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Sat 29 May 2004

The Axemaker's Gift

Category : Commentary/axemaker.txt

I'm starting this book, "The Axemaker's Gift", subtitled "Technology's Capture and Control of Our Minds and Culture" :

"This book is about the people who gave us the world in exchange for our minds. The gifts we accepted from them gave us the power to change the way we lived, but doing so also changed the way we thought. This Faustian bargain was sealed more than a million years ago, but as you will see, the bargain didn't turn out to be quite what either party might have expected.

"We call those with whom we made the bargain "axemakers". But they make more than axes. They make everything. They make our hopes and dreams. They make what we love and what we hate. They make all this, because they make the tools that change our surroundings. And when their innovations are taken up and used, the effect is to shape the world in which we live, the beliefs for which we fight and die, and the values we live by. And our very nature."

And I just read this article at MacNewsWorld, yesterday - "Interface Burdens and Mac Usability" :

"It's generally clear that the tools you use influence the way you think."

"One immediate corollary to the hypothesis that intrusive interfaces affect how we understand the work to be done is that the design assumptions in a tool that dominates a profession should eventually be reflected in nearly all the work done by the people using it. We could speculate, for example, that long-term use of Windows among the architects, engineers and planners working on a building project should eventually produce buildings that feel like physical implementations of the Microsoft Windows interface."

It's scary, the implications of all this Microsoft dominance. It's design @ the speed of stupid. Like Lewis Mumford or Marshall McLuhan would have said, "We shape our tools, and in turn, our tools shape us". (Plse see - "The Understanding Business").

Posted at 4:43AM UTC | permalink


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