I fear for the world the Internet is creating. Before the advent of the web, if you wanted to sustain a belief in far-fetched ideas, you had to go out into the desert, or live on a compound in the mountains, or move from one badly furnished room to another in a series of safe houses. Physical reality—the discomfort and difficulty of abandoning one’s normal life—put a natural break on the formation of cults, separatist colonies, underground groups, apocalyptic churches, and extreme political parties. But now, without leaving home, from the comfort of your easy chair, you can divorce yourself from the consensus on what constitutes “truth.” Each person can live in a private thought bubble, reading only those websites that reinforce his or her desired beliefs, joining only those online groups that give sustenance when the believer’s courage flags.
It is best to be the CEO; it is satisfactory to be an early employee, maybe the fifth or sixth or perhaps the tenth. Alternately, one may become an engineer devising precious algorithms in the cloisters of Google and its like. Otherwise, one becomes a mere employee. A coder of websites at Facebook is no one in particular. A manager at Microsoft is no one. A person (think woman) working in customer relations is a particular type of no one, banished to the bottom, as always, for having spoken directly to a non-technical human being. All these and others are ways for strivers to fall by the wayside — as the startup culture sees it — while their betters race ahead of them. Those left behind may see themselves as ordinary, even failures.
I don't know where anyone ever got the idea that technology, in and of itself, was a savior. Like all human-created 'progress,' computers are problematic, giving and taking away.
A computer is a general-purpose machine with which we engage to do some of our deepest thinking and analyzing. This tool brings with it assumptions about structuredness, about defined interfaces being better. Computers abhor error.
Introduced in the 1960s, multitasking is an engineering strategy for making computers more efficient. Human beings are the slowest elements in a system.
Staring prejudice in the face imposes a cruel discipline: to structure your anger, to achieve a certain dignity, an angry dignity.