Here’s an incomplete list of the paradoxes created by technology:
1. The Internet simultaneously connects people to the world and isolates them.
2. We are doomed to be in a state of information overload and information deficit simultaneously, and there’s nothing we can do about either of them.
3. Computer technology was supposed to give us paperless offices, but it has generated more paper than any preceding technology.
4. Technology creates “symbiotic antagonisms.” As former AT&T CEO Robert Allen once said of Microsoft: “They can be your partner and your enemy at the same time.”
5. Technology can control everything except technology.
6. Innovation enables technology companies to become and stay successful, but the larger they become, the less able they are to innovate.
7. The faster technology gets, the more impatient we get with it when it slows down or malfunctions.
8. The more time-saving devices we have, the less time we have. The logical extension of this is that one day we won’t have to do anything, but we won’t have the time to do it.
(And yes, there’s a book in it.)
A quarter of the world’s population, 1.7 billion people, are already online, so technology will continue to
- Get smaller, faster, cheaper, and easier to use
- Be ubiquitous, unpredictable, and disruptive
- Become more powerful
- Have more control over our lives
But in its ability to help writers research, write, sell, promote, and build communities, technology is both the greatest gift to writers since the printing press and an inexhaustible source of ideas.
More paradoxes welcome.