In the letter “The younger generation must be heard” (December 29), Yurith considers various groups that influence Cambodian youth. As elsewhere in the world, one potent influence on young people, which grows year by year, is that of the global media, which feeds and is fed by the digital communication revolution.
In the article “Curtain falling on the Digital Decade” in the same edition of The Phnom Penh Post, John Abell, the New York bureau chief of Wired magazine, is quoted as saying, “Even grandmothers and Luddites have [digital] tools and devices ...”
Leaving aside the lamentable ageist and sexist stereotyping of grandmothers, I was interested to note that Mr Abell cited the Luddites.
I am not sure when Luddite became a pejorative term, but its use is generally taken to mean someone who is against all progress.
Great enthusiasts for the Industrial Revolution such as Andrew Ure, author of The Philosophy of Manufactures (1835) that painted such a rosy
picture of child labour, were probably keen to get it into common use, but the Luddites were far from being unthinking machine breakers.
They were essentially against the inappropriate use of new technology rather than against the technology itself.
Young Cambodians should ask the same questions of the way the digital revolution evolves and try to avoid being pushed into seeing developing technology as being a self-evident “good thing”.
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The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.