As the title suggests (“Technology is Culture: Two Paradigms”), this essay explores the influence of technology upon culture. Specifically, Zimmermann examines the ways in which Western digital technologies powerfully influence and shape the cultural production of non-Western, particularly Chinese, consumers. The essay offers an anecdotal account of how many contemporary Chinese citizens are “forgetting how to write” by hand, and explains that this is due primarily to their dependence upon computers. Since written Chinese consists of thousands of characters, and since computers are encoded in written English, not Chinese, Chinese computer users are forced to write within the technological confines of an English based operating system that is based on far fewer characters (26 alphabetic letters). Zimmermann briefly explains the complex methods that allow the Chinese language to be composed on what he calls an “English-speaking” technology, particularly on how these methods are phonetically based, not character based. Also, he demonstrates how these methods, which are ultimately determined by technological constrictions, are slowly eroding Chinese citizens’ knowledge of written characters. He then discusses the “two paradigms” he sees emerging as a result of the influence of technology on culture, which he identifies as “the accumulation process” and “the struggle against difference.” By the former Zimmermann means the process by which contemporary technologies are created, and how this process depends on the collaboration of large groups of specialized individuals. No one person, Zimmermann contends, can understand all the components and operating system of a computer, and thus when anyone uses a computer they are forced to rely on the work and decisions of myriad individuals. These technological decisions made by sundry individuals will have a great impact on the type of product you use and the different applications that that product will have. In other words, any time you use a technology as complex as, say, a computer, you will be relying on the labor and decisions of more people than you alone could ever hope to replicate or fully understand. That means that the labor and decisions of others will largely determine the way in which you are able to use a specific technology. This leads to Zimmermann’s second paradigm, “the struggle against difference.” According to Zimmermann, since we rely on the accumulated efforts of many individuals whenever we use a complex technology, we are therefore only allowed to use that complex technology according to the ways in which the designer intended for it to be used. We can see this very clearly in the example provided above, where Chinese-speaking computer users are forced to adapt to an English-speaking technology, and the debilitating effects that this can have (i.e. loss of the ability to write by hand in one’s own language). Zimmermann thinks this is particularly alarming when it comes to digital arts technology, such as music mixing software, because the artist then becomes dependent on a creative technology that is defined and determined by people other than themselves (and oftentimes, in the case of non-Western technology users, people from a radically different cultural background).