Technology, design and benefits of use – are we making progress?

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Technology, design and benefits of use – are we making progress?

Technology as a definition has been around since we studied mammals use of tools in the environment – something becomes a technology if it affords a use. Typically, good design indicates the use of technology such as a button or a type of interface. Sometimes affordances are undiscovered and innovative thinking can yield additional use out of a technology.

Modern technology is a discussion of its own due to the pervasiveness and extended abilities into human behavior such as communications and media. Not everyone thinks technology is a good thing. It is susceptible to corruption, down time, hacking of personal information, surveillance from malign intentions and over-reliance. Some are choosing lifestyles that avoid technology or adopt it for specific and certain purposes only with claims that it changes social behaviour and thinking patterns.

Modern technology is a discussion of its own due to the pervasiveness and extended abilities into human behavior such as communications and media.

Certainly, the google effect come to mind.  Even our intelligence quotients are being undermined as we come to rely on technology for basic cognitive functions. “The Kaspersky Lab concludes we don’t commit data to memory because of the “Google Effect” – we’re safe in the knowledge that answers are just a click away, and are happy to treat the web like an extension to our own memory.”

Anyone who has purchased a coffee has a story about rounding up with some additional coins only to confuse the poor bugger who just opened the till, now has to do a quick mental calculation. The brain is so attuned to the use of the affordance of the technology that it is not attuned to the environmental changes that may occur at random. This brings into question human resilience – that we are now more fit (trained?) for technological use than to exist without it. This difference can be seen between cities and rural areas or between rich and poor, between old and young. When the electricity stops flowing, one will hope to be with those who can manage with skills and abilities useful for survival.

We forget our jobs, our family communications, our food purchasing, our gasoline is all just a blackout away. But life is not about worry all the time or we would not find what life affords us, so we live with perhaps an idea at the back of our minds that everything is temporary anyway and we should enjoy while we are here – and as Google used to suggest in their slogan – ‘Do No Evil’.

By | 2017-02-01T12:19:20+00:00 February 1st, 2017|Community Development, Sustainability, Technology @ Work|0 Comments

About the Author:

Christopher Caldwell is an author and educator in organizational sustainability, leadership and change.

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