The article makes alot of points, but I think it jumps around a little. It seems to start out on one topic and switch to another. The first being a fear of technology, and the second being being growing old and being less adaptable to technology. I’ll take on each of these individually.
The idea of fearing new technology as Wilson mentions is a popular topic in media. I think he takes that a little out of context. I always saw those types of movies on it’s face as a fear of technology, but moreso as a general fear of the unknown. No real difference from fear of the unknown. Godzilla had more things coming from the unknown depths of the ocean, earth, and space then technology. Considering that we interact with technology every day, it’s understandable that it will come up so much. Something in technology has the chance to come up and change how people live very quickly. I would say I “fear” it about the same way I might fear anything that can force change on you, like government, or your enviroment.
Now onto the main point of his argument. Why do old people hate technology? I think he makes a few good points, but also a few too many generalizations. The idea of children creating schema, trying them and then creating new ones is a sensible statement. But it doesn’t really match the way that someone would interact with technology. The reason that I think this is because while the science and uses of technology can be all logical, so much the interface is arbitrary. It’s some ways it’s not something you can just figure out without somekind of guide, or refrence point.
I’ll make an example. Take for instance a traffic light. If you take someone who has no idea what a traffic light is, or a car for that matter, and put them in front of one by themselves they really have no way of guessing what it does. Red doesn’t intrinsically mean stop. We say it means stop. Give a baby two blocks and he may stack them, but thats not what we are doing. It’s more like giving a baby two blocks, red and blue, and we decided before giving them to the baby that red should be on top and blue should be on bottom. There’s no logic, no trial and error, and the blue block will probbably be on top as much as the red.
This leads to how people interact with technology, and why young people are more adept to it. They are taught more of the arbitrary signals that interface designers use. The “X” in the top right closes the window, all my wordpress navigation tools are a list on the left hand side of the screen, the “format” node has a selection programming and if i click the circle next to an option i know it will deselect the current option. These are things that classes in school, the internet, tv, even video game tutorials have taught me. To someone who doesn’t have these “rosseta stones” to help translate the foriegn language of technology it doesn’t actually mean anything. Here’s a clip from the latest Southpark where the adults learn how to play Minecraft that I think sums it up.
While there have been great strides in this ,most notably being GUI, alot of technology is lacking that teaching element. As the article says, “Zuckerberg didn’t create Facebook for people with kids and mortgages”. This argument that you lose adaptablity with age is a big leap. If me and my dad were to both play a shooting video game, what sounds like a better argument for why I know that red barrels explode when you shoot them and he doesn’t? The fact that I have played 20 games that have exploding red barrels, or the fact that he was born before me? I can’t really say how I will feel about new technology when I’m older, but if given a convenient opportunity to keep up to date with the changing language; I think, i would use it.