In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, they proposed three rules that describe our reactions to technologies. The rules are pretty simple, and they seem to fit my experience pretty well.
- Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
- Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
- Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
Of course, knowing and understanding that things often work this way can help you fight against your tendencies. In my case, I find things such as disappearing stories like Snapchat to be “against the natural order of things”, but I realize that’s just my interpretation and that those types of tools are really quite useful for a lot of people.
As time goes on, I suspect my natural inclination will get even more deeply seeded into viewing many new things as “unnatural”, and I’ll need to work hard to avoid that. I’m excited about many coming technologies, and for those I’m less excited about I need to always remember that for my kids they’ll be seen as “new and exciting” and for my grandkids they’ll be “normal and ordinary”.