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Luddites: What are They and Why Do They Matter?

Luddites are a group of people often associated with a rejection of new technologies and a preference for more traditional methods of production. They have been around for centuries, with the first recorded Luddite activity occurring in the early 19th century in England, where textile workers destroyed machinery that threatened to replace their jobs. Today, the term "Luddite" is often used to describe people who are resistant to new technologies.

While Luddites are often regarded as backward or overly nostalgic, here are several reasons why their concerns about new technologies matter:

  1. Concerns about job loss: One of the main reasons why Luddites are often resistant to new technologies is because they fear that automation and other forms of technological advancement will lead to widespread job loss. This concern is not unfounded, many industries have seen significant job losses due to automation and offshoring.

  2. Concerns about the environment: Some Luddites are also concerned about the environmental impact of new technologies. For example, the production and disposal of electronics can be incredibly damaging to the environment, and the energy consumption associated with new technologies can be substantial.

  3. Concerns about social isolation: Another concern that some Luddites voice is that new technologies could lead to social isolation and a breakdown in community connections. Living through a global pandemic the term "Loneliness Epidemic" became more and more common as human connection was initially hazardous and connection through digital devices was safer. With the rise of social media and other online platforms, Luddites espouse that people may become more isolated and less likely to engage with others in person over time due to technology.

  4. Concerns about the pace of change: To a larger extent, Luddites often simply feel overwhelmed by the pace of technological change. it is rapid, the first iPhone was just two decades ago and we already have complex AI like chatGPT widely available. As new technologies emerge and old ones become obsolete, it is understandable that Luddites find it difficult to keep up and op to exist without the tools technology has to offer.

While Digital Feng Shui preaches balanced technology use as a valuable tool, it's also important to acknowledge the concerns of Luddites and other people who may be resistant to change. By acknowledging the Luddite perspective, we can work to develop technologies that are more inclusive, sustainable, equitable, and socially responsible, to hopefully ensure that the benefits of technological advancement are shared by all.

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