The Age of Professions will be remembered as the time when politics withered, when voters guided by professors entrusted to technocrats the power to legislate needs, the authority to decide who needed what, and a monopoly over the means by which those needs should be met.

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People working in the field of social media bear a particular responsibility for imagining, interrogating and forming this new world that is just beginning, for what use is our insatiable appetite for connectivity, our constant embrace of new tools, our perpetually self-reflecting conversation, if not for the job of shaping this new world with some degree of insight and deliberateness.

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“Only connect?” E.M. Forster had it backwards. Only disconnect.

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I used to be a human being. An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images has rendered us manic information addicts. It broke me. It might break you, too.

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Without the oxygenating breath of the forests, without the clutch of gravity and the tumbled magic of river rapids, we have no distance from our technologies, no way of assessing their limitations, no way to keep ourselves from turning into them.

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She really looked at the way power weaves its way through technology...as a set of social practices. .....and that has been something that has really influenced everything that I've thought about technology. ....the only thing that makes technology journalism worth doing, to me, is the notion that if we think critically about it and we talk about the politics of it, that we can get better at it and we can democratize technologies and we can think more creatively about their impacts, instead of what we normally do, which is to say 'well the genie's out of the bottle! there's nothing we can do about it now!" So the notion that you could think critically about it and there could be a sociology of technology, a political theory about technology.....but also the fact that she was Canadian and a scientist and a woman, all together, were very powerful for me.

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In my head, the design imperative that we need to prioritize is clear: Develop social, technical, economic, and political structures that allow people to understand, appreciate, and bridge different viewpoints. Too much technology and media was architected with the idea that just making information available would do that cultural work. We now know that this is not what happened.

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I like to use the phrase ‘my pre-Internet brain’. It’s something I think about often, because I really don’t remember what it was like—and it’s not just me. I was recently in San Francisco, where I used to work for Wired, and none of the Wired people could remember their pre-Internet brains either. All we know is how it feels to think now.

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Computers can be used rather too easily to improve the efficiency with which we lie to ourselves.

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Armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence – those are the three pillars of Western prosperity.

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Computers: They are useless. They can only give you answers.

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Speed is the form of ecstasy the technical revolution has bestowed on man.

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Many technological systems, when examined for context and overall design, are basically anti-people. People are seen as sources of problems while technology is seen as a source of solutions. As a result, people live and work under conditions structured for the well-being of technology even though manufacturers and promoters always present new technologies as liberating.

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Machines are here to stay, or for the time being. They can tend toward our stupefaction or our enlivenment. To me, the choice seems obvious and, once taken, cries out for action.

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Machines, whatever form they take, will be infused with the morals of their masters.

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Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

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Every aspect of human technology has a dark side, including the bow and arrow.

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People who know much more about science than I do have pointed out that we have all the technology we need to live well and solve our present problems. We do not lack the right tools. What we lack is the political will to apply them, to come to grips with very difficult cultural patterns -- especially as this must be done urgently and fairly on a world basis. On the other hand, powerful new technologies such as bio-engineering, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence will inevitably bring new Progress Traps that we cannot foresee.

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If I have one thing I would encourage it’s that technologies aren’t neutral instruments. They have politics. We change them. They change us.

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