Moths to the Flame: Round Up the Usual Suspects
Too Many Secrets
Infinite in All Directions
The Power of Ideas
Just Connect
The Bloody Crystal
The Life You Save

The Machine Stumbles
A Creation Unknown
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Round Up the Usual Suspects

It's easy to blame technology for all our problems. After all, it usually is the proximate cause; besides, it can't talk back (at least, not yet). But the fault doesn't lie there. At least with present-day computer systems, the system only does what we tell it to do. One day, if we can get machines to adapt to circumstances without our help, things might be different. But for now we must look elsewhere.

Is our plight perhaps the fault of the technologists who build our machines and tell them what to do? Certainly they must accept some of the blame. They often do something simply because it's fun. Technolust or ego sometimes blinds them to the bad side effects of their inventions. Many times they sign onto a project just to see if it can be done, or to see if they in particular can do it. But most of the time they're only doing what they think they've been told to do.

So maybe it's the fault of the managers who tell the technologists what to do? They also deserve some of the blame. They have a vested interest in controlling their employees and in keeping labor costs low. Their urge to dominate encourages them to devalue human variability. It's better, many managers seem to feel, to know exactly what you're getting, even if the product could sometimes be much better. Fast food comes to mind. But, ultimately, they too are only doing what they think they've been told to do. They're trying to increase profits for their company and its shareholders---perhaps hundreds of thousands of people owning little pieces of the company and interested solely in its profits.

That's you and me.

So, perhaps it's the fault of our leaders and lawmakers who determine the business environment? Surely they should make laws to prevent the pain of change. Losing your job is wrong. Having your job skills reduced is wrong. Being made to feel worthless is wrong. So why don't our lawmakers outlaw these things? But they, too, are only doing what they think they've been told to do. Legislators decide what is to be the law, but voters elect them.

That's you and me.

We're doing this to ourselves. We demand twenty-four hour service, consistency, efficiency, reliability, and high performance. We demand comfort and security and low prices and freedom from want. You and me.

NEXT: Something Under the Bed Is Drooling