Douglas Adams on technology novelty

Found this quote in Jeff Jarvis’ Public Parts, from Douglas Adams’ How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet, published in Sunday Times in 1999:

I suppose earlier generations had to sit through all this huffing and puffing with the invention of television, the phone, cinema, radio, the car, the bicycle, printing, the wheel and so on, but you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this:

1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

This is a surprisingly good explanation of a lot of things, and certainly something that should be taken into account by anyone trying to design policy to deal with technology.

What a pity that Douglas Adams died so young. We could need a lot more of his razorblade analysis and learned humor.

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