On Quartz, Michael J. Coren interviews Jameson Wetmore, an engineer turned social researcher at the Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, who explains what technology has done to society and why the Amish seeing the negative consequences they had on us opted out.
After observing a given technology’s effect on outside society, Wetmore explains, each Amish community can vote on whether to accept or reject it. If a person is seriously ill, checking into a hospital is acceptable. So is accepting a ride in a Ford F-150. But the Amish refuse to own television or automobiles because they’ve decided those technologies erode their community and neighborliness.
For the rest of us, the cost of technological convenience may be coming due. Wetmore, who has studied the Amish intensively (pdf), suggests that contemporary society needs to take a new approach to technology—one that weighs the value of our new tools before welcoming them into our lives. Quartz spoke with Wetmore about the lessons that the Amish, a religious group of just 200,000 in the US, hold for the rest of the world.
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