind of romantic utopia of the past, any more than I am talking of ignoring the present for the future. Was the barbaric, short-lived, violent, and sense-less life referred to above the consequence of the lack of technology? Is the life many in the world today live any less barbaric, violent, and sense-less because there is technology?
And the people who know what they are talking about, as opposed to you or I, don't they have a vested interested interest in introducing the very things we are talking about, regardless of their being either harmless, or malignant.
As for unemployment figures, since the fifties, when I was born, the acceptable rate for letting people rot without work has risen: full employment was considered about 2
or 3% unemployed then, rising to at least 4 or 5% today. And there are more people today than then.
As for figures, there are, of course, lies, damn lies, and statistics.
There is an observation, whose author escapes me at the moment, which goes, in the early part of the twentieth century, when electrification changed the way we live, and think, not nearly everybody was employed in the electrical industries, or is now.
This observation can be generalized to any innovative technology. For all the hype, from those who will gain by them
, no new technology will be the panacea for our needs: not for work, nor for our spirit, not for our bodies.
We must be clear-eyed about anything whose promises seem too good to be true.