If Technology's Beyond Us, We Can Pretend It's Not There?

from the how-things-work dept

Saygin? writes "The author looks at our tendency to accept tech as is without looking into the "black box" that makes the systems run. While he specifically focuses on the recent blackout as the theme of his story, his examples, particularly one about the transition from slide rule to calculator, is more telling of greater trends in society. While he waxes nostalgic at times, his point about our unquestioning acceptance of complex systems upon which we are reliant holds a larger lesson. Only when the lights go out - or email doesn't work - do some start to look a little deeper." A good article, and he's careful to avoid falling into the trap of saying that simpler technology was better - just that we need to be aware of the tradeoffs for more complex technology. He suggests that the increasing "black box" mentality leads to much better technology in terms of performance, but also to more catastrophic failures when things go wrong. Of course, you could make the argument that it's not all due to complexity, but the mindset of keeping technology information proprietary.

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