The Skeptic and the Technophile

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The Skeptic and the Technophile We are now living in a modern, technological and informative society where people can hardly avoid getting in touch with technology in daily life. With regard to the development and use of technology, people have different attitudes. Neil Postman, a skeptic of technology, and Nicholas Negroponte, a technophile both delivered their thinking respectively in their book, Technopoly and Being Digital. Technology is both friend and enemy, and Postman focuses more on the enemy side. His overall attitude towards technology is that the uncontrolled growth of technology destroys the vital sources of our humanity. It creates a culture without a moral foundation. It undermines certain mental processes and social relations that make human life worth living. (Postman, 1993) Postman defines technopoly as a "totalitarian technocracy", which demands the "submission of all forms of cultural life to the sovereignty of technique and technology". However, Negroponte is very optimistic about technology although he knows technology has dark side, and he makes many predictions for the future development of media and technology. He states that the change from atoms to bits is irrevocable and unstoppable. (Negroponte, 1995, p.4) Postman charges that technology introduces new words and changes the meaning of old words without elaboration. What’s more, the benefits of a new technology are not distributed equally. There are winners and losers. For example some people may make money from implementation of a new technology while other people will lose their jobs because of new technology. Negroponte also admits that as we move toward such a digital world, an entire sector of the population will be or feel disenfranchised and there would a gap between the information-rich and the information-poor. But being digital gives more cause for optimism and it will make
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