Sunday Story #4: Howard Rheingold

“Technologies evolve in the strangest ways. Computers were created to calculate ballistics equations, and now we use them to create amusing illusions. Creating amusing illusions is a big business if you play it right.” (50)

Howard Rheingold, an author and professor at Cambridge University, states in this quote how technology has become more and more appealing to the public. In his video, he explains how this appeal to the audience is not an expression of altruistic behavior on behalf of the company, but a marketing tactic used to benefit them. The companies are doing whatever they can in order to gain the trust of the public because of their own self-interest. Companies like Amazon have features that allow their customers to give feedback or reviews on product and whether or not they were satisfied and therefore it builds trust with future buyers. This form of trust with the consumer can easily make the person addicted to whatever the company has to offer because they found a way to advertise and appeal to them. However this method Rheingold describes as being one that’s all about greed in business and not building a relationship with the consumer. He describes computers as being something that is going to be in everyone’s hands one day and that we will carry around our own miniature desk tops, and that is what I consider now to be our cell phones. This addiction to technology is also an addiction to knowledge. Maybe he considers it an illusions because we tend to believe all the false information the internet provides us with in order for these companies to make a profit from it.

Why is our growing capitalist economy harmful to the consumer if it does help us advance while benefiting the companies that create these illusions of being trustworthy?

The illusion being created is the fact that we think that we gain from capitalist behavior.

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