“Technology… is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other”. — C.P. Snow, physicist and novelist.
“Don’t be evil” — (unofficial) Google positioning statement.
“We call this a shakedown where I come from. And that, my friends, is the new boss. If you hated the record companies, they were Mother Theresa compared to this crowd.” — Chris Castle, music and copyright lawyer, commenting on Google & YouTube.
“In conclusion we could say that music is more alive than ever before, that piracy is a tool to build a fan-base, and that the times when the music industry could dictate what we were listening to are over.” — Ernesto, editor Torrentfreak.
“These devices (MP3 players) are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it,” Doug Morris, Universal Music Group Chariman (2007).
” For a music fan (Napster) was amazing.. 1- all the music 2-amazingly easy to use 3-free…if we had put up a toll booth and just charged everyone then, we might have a bigger online business now.” – Jonathan Daniel, Crush Artist Management.
“True information does good.” – Julian Assange, Wikileaks.
“There are no morals about technology at all. Technology expands our ways of thinking about things, expands our ways of doing things. If we’re bad people we use technology for bad purposes and if we’re good people we use it for good purposes.” — Herbert Simon, mathematician and social scientist.
Final Take: I had a conversation with my wife today about technology and morality. I think technology is an absolutely neutral tool, more akin to a hammer than to any kind of ideology. I’m sure I heard the analogy somewhere along the line…that technology, like a hammer, can either drive in a nail or bash in a head. It gets things done, good or bad.
My wife wasn’t so sure. She was it pains to categorize technology as “mixed, but not neutral”. She went on — “Wouldn’t it be immoral if the human brain devolved over-time and we found ourselves to be completely dependent imbeciles. Are we not men?” My wife, she is funny. And she is prone to a vintage new wave reference, when it serves her purpose.
You hang around the Digital Music water-cooler, passions regarding technology also run high. Discussions about cloud music, piracy, Google, and especially Apple routinely get heated. Steve Jobs plus the cloud will save the music business. Steve Jobs is draconian and hell-bent on the destruction of Artists, Labels & Publishers. You’ve heard it all before, I know.
For me, the interesting thing is that even though we are twelve (12!) years past the debut of Napster, these discussions inevitably take on a moral as well as a financial component. It’s understandable — the Recording Industry has been practically halved. It has been painful for many in the Label, Publishing & Artist Management areas.
For me, it’s pretty clear. I think technology is amazing. It has made my musical experiences richer, my career more interesting, yet it wreaks havoc every day with any preconceptions I have about what might happen next.
The way that we weren’t is what we’ll become — Devo.