This quote from Douglas Adams came up during a radio interview with Baroness Greenfield who has been currently wittering on about computers probably rotting our brains, albeit with a complete lack of evidence or research to back up her “chilling warnings”.
I suppose earlier generations had to sit through all this huffing and puffing with the invention of television, the phone, cinema, radio, the car, the bicycle, printing, the wheel and so on, but you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this:
1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;
2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.
Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are.
And I think it sums up brilliantly the way a lot of people approach any kind of modern technology – including Interactive Whiteboards, online learning etc etc.
And if you’re interested, Ben Goldacre over at the brilliant Bad Science blog has a nice rebuttal of Baroness Greenfields warning.