I read a quote on Ello the other day that one of the writers I follow posted. I’m not sure if it was one of her own or from another source, but I found myself wondering about it a great deal.
“Many people, especially in technology say their productivity is changing the world, and this is irrefutable. But no one seems to know what they’re changing it into.”
Many commenters posted their thoughts, and much of it was about technology it’s self. I couldn’t understand that. Technology it’s self doesn’t have fully functioning rational consciousness…yet. So why is so much being said about technology when there are minds behind it? I decided to put my two cents in and commented:
This is precisely the point I had been trying to make in my computer ethics blog in college, and why I personally believe in the “design for good” movement. I think the use of technology and how to cause change in the world stems from the individual user and their choice, not necessarily the creator of said technology. Though I think the creator is the one who gets the ball rolling, it is the users who manipulate the technology’s usefulness and influence one another. Though, that is more or less dependent on the situation. Without context I get the implication that the quote speaks more on the unpredictability of the technology user to change the world and not necessarily the technology it’s self.
I think when it comes to technology we are too willing to blame situations on the device. Too often I hear parents ridicule their children about phone and computer use, but in the context of the technology. “I should get rid of that damn computer…” Kind of commentary is often times too common, but what it does is dissociates the user from the responsibility. It is not the computers fault that the individual spends so much time on it. It is the choice of the user to spend time on it, and in this particular case, it was someone’s failure to set appropriate boundaries for such use. Weather it be the parent or the child is another story entirely.
To take away the computer is far too extreme. It is useful. It is necessary as well. Technology use causes the world to turn. Most of our educational and work environments require the use of a computer for nearly everything now. Perhaps another case of people’s failure to set boundaries? Feel free to put your thoughts on that in comments below.
I must put a disclaimer as well. There are some technologies that are changing the world for very specific reasons. The above commentary I made speaks more on programs, games, social networks, internet use, apps etc. More socially oriented technology. There are technologies that are made for specific uses, like medical technology, where the goal is to change the medical field for whatever reason, and usually with a passionate cause and predicted out come. In those situations, the use of technology is entirely dependent on the proper functionality if the technology as well as the user, and the outcome is usually predictable because it is being made for a specific goal. That may seem obvious to mention, but I would rather mention it since occasionally, the technology has other outcomes as well that develop into another kind of technology altogether. Much of our popularly used tech was developed from military tech made public once it was found to have a variety of uses.
What are your thoughts on technology development and the quote above? I would love to hear perspectives.