The mission of The Technoskeptic is to promote awareness, critical thinking, and social change around the use and impact of technology on society and the environment.
The Technoskeptic, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit corporation which produces a magazine, podcast, and events exploring the intersection of technology and society from a humanistic perspective. In pursuing our mission, we aspire to serve as a resource, build community, and change culture.
The Technoskeptic was first imagined in 2013, partially in response to the Edward Snowden revelations of that year. The website and initial content was developed by 2015, and our podcast debuted later that year. The trademark and public launch (coinciding with weekly site updates) occurred in early 2016. In fall of 2018, we celebrated the rollout of our print edition and our incorporation.
There is no question that technology has brought us tantalizing gifts that have radically transformed human civilization. Technology has given us a cure for polio, rapid transit, indoor plumbing, the loom, windmills, and even the letterforms that you are parsing to read this sentence. Technology has also given us global warming, the death of Main Street America, nuclear weapons, light pollution, outsourcing, obesity, and an Orwellian surveillance state.
It’s easy to look at technology—which touches almost every single experience we have—as a neutral entity that can be used for good or ill. It’s also easy to look at it as inevitable. But at some point, it bears asking whether technology might more resemble a drug. If so, can the addicted be trusted to make rational choices? What if instead of blindly riding the wave of futurism, we actually took on the responsibility to consider the latest developments from a holistic perspective and make conscientious decisions about whether and how they should be adopted?
At The Technoskeptic, we don’t hate technology. If that were true, we’d be walking to your house barefoot to deliver this magazine as an epic poem. But we approach it with caution. We may not individually agree on which technologies are and aren’t worthwhile. But we do agree that this sense of inevitability, this sense of serial acquiescense to what technologists insist is progress, needs to be halted. We encourage you to join us. Think before you adopt. Make informed choices. Understand history. Broaden your scope of perception. People may consider us naysayers or Luddites, and that’s fine. We are not trying to be balanced because the scale is already 1000-1 tilted in favor of new technology. So consider us a tiny voice for reason, for humanism, for thoughtfulness. If enough tiny voices join together we could be a mighty choir. Which, we must regrettably admit, is also a technology.
Board of Directors:
Art Keller | Elizabeth Brunner | Mo Lotman
We’re always looking for more contributors! Send us a message via our contact page or at info@thetechnoskeptic com with a link to some samples of your work and some ideas of what you’d like to write about.
The Technoskeptic does not allow comments on our site. We encourage people interested in sharing their opinions to write a letter to the editor or even start discussion groups. The reason for this is that we believe comments sections tend to devalue the content to which they refer. They also often descend into off-topic ranting and bullying. Our contributors carefully consider what to report and spend hours researching and writing their articles, which are then edited. Comments, even lovely ones, are rarely written with such care, and we believe it is unfair to give them equal status and exposure.
We’d love to change the conversation, and ultimately behavior, around technology and its role in society. It’s admittedly a lofty goal, but one we find necessary as the arc of technology and the ingredients for fulfillment and community seem to be heading more clearly in opposite directions. Perhaps we’re like the anti-smoking movement in the 1960s—facing tremendous odds and well-funded foes, but with a long-term potential to create mainstream recognition and a major societal shift.
Wherever possible, we try to provide links to supplementary material outside of the articles. This is due to the fact that links within articles, whether you click them or not, tend to distract the reader, as described in Nicholas Carr’s excellent book The Shallows.
The Technoskeptic is available in both online and offline formats. Our print edition launched in the fall of 2018, and print versions of most online articles are available for download by subscribers. We encourage people to read offline where possible. There has been research showing that reading on paper results in better comprehension and retention. That said, we’re not totally against everything available on the Internet—it happens to be great at disseminating information. It’s also important to reach the audience that is currently only online in hopes of changing behavior. We’d ultimately like to change the dynamics of how the Internet is used to make it a more positive influence on society. That includes using it a lot less overall. If our website becomes obsolete because people everywhere stop going online, we’d be thrilled.