Technology isn’t neutral.
But it isn’t necessarily good or evil either. Many people look at technology and see others using it for good, or evil and assume that technology is the middleman. It’s easy to assume that good people use technology for good, while bad people use it for bad. And that is a true statement. Yet, what does technology say about us? What does the existence of the cell phone tell us about people? What does the existence of text messaging tell us about people? What does the existence of cars tell us about people?
Obviously we can use technology for both good and bad, but that doesn’t make technology neutral.
Rather, technology can show us what we value as a culture for better or worse. Vehicles show us that independence, individualism, and travel are all priorities for our culture. Twitter started by asking us “what are you doing right now?” forcing us to be self-centered and self-absorbed. Later they changed to “What’s Happening?” perhaps encouraging us to share with others what we value, rather than just what we had for breakfast.
Technology itself is not neutral. It can either help or hinder us. Technology examines our culture for better or worse and serves as its tool. Last week Apple announced a new iPhone. This new iPhone will allow you to ask your phone questions, tell it to call people, make appointments, send emails, and more: All hands-free.
What do you think the new iPhone says about our culture? What does the demand for hands-free technology tell us about ourselves?
Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net / Darren Robertson