Wednesday, October 26, 2011

being the tool of the tool

This is a wonderful column. Go read it. Let it help you think about how technology is NOT helping you.

I don't have an iphone, though I have coveted them. This article makes me reconsider the ways I am already enslaved by the thing that are supposed to "help" me.


  1. Not only is there our metaphorical enslavement to the devices that you refer to, but the pretty much literal slavery of those who assemble the devices. Just minutes before seeing your post here, I read the NY Times review of "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," a theatrical monologue by Mike Daisey. The NYT reviewer says the show "is a mind-clouding, eye-opening exploration of the moral choices we unknowingly or unthinkingly make when we purchase nifty little gadgets like the iPhone and the iPad and the PowerBook." This reviewer writes:

    "But the show is most engrossing, and most disturbing, when Mr. Daisey delves into the grim realities of workers’ lives in Shenzhen, a city that he memorably describes as looking as if “ ‘Blade Runner’ threw up on itself.” Here is where the agony of the title enters the picture.

    The Foxconn campus is tightly controlled, its entrance secured by gun-wielding guards. A series of suicides at the plant several years ago made international headlines. When Mr. Daisey’s attempts to visit through official channels were rebuffed, he simply rented a car and a driver and translator, and showed up at the gates to interview workers as they emerged from their shifts.

    He had to wait quite a while. As he notes, while the official Chinese workday is 8 hours, the norm at Foxconn is more like 12 and even longer when the introduction of a product is at hand. One worker died after a 34-hour shift. Some of the workers he meets are as young as 13, and because of the repetitive nature of the labor, their hands often become deformed and useless within a decade, rendering them unemployable."

    ( )

  2. This is something I've been thinking about a lot... how I really am enslaved to information and interaction, much of which is shallow and meaningless. (And I don't even have an iPhone!) What in me craves this distraction from the real, the present? Thank you for sharing this. It challenges me even more. Lord, have mercy.