Tech giants, such as Google and Facebook, are encountering backlash for offering services that extract personal information and monopolize our attention.
Before accepting any new innovation, “the Amish use us as an experiment,” says Jameson Wetmore, an engineer turned social researcher at Arizona State University. “They watch what happens to people in the outside world and decide if that technology is something they want to adopt for themselves.” Unlike Silicon Valley, the Amish recognize that there’s no such thing as value-free technologies.
Wetmore notes that the Amish have also been steadily rejecting our own society in greater numbers. In the 1960s and 1970s, 75% of Amish children went on to become Amish adults. Today, it’s 95%. “To some extent, it’s a bit of an indictment I think,” he says. “The Amish have always rejected our world, but now they’re doing it in record numbers!”