Peter Rojas is the cofounder and editor-in-chief of Engadget, which is a daily weblog covering gadgets, consumer electronics and personal technology. He is also the cofounder of Joystiq, a weblog which covers video games. Rojas has worked as a contributing editor at Cargo, an editor-at-large at Sync, a technology editor of VMan, and a columnist for The Guardian, writing on emerging technology. He is a frequent contributor to a variety of publications both on- and off-line and appears on radio and television regularly as a technology commenter. Rojas was educated at Harvard University and the University of Sussex. He lives in New York City.
Question: What are the risks of technological innovation?
Peter Rojas: It’s funny. It’s like it kind of comes back to what do we think is going to mean “natural” or not? I mean if you put . . . If you, you know, took someone from 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, or 250 years ago and, you know, showed them modern society, they would think it was the most unnatural, screwed up thing they’d ever seen. And the way that we interacted with each other would seem so completely wrong and unnatural to them that . . . that . . . And it’s just because like, you know, their . . . their . . . their relations, and their relationships, and their world was based on a completely different way of viewing things. And so I don’t necessarily worry too much. I mean identity is something that I think is very, very . . . You know it’s always been fluid. It’s just that now we . . . It’s just a matter of like how, you know . . . Technology’s just made it maybe more fluid than it . . . than it would’ve before. I think you know especially for young people, they don’t necessarily . . . they don’t worry about this stuff. And they don’t worry about, you know, privacy because it’s . . . it’s not necessarily . . . There aren’t necessarily a lot of, you know . . . It’s not a big issue for them. And I think they are figuring out what parts of themselves they want to reveal online. And you know just because, you know, someone can take, you know . . . look at private photos of you on Facebook or whatever . . . I mean if you’re worried about that, don’t post them in the first place. I mean I don’t really post photos of myself on Facebook. And I don’t . . . I have a personal blog and a Twitter feed, but I don’t necessarily reveal very much about my private life on those things. And if those things . . . If you’re not putting those things out there yourself, the odds are that they’re not going to be revealed. And I think, you know, people are sort of negotiating and figuring out what’s the right balance. How much do they wanna put out there? And there are some people who are gonna wanna put out more. And those people will become sort of, you know . . . might become Web celebrities and, you know, have their fan bases and things like that. And there are people who are not going to want to, you know, put as much of it out there. And they might, you know, wanna emphasize different parts of their lives or whatever. I mean it’s something that I think people are figuring out, and doesn’t seem to me as big of a deal.
Recorded on: 10/2/07