Technological change is neither additive nor subtractive. It is ecological.
Neil Postman – Technopoly.
The only valid measure of technology’s worth is what’s best in context. The only real consideration is suitability, and it varies from moment to moment.
This is digital dualism, but it’s also determinism at work. It hears all this enthusiasm about connection as about the social networking platforms themselves – “yay blog!’ or “yay Twitter!” – and not about the connections and actions and forms of identity that those networked environments make possible.
Determinism reduces conversation about social networks to a conversation about platforms and tech, not about people and the ways in which they intersect with those platforms and tech to create new possibilities. It effectively mutes those latter parts of the conversation; refuses them admittance. It insists that a conversation about technologies’ effects is a conversation about the technologies themselves.
Really interesting points about how we converse about technologies and their effects.
Last month Matt wrote an essay titled “What’s Next for Apple.” In that he says this about Best Buy:
When I walk through Best Buy, which I try to do once every few months, it feels like it’s technology at its worst, the magic of progress used as smoke and mirrors to confuse and dupe consumers rather than make their lives better.
That’s how I feel reading a product review on the sites Dustin mentioned. It’s technology writing at its worst.
Reviews on sites like Gizmodo and Engadget prey upon gadget heads thinking that their week, month, or year-old technology is “worse.” This is what leads us to the land of 4″+ touch screens and thinking that devices with more megapixels or gigahertz are, somehow, inherently better.
Sure, normals may not be the target market of tech site product reviews. That doesn’t mean the site’s reviews can’t be thoughtful and useful pieces of text. Right now they’re drivel.
I disavow the notion that technology should change our lives. Technology should improve our lives in small, meaningful ways. It should nudge, provoke, surprise, inform, and yes, connect on a grand scale. But it should not presume to know too much.
Nathan Heleine – Our Digital Ethos
North Korea’s Digital Underground. What journalism looks like in North Korea. Fascinating read about how information slips and moves through the margins.
What Technology Values. The claim that technology is value-neutral overlooks its role as a central component of human society. The reality of technology is that value decisions lie behind every product and it is these values that help form social clusters around technologies.