The Shepherd who Twittered – [Article]

Herdy Shepherd who is a shepherd, & a late Twitter adopter, writes about his experiences with the technology. An engaging read:

If you spend your life working with sheep in the fells (what you’d call mountains) you perhaps don’t really need to be ‘connected’ and you probably don’t have time for, or need to have, fancy techno gadgets in your pocket. Our world is one of mountains, meadows, dry-stone-walls, sheep, sheepdogs and managing the landscape much as our ancestors have done over many centuries (it’s being nominated for World Heritage status because of its unique landscape culture).

Hyperemployment, or the exhausting work of the technology user [Article]

Ian Bogost suggests that we have turned Keynes’ idea of leisure replacing work into a parody

If you’re like many people, you’ve started using your smartphone as an alarm clock. Now it’s the first thing you see and hear in the morning. And touch, before your spouse or your crusty eyes. Then the ritual begins. Overnight, twenty or forty new emails: spam, solicitations, invitations or requests from those whose days pass during your nights, mailing list reminders, bill pay notices. A quick triage, only to be undone while you shower and breakfast.

How Technology is destroying jobs [article]

MIT Sloan School of Management’s Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfree predict that impressive advances in technology have ominous consequences for jobs:

 They believe that rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them, contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in the United States. And, they suspect, something similar is happening in other technologically advanced countries.

Everyone does NOT need to learn to code [Article]

Programmer Chase Felker disagrees with the flavour of our times – the need for everyone to learn to code. He thinks that there is a different, and more pertinent need – the need to think.

 I wonder why people are comfortable with thinking of computers as a scary black box in the first place. Computers do only what people tell them to do, and yet it is absurdly common to hear, “Windows crashed again! Call over the IT guy—it’s so complicated!” So many users do not feel empowered to understand how to use computers well, and I think that the urgency to spread programming is a symptom of this feeling. Perhaps if everyone had some practice telling computers what to do, tech intimidation wouldn’t be so prevalent.

Kids can’t (don’t know) use computers [Article]

Teacher Marc Scott finds, from his experience, that the accepted norm of teenagers being “tech-savvy” is not true. It’s a fairly long article, and Scott makes quite a few propositions, some practical, others not. I agree with him whole-heartedly on this point:

Tomorrow’s politicians, civil servants, police officers, teachers, journalists and CEOs are being created today. These people don’t know how to use computers, yet they are going to be creating laws regarding computers, enforcing laws regarding computers, educating the youth about computers, reporting in the media about computers and lobbying politicians about computers. Do you thinks this is an acceptable state of affairs? 

It’s not an unique phenomenon: history is replete with these examples whenever new technology has gone mainstream (cars, printing, etc). But will we learn from history?

The owners of the future [Articles]

Jaron Lanier, author of  “Who owns the future?”, says we’re being enslaved by free information. He explains in this interview.

Evgeny Morozov takes the opposite view – he thinks there are many simpler ways to protect the middle classes. Pushing technology companies to provide better working conditions — it was only last year that Amazon agreed to install air conditioning in its warehouses — and closing numerous tax loopholes would be a good start. Lanier’s solution, alas, is an odd and unfortunate distraction.