Cory Doctorow: flyingpenguin Right About Luddites

Cory Doctorow sat in the front row of my talk at a 2018 security conference and asked me some fairly specific questions. I didn’t mind.

It was a nice to see he was there to learn about the topics I frequently write and speak about.

However, when I wrote my blog post in 2020 about a more fair and accurate history of the Luddites, I didn’t really expect him to basically take it and publish it in January 2022 as his own work… without attribution.

In truth, the Luddites’ cause wasn’t the destruction of technology – no more than the Boston Tea Party’s cause was the elimination of tea, or Al Qaeda’s cause was the end of civilian aviation. Smashing looms and stocking frames was the Luddites’ tactic, not their goal.

In truth, their goal was something closely related to science fiction: to challenge not the technology itself, but rather the social relations that governed its use…

In truth, Luddism and science fiction concern themselves with the same questions: not merely what the technology does, but who it does it for and who it does it to.

As someone just pointed out to me, I wrote this exact thing years prior with far more context and detail.

So it goes.

Kudos to those who have read both.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.