Letter: Nerd or profiteer?

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The Independent Online
Letter: Nerd or profiteer?

Sir: What a carry-on up the cyber path ("How the nerds are leading us up the cyber path", 27 December). Do I detect a whiff of sociological cybermanure?

Given that Bill Gates's lifestyle is unlike yours and mine, we can ask if that goes with being a very rich man, or with being the boss of a vast corporation or with playing with computers.

Has there actually been an experiment which proved that brilliant minds are ineffective in ordinary life? How did they define the sample of brilliant people? Did all the selected people meekly participate and fail at the ordinary tasks? How do you define an ordinary task in the real world, and success or failure in it?

The more interesting question seems to me to be: "Why are we hostile to bright people?" We burnt witches, not realising that we were depriving the population of genes for bright and individual minds.

I would dispute your reasons for computers being difficult to use. Gratuitous is nothing to do with it. The reasons are profit, profit and profit. Once upon a time I was employed in selling a computer program which came with a manual. To reduce costs the manual was never produced. The boss's response to my protest was that the customers' money would be in the bank before they found out, and to remember that negative attitudes don't lead to promotion.

FRANCES BELL

Penrith, Cumbria

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