Don’t blame the tools

Tonight, at a dinner for my husband’s firm’s summer program, we were seated with a couple I hadn’t met before who are now my new favorite work-friends of his.  Where have these, smart, funny, fun people been?

Anyhoo, somehow (after a discussion of his dog peeing in his shoes for the past 10 years) our table got on the topic of technology innovation and what it can enable… or rather what has been lost through it.  And there’s the difference in our opinions.

His view:  Technology has made things so easy that younger people — even smart ones — aren’t learning to research and think for themselves. They’ve become fishermen casting a line and assuming whatever they hook and reel back is enough to satisfy. Their goal is to say they’ve done what they’re asked, not what they set out to learn.

My view:  Don’t blame the tools. In every generation, people who have worked and worked hard look at younger up-and-comers and their newer or evolved m.o. and accuse them of not knowing how to do things best or not appreciating what comes with good, clean honest hard work. It’s hard to blame technology for the laziness of humanity when it’s always existed.  People can just be lazy in more cutting edge ways. I truly belive this.  Technology and the ease of connecting, finding, deploying is not to blame — it’s people who will do enough to satifsy what they think are benchmarks, be it a boss’s requset, a friend’s judgement or a lender’s requirements.  People are people. I find myself reminding people of this often when they try to blame social media for people expressing opinions. As if editorial pages, suggesion boxes and even bar stools never existed.

I believe that good, smart people will always utilize tools better than others, and this is no different now than when it was stone tablets. That is not to say others who don’t strive to learn how to research better, who don’t strive to be more than just average anglers off the pier don’t somehow also deserve the fruits of technology. I’m not making an argument for merit or worthiness or value.  I’ve previously stated how technology is best when delivered to mass markets.

I just truly believe that people are people, and we’re universally imperfect… some will use their tools to get the job done, some will use their tools to look like they got the job done, some will fail with the tools they’re given (for sundry reasons) and some will just not even try to use them.

What do you think?

July 24, 2008. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.