Fear of Computers

One reason I see that we resist many advances is that too many people are afraid it would take them too long to learn new ways of doing things. We concentrate on making new systems easy to learn rather than making them easy to use, though learning them should only take up a small percent of our time. The simplest use of the glove type of "keyboard" might be about as hard to learn as American Sign Language, and might follow a similar format. It's no harder to learn a new keyboard than a new language or a new program. We put so much effort into learning a difficult, inefficient, outdated, but patched and re-patched one that we're afraid to try another. We talk about computers being intelligent if they can understand English. It would seem that in some ways they're considerably smarter than us, since we're unwilling to learn their simpler language.

Perhaps it's true that many adults will remain unwilling or unable to learn a new keyboard. But should we continue to saddle our kids with antique systems? I think the best beginning market for many innovative devices is kids who play computer games. But it takes progressive parents to see that the long-term cost/benefit ratios of better computer interfacing are potentially a lot better than those for school classrooms.

Many people are also afraid that if they make too good a connection with the computer, it'll begin to control them, and they'll become part of it. Perhaps this is a possibility. I think it's a matter of who has the stronger will, the person or the computer (or the pro- grammar or the boss). I see it more as the computer becoming a part of me.

Many of us wear hats and clothing which are more symbols than functional, and jewelry which is by definition only decorative. Glasses are not considered attractive. What do we have against wearing something useful?

Of course for many who work in a rat race type office, this will merely be a new skill they have to learn, with the benefits going to the boss. Also, I'm somewhat concerned that some innovations help big computers and big businesses more than small ones, and the military establishment more than people. But my philosophy says that the good shall prevail, eventually. With more powerful tools, both good and evil will be enhanced. The non-viable, anti- life/love/truth entities and activities will destroy themselves about as fast as they develop. With luck, they won't destroy us at the same time. Those who are seduced by the rat-race become tools themselves, rather than people.

Send me your thoughts.
Dan Robinson, danrob@efn.org, Eugene, Oregon
My home page: http://www.efn.org/~danrob/