the unanticipated positive consequences of technology, Andrew Sullivan edition

Andrew Sullivan, yesterday:

GPS and Google Earth make travel exponentially more interesting, even if that serendipitous wandering around I love so much becomes rarer and rarer.

Me, quoted as ‘a reader’ in Sullivan today:

I actually find that I do more serendipitous wandering now, since I now know that whenever I get tired, bored, or just really, really lost, I can always open my phone and get back to wherever I was supposed to be. That frees me to wander even further and longer down the strange and fascinating roads less traveled. Much recommended…

Relatedly, a post on the unanticipated consequences of broadband in rural Vermont. This link won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has heard me compare broadband to universal schooling and the resulting high literacy rates early in this country’s history- which had a huge number of results that were hard to predict beforehand but also overwhelmingly positive. (I could swear I’ve blogged about that in the past but can’t seem to find it right now, sadly.)

3 thoughts on “the unanticipated positive consequences of technology, Andrew Sullivan edition”

  1. Funny, the numbers I had always heard indicated that compulsory schooling actually dropped the literacy rate, that (white) people were more literate in 1860 than now.

    But perhaps compulsory != universal.

  2. Would love to see a (credible) link on that, particularly one that discusses the correlation/causation problem.

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