In Postman’s essay, he begins by introducing three types of societies/cultures. The first one is the tool-using culture, the second is considered a technocracy and the third is called a technopoly. He goes on to say that each type of society can be found somewhere on our planet in the present time, but one must look a little deeper to find the tool-using culture, as it is beginning to fade. The central idea I believe that Postman focuses on, is that technology’s effect on many cultures vary, despite its intentions and the significant ways it intrudes on systematic beliefs and world views. For example, in the tool-using cultures, many people used their tools for of of two things: solving urgent problems of physical life or to serve the symbolic world of art, politics and religion. Tools were not, under any circumstances, to interfere with man’s appreciation and integrity for his culture. Technocracies came after which slowly but surely started to impede on the spread of tradition and religious views. These societies in particular, started to eventually break away from the traditional values set in place by its predecessors and became more driven to invent and create, therefore depending more on technology. People even started to discredit the ideas of their fellow man, and found more validity and credibility in technology. Technopolies came in last and can simply be described as being a “totalitarian technocracy,” meaning, not only does this society impeded on traditional values, but it redefines them and in some cases, eradicates them.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece because it tells the tale of the current world we live in. A point that jumped out to me was when Postman started explaining the fact that people were beginning to have more faith in machines than in their fellow man. He describes that Taylor’s book The Principles of Scientific Management, explains that human labor and thought is efficiency, but also that technical calculations are far more superior to human judgement. Taylor felt this way because humans are imperfect and subject to error. He felt that human judgement can be clouded by a lot of biases, vagueness and unnecessary complexity. I agree 100% with this view, because in the world as we know it, people oftentimes come second to technology. For instance, when taking a math test, one may know for a fact 2 plus 2 equals 4, but just for confirmation, no matter how simple the problem was, a person may use a calculator to be certain that there is no error. During a conversation, a person may make a brazen proclamation, but there will always be naysayers who fill probably do a Google search to verify such statements or assumptions. Technology, in a way, has become our masters even though that was never the intent. With that in mind, Postman did say that technology was unpredictable. It’s truly sad and unfortunate that the creator has become the student, and the creation has become the teacher. If we only truly understood the depths of our mind and regain control, we can successfully integrate technology and still have full trust in our fellow man.