Journal

Responsibility


"With electronic equipment, the facts of physics operate on such a scale that they do not present themselves to immediate experience for the user. The computer "interface" adds another layer of abstraction, as it screens the user also from the human-generated logic of the program running the software. Logic, like physics, is something hard and unyielding. The interface is meant to be "intuitive," meaning that it introduces as little psychic friction as possible between the user's intention and it's realization. It is such resistance that makes one aware of reality as an independent thing. If all goes well, the user's dependence (on programmers who have tried to anticipate his every need when constructing the interface) remains well beneath his threshold of notice, and there is nothing to disturb his self-containment. The expanding empire of electronics covers over the mechanical." -Shop Class as Soulcraft




Mathew Crawford goes on to draw the dichotomy between the days of hand-operated oil pumps on motorcycles to our new European cars that no longer have dipsticks. The responsibility of the welfare of a man's machine was once his own. Now it doesn't really belong to anyone. That's a weird thought, isn't it? The new BMW M5 plays the sound of the exhaust through the speakers. Are these things people actually want?