Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature.
To be unaware that a technology comes equipped with a program for social change, to maintain that technology is neutral, to make the assumption that technology is always a friend to culture is, at this late hour, stupidity plain and simple. Moreover, we have seen enough by now to know that technological changes in our modes of communication are even more ideology-laden than changes in our modes of transportation. Introduce the alphabet to a culture and you change its cognitive habits, its social relations, its notions of community, history and religion. Introduce the printing press with movable type, and you do the same. Introduce speed-of-light transmission of images and you make a cultural revolution. Without a vote. Without polemics. Without guerilla resistance. Here is ideology, pure if not serene. Here is ideology without words, and all the more powerful for their absence. All that is required to make it stick is a population that devoutly believes in the inevitability of progress.
~ Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
I’ve always been interested in technology. When I was very young, I would come up with designs for things like time machines, and my parents would very seriously engage with me in conversation schedule and when it was going to go live, which I think was so important because it ingrains in you a belief that you can do whatever you set your mind to. I started my first company when I was in high school. I was already interested in building a company because I saw it as a vehicle for making a difference in the world. Ever since then, it’s been about figuring out how to realize that dream and working really, really hard.
I always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics… Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities and science, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do.