As I was sitting in the airport the other day I was thinking about the fact that we seem to hate people who use modern technology, somehow viewing them as antisocial, while viewing people who are using older technology as somehow better. Think about it. If you see someone sitting alone reading a book you don't think anything negative about her. She's smart. She's clever. She's making good use of her time. If we take the book out of her hand and replace it with the latest model of smartphone, suddenly our heads fill with negative thoughts. She's disengaged. She's antisocial. She's aloof. Why is that? A book is older technology that allows its wielder to disengage from the surroundings. Before the invention of the printing press socialization was a given if you wanted some entertainment or education. You had to get it from someone else through live interaction. After the invention of the printing press and the widespread availability of reading material, the literate could get their entertainment and education without interacting with anyone else. You could be alone in the corner with your book and free to think whatever thoughts you wanted to think.
Cut to modern times. A person with an mp3 player is getting entertainment or education without having to interact with anyone else. It's a private activity in the same way that holding a book or pen and paper is a private activity. The person with the mp3 player is considered antisocial, wanting to tune the world out. The person with the book or pen and paper has only positive associations. A person who is holding a smartphone and reading live news being posted from halfway around the world is disengaged. The person holding a newspaper is discerning and informed. Someone typing into his smartphone is doing something negative. Someone writing something onto a pad of paper is doing something positive. Even in the workplace the use of modern technology is frowned upon. Employers don't mind if you spend your spare time chatting at the watercooler or at the coffeemaker, or if you read a magazine on your break, but spending that same amount of time surfing the web or chatting via IM is viewed negatively.
Why do we hate the use of modern technology?