Technology is Good and Evil

Technology is Good and Evil: a blog about how technology affects our lives and how we should use it.

Articles on this site are written by a group of people with very different backgrounds, from psychology to philosophy to mechanical engineering. We believe that this diversity is valuable in understanding technology.

Technology is a tool. Like every tool, it can be used to do good things or bad things. It’s just a matter of how you use it.

As with any tool, whether technology is good or evil depends on how you use it. The only real difference between technology and other tools is its power.

In the past, technological improvements enabled us to do some pretty bad stuff like enslaving each other and nuclear warfare, but they also enabled us to do some pretty great stuff like curing deadly diseases and building machines that can go to the moon.

Technology will continue to enable better ways for us to do both good and bad stuff in the future.

This blog is about the effect of technology on our lives.

It is not an engineering blog. It is not a consumer review blog. It is not a science blog, or an economic blog, or a political blog, or a philosophical blog. It’s just a personal blog by me, Kevin Kelly. I am interested in what tech does to us and how it shapes us.

I write my own posts and comments here (with some help from smart friends). I pay for hosting, maintenance, etc. This site has no ads or sponsors and never will. I do get emails from companies asking me to mention their products in my posts, but I always decline (and forward the requests to my friend Om Malik). If you believe that this site has mentioned you too often or too little (or you want to make changes), please contact me personally at

I try to respond to every email that has something substantive in it; if you don’t hear back from me in more than a week — then ping me again (it’s probably lost in the spam filter.) Send your feedback/comments to (which goes only to me). You can contact my manager at

The problem with technology is that, like every other tool we possess, it’s neutral. We can use it to do good things or bad things. The same technology that lets us cure diseases can be used to spread them. The same technology that lets us make a better living can destroy the environment we live in.

The problem with the Internet is not that it’s too free; it’s that it’s not free enough.

One of the things that distinguishes an amateur from a professional is how they handle mistakes. Amateur writers will try to kill a story when they discover it has problems. Professionals download the latest version and continue editing.

In software, this is even more true. An amateur will throw away code and start over every time there’s a problem. A professional will debug it in place, leaving the working parts alone, fixing only what’s broken. The professionals know that it’s easier to keep something working than to re-create it. The amateur thinks you have to throw away your work and start over because that’s the way the professionals do it on TV.

The same principle applies in real life. Professional investors fix their mistakes in place too. Amateurs throw them out and start over, usually with disastrous results. Any investment portfolio is going to have its share of losers; if you bet on every promising startup you see, most of your bets won’t pay off, but a few should be winners, and those will more than make up for the losers. But you can’t do that if you liquidate your entire position every time you incur a loss; by then the stock will have bottomed and started recovering again.

“The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.” — Salvador Dali

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