Saturday, May 21, 2016

Groups who facilitate or benefit from technological illiteracy

Technological illiteracy isn’t a random occurrence; without starting conspiracy theories, there are quite a few identifiable groups of people who participate in and benefit from this state of affairs. Just off the top of my head:

“True believers” really think that if they concentrate enough on the whiteness and maleness of Isaac Newton they won’t die when they fall off a cliff, as long as they self-identify as something other than white and male. Well, maybe not gravity, but there are true believers in a variety of nonsense who think that just because something is virtuous (say Solar Power), it must be immune from the laws of Physics and Economics.

“Dunning-Krugers” consider that anything that isn’t their part of the job, like say engineering and manufacturing, is a trivial point that can be solved in an afternoon, while their part, say choosing the color for the packaging, is a key success factor and must be the most important part of the project. (See: Fontus Water Bottle.)

“People who love science” (as long as they don’t have to learn any) are always looking for ways to virtue signal their love of science, so anything technological which allows them to pretend they’re at the forefront of technology will be eagerly embraced. More so if the right celebrities, especially sciencey celebrities, are behind it. (See: Solar Roadways.)

“Geek-haters” did poorly in science and math class, and they hate the people who actually understand STEM, so when they see a popular product that only geeks complain about they take the opportunity to attack those who did well in STEM. In other words, they see these nonsense products as opportunities for creating friction between the geeks and the general population. (See: Triton Artificial Gills.)

“Early Outs” understand that the product is made of vaporware, hype, and fraud, but they also know that before that’s exposed their share of the company will be sold to the next level of investors so they’ll make a fortune and have no liability, as they will have all sorts of CYA written into the bylaws of the company. (See: Solyndra.)

“Banksters” know how to pass any losses they might have from buying later into the company to their clients or to taxpayers, so they don’t care about the long-term feasibility of any company as long as they get their fees and carry-over trade gains. (See: Dot-com bubble of 2000.)

Probably a few more. Certainly “patient enemies of our nations” would be a possibility, but that would be conspiratorial now…

[Based on a comment I made on this post by Dystopian Science Fiction author Davis Aurini (author of As I Walk These Broken Roads).]