Lessons About Technology and the Amish

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Tech writer and Wired magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly has a new book. It’s called “What Technology Wants” — and even more intriguing than the title are the ideas inside. One chapter in particular that’s been getting a lot of buzz is about Amish hackers. Yes, you read that right: The same Amish famed for their barns and bonnets, in fact, know a thing or two about technology.

Kelly joins us to explain more about that, and some other surprising theories about how technology works, and what it wants.


Kevin Kelly

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [1]

Timothy Sauder from New York, NY

I grew up being one of the Amish Hackers that Kevin describes in his book! When I first read Kevin's writings on our technology-evaluation-practices, I was astounded at the depth of his research and understanding. In fact, his unique perspective taught me a lot about my role in my own community that I had never really realized before.
I am not as integrated in my close-knit horse-and-buggy community as I once was; since my latest and most dramatic, "hack" on life is that I'm currently enrolled as an undergrad at Columbia University. Life in NYC is great, but I still maintain close ties with the sharply-contrasted microcosm I came from. I too, just as Kevin does, understand the invaluable insight one can gain on contemporary culture by examining a given technology in a quite different social environment. I guess in some ways such a contrast can serve as a social scientist's independent variable.
I want to testify that Kevin did not sensationalize his observations on the Amish Hacker and I can speak out of first person experience when I say that Kevin knows our culture and he knows it well!
Incidentally, I think his introspect on technology and civilization is fresh, enlightening and a must-read for anyone planning to live in the coming decade and beyond! In less than a decade, Facebook and Google have inextricably integrated themselves into practically all of our lives. So more than ever, we need visionaries like Kevin to help us make sense of "its" agenda.

Nov. 13 2010 11:26 AM

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