Shame

Creative experimentation propels our culture forward. That our stories of innovation tend to glorify the breakthroughs and edit out all the experimental mistakes doesn't mean that mistakes play a trivial role. As any artist or scientist knows, without some protected, even sacred space for mistakes, innovation would cease.

With "smart" technology in the ascendant, it will be hard to resist the allure of a frictionless, problem-free future. When Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, says that "people will spend less time trying to get technology to work…because it will just be seamless," he is not wrong: This is the future we're headed toward. But not all of us will want to go there.

A more humane smart-design paradigm would happily acknowledge that the task of technology is not to liberate us from problem-solving. Rather, we need to enroll smart technology in helping us with problem-solving. What we want is not a life where friction and frustrations have been carefully designed out, but a life where we can overcome the frictions and frustrations that stand in our way.

Truly smart technologies will remind us that we are not mere automatons who assist big data in asking and answering questions. Unless designers of smart technologies take stock of the complexity and richness of the lived human experience—with its gaps, challenges and conflicts—their inventions will be destined for the SmartBin of history.

Who seeks something will get that.

A silly daughter teaches her mother how to bear children.

Well, you have to work out what it is. They are a little splinter. They can't summon many voters at any given time. They are a minority of a minority of a minority. They have everybody buffaloed because the great corporations like them and pay money to their candidates for sheriff and senator. And they're playing big-time politics. Yes, indeed. But the average person doesn't like them. You know, any time I want to get applause — and I lecture across America in state after state after state — when I fear things are getting a little low, I always say, “And another thing: Let us tax all the religions,” I bring down the goddamn house with that. And any politician would if he had sense enough to do it. The people don't like their tax exemption.

Oh, trebly blest the placid lot of those whose hearth foundations are in pure love laid, where husband's breast with tempered ardor glows, and wife, oft mother, is in heart a maid!

The world is dark around us and the prospect seems deepening in gloom. and yet there is light ahead. On the volume of the past in starry characters it is written — the starry legend greets us shining through the misty vistas of the future — that the great and noble shall not perish from among the sons of men, that the truth will triumph in the end, and that even the humblest of her servants may in this become the instrument of unending good. We are aiding in laying the foundations of a mighty edifice, whose completion shall not be seen in our day, no, nor in centuries upon centuries after us. But happy are we, indeed, if we can contribute even the least towards so high a consummation. The time calls for action. Up, then, and let us do our part faithfully and well. And oh, friends, our children's children will hold our memories dearer for the work which we begin this hour.