This is a response to Ed's argument (re: Technology addiction makes us unwitting slaves) that: "... it is not the technology that abuses individual rights, but other people. I don't think the solution is more/different technology", as well as some clarification and addition to my original entry that Ed responded.
Let me just say that I do agree with Ed that the use of the word 'addictive' in relation to the use of technology in the original article was a real misuse. I believe they meant to say dependency on technology.
Now back to the argument that "it is not the technology that abuses individual rights". True, indeed. Technology per se by itself does not have the capability to abuse anything. It is the people who use the technology in various ways, and more then often technology is used to reinforce power and social structures.
However, in the process where technology is used to reinforce existing power structures, the technology itself is designed and modified in such a way that more than often the end result ends up being a technology that is restrictive enough by embedding in itself features, capabilities and functionalities that play well in the hands of 'other people', usually the power brokers.
An interesting example is the TV broadcasting technology. The way it has been deployed it allows only those who control it to be able to disseminate information and news. This is a one way communication, i.e. one-to-many. On the other side, the internet (at least the internet as a publishing and communication medium) by design and functionality is not centralized (though some countries are restrictive) and thus allows almost anyone to be able to distribute en mass, i.e. many-to-many communication.
The point I'm trying to make is that technologies have performative capabilities according to the features and functionalities they embody. Some are more restrictive and some more open.
Here is the train of thought:
- We create various technologies
- Those technologies have limitations and restrictions because they are built for specific purpose and under limited resources
- Sometimes a technology is used for other purposes than what was initially intended, intentionally or unintentionally
- Once a technology is used, its limitations and restrictions affect how people that use the technology do their jobs and tasks
- Due to technology's limitations, people change their ways of performing various tasks that require the use of the technology
- Thus we end up modifying the tasks themselves so they can be done with the technology available at hand
Why not modify the technology so it is not limitative and restrictive? Well, the workplace has it troubles, challenges, and timeframes. Sometimes things have to be done in less then perfect environment. In such situations the technology that is available has tremendous power of how the tasks are framed and planned. Interestingly enough, the technology was most probably designed elsewhere, and maybe not exactly for the task it is being used.