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May 3, 2004
social technology: from MPD to Asperger's?
When i first read the cyberculture literature from the late 80s and early 90s, i was left with an impression that early social technology was all based on the assumption that everyone had multiple personality disorder. Worse: if you didn't have it, it was going to give you MPD. There were even references to the idea that everyone was partially MPD. This was all wrapped up in the rhetoric of be whoever you want to be - race, sex, sexuality does not matter. I found it horrifying and my repulsion grounded my demand to separate between digital fragmented identity and the process of maintaining a faceted identity.
I have a funny feeling that social technology is back to developing software based on disorders and instigating new ones in people. Only, we've move away from schizophrenia and onto autism. Did you ever get the sneaking suspicion that this new wave of "social software" is not really making social life easier, but permitting the kind of social awkwardness that is recognized in Asperger's?
I wonder if this is intentional or a by-product of the tech culture. I've been fascinated to see a strong increase in the publicity of autism and Asberger's lately and an even more noticeable increase in the number of people mocking others' autistic tendencies with respect to the lack of social appropriateness.
[also posted to apophenia
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