Re: Anti-singularity spam.

From: BillK (
Date: Thu Apr 13 2006 - 12:30:26 MDT

On 4/13/06, micah glasser wrote:
> Of course I haven't read the book - but that phrase ""the Internet and the
> PC are not that big a deal". And neither was Gutenberg's press or the Wright
> brother's airplane. Seriously, anyone who would make such a ridiculous
> statement is either a calculating sensationalist or an idiot.

As usual, Google is your friend.
It looks as though Seidensticker isn't an idiot or a sensationalist.
Although of course he wants to sell his new book. :)

Much of what he says in this interview resonates with me, as I also
have little time for the people who constantly chase after the latest
'must-have' gadget, phone, dvd, game, etc.


What's wrong with new technologies?

The biggest problem is the hidden cost. When you buy a computer, you
are not actually buying just the computer—you are purchasing
computerization. I just bought a laptop, and I'll probably get rid of
it in two years. So, I spend about $500 per year on laptops. But the
actual cost of having the laptop is about 10 times that. We often
forget the other costs: software, updating software, learning to use
the new software, self-support, peer support. We spend about $300
billion per year just for time spent tweaking, adjusting, and learning
to use our computers.

Is this an age of unprecedented technology growth?

Technology is changing. But it has been changing for centuries, and we
often misperceive that our change is faster than previous periods. For
example, in the 40 years that preceded the building of the Empire
State Building, the record skyscraper height increased by a factor of
4. In the next 40 years, that factor didn't increase at all. We saw an
explosive growth in the field of civic engineering. Then that growth
faded into a period of maturity for construction of dams, skyscrapers,
and telephone grids. We saw a similar explosion with the Internet, but
that too is fading into the background and will be replaced by
something else.


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