The Primer doesn’t make experts better at anything

In The Diamond Age, the Primer contains a nano fabrication facility, a telescope, a microscope, and other countless wonders—but none of these is superior to those an expert practitioner would already possess. The Primer isn’t an Enabling environment for experts. It only aspires to be one for children, not by “raising the ceiling” on what anyone can do but by “lowering the floor.”

This is a limited approach: Powerful enabling environments focus on expert use.


Stephenson, N. (2003). The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer (Reprint edition). Spectra.

Last updated 2023-07-13.