Introduction October 15, 2004
According to Wikipedia, a golden hammer is “a tool, technology, paradigm, snake oil, buzzword or similar where its proponents enthusiastically sing its praises, predicting that it will solve multiple problems, including some obviously not amenable to the proposed solution”. In other words, something folks get crazy-go-nuts excited about, perhaps a little prematurely.
It seems to me that an awful lot of new technologies fall into this category. I remember hearing that computers were going to create a paperless office, that the Segway would make cars obsolete and how the Internet would bring about world peace with its inclusion of the diversity of ideas and cultures and so forth. Some folks probably still espouse these kinds of beliefs about their favourite technologies.
There’s nothing wrong with striving for the best and offering solutions to significant problems. The trouble is that people can make any claim they want to about new technology, and other people seem to swallow it hook line and sinker.
We, in the northwestern world, love our new gadgets (physical and ethereal). Whether or not they deliver on their promises. Whether or not they really are useful. I think this can be a problem, and I’m going to use these pages to explore some of the philosophical aspects of current and future technology.