Sadly, there’s not one person alive today who can tell us about the day the wheel was invented, but if that early discovery was anything like subsequent human inventions, you can be sure there was at least one person warning about the negative impact such a contraption would have on our early ancestors.Speaking out against technology may be a pastime for oddballs, but it is important to remember that moving forward isn’t always the same as progressing.
In 1965, Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson, two radio astronomers at Bell Labs, were looking for bird poo. That wasn’t what they’d planned to look for that day, but it was what they believed was getting in the way of them collecting meaningful data from their experiment. No matter which direction they pointed their antenna, there was a constant noise humming in the background…
Monderman had replaced fake clarity with real confusion, forcing drivers to slow down, think and solve the problem of traffic accidents by themselves. He’d undone years of traffic engineering work that had separated drivers and pedestrians, work that had created an illusion of safety that proved dangerous.
But what do we actually have to show for the crowd’s toil, years later? As recovering digital evangelist Jaron Lanier points out in his book You Are Not A Gadget, if 15 years ago he’d told people that all we’d have to show for this revolutionary approach to problem solving would be a new type of encyclopedia (Wikipedia) and an adapted operating system (Linux), people wouldn’t have been too impressed