Its not just two ten-cent pieces! Get it?
The question is what’s a paradigm and why is the answer an important concept to understand as we try to find a reasonable environment for the development and proliferation of technology throughout the world.
Put simply, a paradigm is a way of looking at the world. And its a single view, not a multiple one. There are a few things in life that can only occupy this single point of view: Things like up and down, inside and outside, open and closed, black and white. Obviously, our minds want to put these things into a state that is blended or compromised, but the real truth is that they are still absolute, whatever way you look at or experience them.
Consider the submarine. The survival of its occupants depends exclusively on the fact that it is closed. And even the slightest openness of the sub at 10,000 feet below the surface of the ocean spells doom for the crew.
In another example, when you jump on a trampoline, you defy gravity, slightly, and move up. As soon as your weight – and the physics of gravity intervene, you move down. Even though in each moment in time your position changes, there’s one immutable fact: either you are up or down, never the same at the same time.
I trust that this makes sense right now. And either it does or it doesn’t. Such is the nature of paradigmatic truth.
And now to technology. Like submarine builders, the architects of technology have a view of the nature of things when they design stuff. And the architects and builders of stuff that compromises our privacy, digital identity, online financial security, etc. – we call them exploits – don’t usually exist in the same paradigm as the builders of our technology. The builders are “inside” paradigmatically while the bad guys are “outside”. Yes, much of the time we are able to architect secure digital systems, but we all know that there are times when we fail. And it isn’t for the usual reasons – password simplicity, security ignorance, etc. No, it is because of the paradigm concept and the fact that each approach has its own essence or truth and the one can’t exist within the reality of the other.
In other words, we just don’t think the same way. There are people who value security and privacy and others who, simply, do not. Attacking, stealing, compromising, altering, destroying are the essence of that reality. And even though it drives the rest of us nuts trying to understand it, the opposite paradigm is very real and something we must accommodate into our consciousness.
Sorry for the bad news. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t try to make technology better, safer, more open, easier to use, and less disappointing. And we can invoke the Internet Bill of Rights for openers.