18. März 2005

[ Information , La vie , Technologie ]

Neil Postman: Informing Ourselves To Death

Informing Ourselves To Death (Biblionetz-Eintrag) ist eine ganz bemerkenswerte Rede von Neil Postman, die er 1990 bei der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Informatik gehalten hat.

Postmans Buch Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, das mir Gabriela Avram zu meinem letzten Geburtstag geschenkt hat, habe ich gerade zu Ende gelesen.

Postman spricht über die Bedeutung von Computern:

The computer is an answer to the questions, how can I get more information, faster, and in a more usable form? These would appear to be reasonable questions. But now I should like to put some other questions to you that seem to me more reasonable. Did Iraq invade Kuwait because of a lack of information? If a hideous war should ensue between Iraq and the U.S., will it happen because of a lack of information? If children die of starvation in Ethiopia, does it occur because of a lack of information? Does racism in South Africa exist because of a lack of information? If criminals roam the streets of New York City, do they do so because of a lack of information?
I believe you will have to concede that what ails us, what causes us the most misery and pain -- at both cultural and personal levels -- has nothing to do with the sort of information made accessible by computers. The computer and its information cannot answer any of the fundamental questions we need to address to make our lives more meaningful and humane. The computer cannot provide an organizing moral framework. It cannot tell us what questions are worth asking. It cannot provide a means of understanding why we are here or why we fight each other or why decency eludes us so often, especially when we need it the most. The computer is, in a sense, a magnificent toy that distracts us from facing what we most needed to confront -- spiritual emptiness, knowledge of ourselves, usable conceptions of the past and future.

Er schließt mit Henry David Thoreau: All our inventions are but improved means to an unimproved end. (Die Wikipedia verrät mir gerade, dass Thoreau Ralph Waldo Emerson kannte, den ich hier auch schon zitiert hatte.)

Es lohnt sich, die komplette Rede zu lesen.

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Das E-Business Weblog  zitiert Neil Postman:"The computer and its information cannot answer any of the fundamental questions we need to address to make our lives more meaningful and humane." Unter Freunden haben wir das Problem vor kurzem ...

BLOGGEN ????: Neil Postman (19.03.05 19:50)