Behold the smugness in this Guardian news article about the digital incredulity aroused by Japan’s minister of cybersecurity, Yoshitaka Sakurada, after he admitted to never having used a computer.
Modern digi-dwellers can not envision a world uninhabited by silicon and bytes, and like many modern Liberals, damn the past for no apparent reason other than it afforded few of the grand luxuries we “enjoy” today.
A Japanese minister in charge of cybersecurity has provoked astonishment by admitting he has never used a computer in his professional life, and appearing confused by the concept of a USB drive.
Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, is the deputy chief of the government’s cybersecurity strategy office and also the minister in charge of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that Tokyo will host in 2020.
In parliament on Wednesday however, he admitted he doesn’t use computers.
“Since the age of 25, I have instructed my employees and secretaries, so I don’t use computers myself,” he said in a response to an opposition question in a lower house session, local media reported.
Anyone who toils in today’s corporate culture fully understands that directors, VP’s, and the like, are rarely immersed in that which they lord over. In today’s fly-by-night workforce landscape, people rarely stick around long enough to “learn” the craft of their subordinates. Today’s managerial class merely delegates, and résumé’s and qualifications are measured by their adeptness at maneuvering staffs and underlings to exact the maximum effort in order to maximize corporate (departmental) profitability.
The fact is that Sakurada, given today’s Director Paradigm, will not prosper by his knowledge of computers; he will prosper by the extent of his ability to shuffle and staff those with knowledge and abilities to fulfill their specific roles in the chain of command.
Sakurada has been in office just over a month, after being appointed in a cabinet reshuffle following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reelection as head of his political party.
His Luddite tendencies aside, Sakurada has also struggled to master his Olympic brief, less than two years before the Games open in Tokyo.
Earlier this month he claimed to know nothing about plans for North Korea’s sports minister to attend a meeting in Tokyo at the end of the month, in violation of a ban on the regime’s officials entering Japan.
After Sakurada told a news conference that he was “unaware” of the report, an aide intervened and he quickly corrected himself, claiming that officials had indeed briefed him.
He also suggested that he did not know that Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, had asked the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in March to allow his country’s athletes to take part in the 2020 Games.
“This is not something I should be meddling in in my capacity,” he said, according to the Asahi newspaper. “It’s beyond my jurisdiction.”
Sakurada blamed one particularly unimpressive performance in parliament on the opposition MP Renho Murata, complaining that she had not given him her questions in advance.
“Since there was no prior notice about the questions, I had no idea what would be asked at the session,” the Asahi quoted him as saying.
This is the manifestation of a predictable tendency on the part of the present generation to paint resistance to the marvels of today’s digital toys as some sort of intellectual shortcoming or character flaw about the person. Those who believe intimate familiarity with digital technology is the pathway to intellectual excellence would be prone to describe Sakurada as “unimpressive” for no other reason other than he does or does not remember something about the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
I welcome Sakurada’s lack of adoration for today’s digital wonderland.
The best information security is, sadly, to stay off computers and the internet. Short of that, we are self-delusional to believe ironclad digital security is even possible. Today’s sanctimonious youth culture, embodied by the Tweets appearing in this story, are quick to default to the “Luddite” characterization of anyone who doesn’t share their worship of diversions that define their 21st Century existence.
We are all limited by the technological boundaries of that time we live in. To exert ourselves beyond that is a choice which does not imply anything accurate about our intelligence or virtue.