Prof. EDEL NJIT- STS 201-Understanding Technological Society Fall 2016
Lecture 2- Putnam, Turkle, Mediated Social Life- Rough Notes
Last week we talked about cities, as an example of our built environment as a system of technologies that shape our options, choices and ways of life. We spoke of these technologies using Landon Winner’s idea that the politics of technologies are embedded in their form and function. We used an example where we can know the intentions of the designer, but even if we don’t know about their intentions we are still able to determine the functions and effects of the artifact. The effects, whether designed or unintentional are inherently political in negotiation of the contexts of use. The presence and action of technologies enable choices, constrain choice, promote or marginalized groups, structure attention and priorities or restrictions within the context of their existence. Today we move from the physical infrastructure of our social world , the obviously built environment to the technologies of our culture, the social infrastructures, the ways we know each other and how we interact.
We spoke last week about the increased urbanization of the last two centuries, the dramatic increase of population in cities, and we spoke about the fact that cities are inherently technological systems that enable interaction between strangers. Cities are machines to allow strangers, not tied to land or local group, to interact in trade and contact. And as we’ve moved most of our population into masses of strangers we’re left with other technologies to make connections between them, to create social connection and identity. One way of talking about this social connection is what Robert Putnam analyzed linked to the concept of “Social Capital.”
PUTNAM- BOWLING ALONE
Putnam (2000): “Whereas physical capital refers to physical objects and human capital refers to properties of
individuals, social capital refers to connections among individuals—social networking and the norm of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them. In that sense, social capital is closely related to what some have called “civic virtue.” The difference is that “social capital” calls attention to the fact that civic virtue is most powerful when embedded in a dense network of reciprocal social relations. A society of many virtuous but isolated individuals is not necessarily rich in social capital. (p. 19)
More closely connected to the question of people “alone together” in an increasingly densely packed and socially disconnected world. That disconnection, is also the topic of Sherry Turkle’s discussion in “alone together.” In that book she has a great deal to say about the use of social media and digital technology to connect us. From the dramatic: “Technology proposes itself as the architect of our intimacies.” To the more direct statement that this book “is about how we are changed as technology offers us substitutes for connecting with each other face-to-face.” She is discussing these changes as social consequences, Winner’s political effects, the result of the innate qualities of these technologies when they are interacting in the complex system of our lives. Turkle Notes many specific aspects of the technology that change the kind of interactions we have: digital interactions are to a greater or lesser degree recorded, tracked and permanent, compared to face-to-face communication. The mediation of technology limits our ability to communicate in subtle tones, tones of voice, facial expression, and complex multiple-person interactions that are enabled and more comfortable in off-line face-to-face interaction. These may or may not be bad things, but they are observable differences between traditional analog communications and digital, primarily text based, forms of communication.
So today we add to where we left off last time. We were speaking of the landscape, the built environment in which we live, today we’re adding the communications landscape, more aspects of the built social environment. The next step in understanding how technologies are a key part of the system in which we interact, and make our lives. A set of tools to understand technological society and to think with abour technologies themselves. We continue developing an understanding of the approach of the social sciences and Science and technology Studies in particular. Directing our attention to analysis of the technologies, rather than uncritical acceptance of common beilefs, and increased understanding of the way technologies have agency and effect regardless of our impression of designer intent. This is particularly important because an unintended aspect is no less active, no less functional, than one that was central to design. And because a designer is not trying to make an unintended consequence transparent, or to provide instructions for that aspect of the technology, the unintended is often invisible or harder to notice without careful analysis. The ability for a technology, whether a bridge, a computer or a taser less-lethal weapon, to have wide ranging effect outside of the scope of their design is not to be underestimated. They have politics imbedded in them whether we recognize it or not. Often we think of politics as belief, but politics is anything related to “governance” that isn’t the action of politicians but the ability to control what happens in a place or between people. Politics is particularly present when one could disagree, when a conflict or division could arise, and the constraint or enablement of those choices, the resistance or resolution within a conflict is influenced. A technology may exert power, control over these debates, may influence possibility. Thus technologies have politics. Technologies shape what we are aware of, what choices we have, they enable ways of living and being with other people.
With today’s focus on community and social groups as interpreted through our attention to technologies, we need to remember that this embedded politics is no less important because it can shift in meaning as time and culture changes around it. While we may determine that new buses able to run under the bridges that Robert Moses built means that they are no longer making it difficult for the poor to travel in some ways, but their effects, their control of travel is still ongoing. They disallow other buses, they change traffic patterns, they decrease truck freight, and they were part of a system of changes that promoted the growth of car culture as opposed to enabling increased use of public transit. They are still political. Throughout different moments and contexts technologies may exhibit different effects and be interpreted differently but they are always acting, enabling, constraining and interacting with users and the world around them. Their very presence shifts the weight of use, how much more silly is it to sit in a church basement with a few people when you have access to hundreds online. How strange would it be to be part of an old fashioned social network of brother freemasons, or elks lodge members, when we can each build our own online social networks. The very presence of a technology changes how we can appreciate other technologies.
Robert Putnam doesn’t talk about organizations as technology, Fraternal Organizations, associations and groups are certainly a kind of ‘thing’ beyond the activity of people, but we’re going to label them technologies, because they are material, they are made, and they have effect through constraint and enablement. They respond to and in turn change the culture and behaviors of people around them in the same ways other technologies do. For Putnam the interesting thing about these associations and groups as a technology is how they effect social capital and civic engagement, or at very least how their rise and fall as an important technology documents the high point of civic engagement. It is important that you understand these key ideas. Civil society, the political sphere outside of electoral politics, the activities that shape and influence opinion, that negotiate conflict and disagreement, that shift individuals into recognizable political groups. Civil society includes left and right, conservative and radical, and all the groups and associations that help shift people into recognizable political positions and coordinations. Democracy is particularly linked to civil society, a key concern for political theory and Robert Putnam. Democracy, especially representative democracy as practiced in the United states cannot respond to and represent the will of hundreds of millions of individuals, but it can respond to the negotiation between larger groups, political parties, major churches, recognized ethnic and cultural groups. These larger groups within civil society shape our democracy in a way that individuals cannot. What Putnam is concerned about is the way that individuals participate in civil society, because with greater activity and greater variety of the mechanisms by which people do participate in ‘Civic engagment’ the healthier, or more functional, a democracy is. If a key component of American democracy is the formation of groups that share political opinion or position so that those groups can be represented, then the loss of a major technology of group formation is a major loss to the way our society works. In particular it is troublesome because if the technologies of governing, the laws and infrastructure was built to enable such groups, as it was, then the lack of groups, particularly the lack of representation of some peoples by groups of this sort imbalances the ability of the democratic machine to represent accurately and to function as designed.
Social Capital is an important term in this article, and in the debate around civil engagement, but it is a hard concept to wrap yourself around. It is a name, Social capital, that comes as analogy to another term, Capital. Capital derived from economic or fiscal capital refers to things or systems that produce more money than is expended on them. For example, cash money isn’t capital, but if you spend money on purchasing a thing that can make more money, or if you invest in a valuable commodity that accrues more value, then you’ve transformed cash into capital. The machines in a factory, a stock portfolio, a car or house that can allow more money than the expense in the future are all examples of capital. Capital is complicated because like all technologies, and all cultural things, the value and meaning of things changes over time. Owning a 19th century cotton milling machine is unlikely to be productive, to make more money now, while it would have been important capital 200 years ago. But social Capital isn’t about cash, purchases, investment and monetary value as such. Social Capital is the idea that similar to Economic discussion of Fiscal Capital, our connections to other people may produce value, may be effective, may increase our worth as people, or may contribute to better value and worth in the system of governing that we connect ourselves to. Social Capital is a name for the network of people you know, with whom you have a lasting connection. Social Capital is a name for the kinds of social organizations, powers and roles you have access to because of the kind of person you are and the people who know and accept you as that person. It is distinct from the specific actions of social authority, you don’t have capital because you’re a police officer or a doctor, both roles that provide strong authority. They allow the improved use of that authority. Being a well liked and respected police officer, who is on good terms with the District attorney, or the police commissioner, changes what it means to have police authority. Being a doctor in private practice alone with no patients, is different from having a network of regular patients, or from being the on-call doctor of a group of people, let alone the difference between being a solo doctor in private practice or connected to established doctors in a clinic or hospital. The connections we have, the people we know shape our opportunities, and this is the most basic element of social capital. Our Social engagement with other people, and the connections we form with other people add value and ability, they enable and constrain us.
Of particular note for Putnam is the fact that many of the organizations he talks about have the capacity of increasing the value of networks of people, of raising the ability for them to act in ways we value. PTAs allow people to have influence on schooling, church groups allow social connections in neighborhoods, fraternal organizations increase the diversity of opinion expressed at a mass scale by allowing alternative forms of communication outside of formal media like newspapers. These are technologies for improving the impact of social capital. At a fundamental level in our society, individuals who are not celebrities are invisible, with little voice, but by forming groups that amplify those voices, that take the confusion and division from between individuals they give voice and enhance our ability to participate in society. When the article and subsequent book use the phrase bowling alone, it isn’t that he’s focused on Bowling. He’s using the idea that more people are bowling today than did in the 1920’s, but that very few of those people bowl in organizaed leagues, to talk about the lack of connection, the loss of these units for amplifying our voices and coming to agreement to be stronger in the field of democracy. A process that has been noted in the divisiveness and proliferation of many voices on the internet, making it harder for us to know which voices to trust, in part because as we have discarded traditional group activities and social technologies we have been discarding ways of determining trust or credibility, we have been substituting technologies that amplify voices, but which amplify them as trees lost in a forest as opposed to helping us to gather our voices into a choir that is heard.
On Page 7 of the article, Putnam talks about neighborhoods, in particular he talks about the way that extending our social networks across a wider area, expanding our social activities to broader areas of our city, or by extension to placing our friends across vast distances enabled by communications technologies, we lose the group feeling, and the real material benefits of having an allied social group physically near at hand. We trade individualization for the benefit of structure in proximity. As we do so we have less safety as fewer allies locally to observe, to watch our house when we go away for a weekend, less people invested in keeping an eye on the streets by their house, fewer people we can rely on to watch our kids if we have to run an errand, and the list goes on. Our shifting to different scales of social capital, and our reliance on different technologies for that social capital, changes the ways we can life our lives, enables some, constrains others.
Putnam offers a variety of suggestions as to why the older technologies became less important, for example shifting mobility, as cars and other technologies helped enable people moving around more, and as economic structures shifted we can no longer rely on living one place. But, even more than mobility, Putnam offers the suggestion that there has been a trend since before the turn of the twentieth century, let alone the 21st, a trend towards individualization, that has a particularly strong rooting in the united States (p.9). That we make our choices in adopting social technologies, leisure activities, preferring options that are individual, not solitary neccesarily, but which make us less reliant on other people, less interconnected, specifically because we value independence over the efficacy of those choices in other areas of our psychology and societal structure. And it is worth noting as others have, that this applies to a wide swath of cultural phenomenon, individual television or private video consumption has increased and movie viewership in theaters has gone down as a percentage, attendance at church has gone down an industries for self help and personal spiritual discovery have arisen as a billion dollar market sector, privately owned cars have gone from being a rarity to a key cultural symbol, a mandate for success and adulthood even in areas where shared cars or public transportation would be more successful.
In The second article regarding Bowling alone, Robert Putnam and Thomas Sanders’ 2010, update, they discuss both the ongoing effect of this trend but also the importance of recent events, particularly the terrorist attack on September eleventh 2001, as doing something that shifted the way people viewed Civic engagement. To oversimplify, the vision of the entire country as one, may have made young people after 9/11 feel more connected and responsible, more a part of a group and as a result statitstics show they read more news, join more civil society groups, volunteer more time, and in general engage more actively in growing networks of social capital than the previous generations. They, YOU, vote more, and act more in line with the mechanisms that may structure our democracy. They leave the open question, and I ask you, with out further terrorist attacks, what continues, what enables this increased engagement in the future. Without infrastructure such as social organizations, to contend with ongoing individualization, how do we expect to continue this trend into the future.
TURKLE- ALONE TOGETHER
Alone together is the third book, completing a trilogy, the first as she mentions is about the kinds of actions we are enabled to take in socializing online, focused on the example of the Second Life online Platform, the second book extends from the uses of a whole environment site like second life to more general online spaces that integrate with our daily lives. In this third book she focuses on the actions of computers, of technologies that act overtly, not as spaces for us to socialize, but the robots, the automated functions and technologies that act in roles and activities that formerly would have been human. On Page 11 She states that it isn’t about robots,
“it is about how we are changed a technology offers us substitutes for connecting with each other face-to-face. We are offered robots and a whole world of machine-mediated relationships on networked devices. As we instant message, e-mail, text, and twitter, technology redraws boundairs between intimacy and solitude. WE talk of getting “rid” of our emails, as though these notes are so much excess baggage…. Things that happen in “real time” take too much time. Tethered to technology, we are shaken when that world ‘unplugged’ does not signify, does not satisfy.”
Dr. Turkle is arguing, not that how we use technologies has shifted, but that- the accumulated technologies in our lives has changed us, our expectations, our common sense, and appreciations. That regardless of designed function we are changed, as individuals and as a society in ways we can notice, and in other ways that are invisible to those of us who are constantly surrounded by the technologies. The ease of communication via cellphone has shifted expectations so that we are ‘on the job’ even away from the workplace, awareness that friends from the past are easily connected with on facebook makes us include them in a minimal way in our current conception of friendship when in previous decades they would have been redefined as no longer a friend. These changes, not designed so much as developing unplanned, may have good and bad aspects, but they are aspects and functions we need to take time to be aware of. For Turkle, a key aspect of the analysis of these technologies stems from the disconnect between design intention and these real consequences. On page thirteen she notes that particularly with communication technologies they are often designed as a substitute, as an extension of an older way of communicating, but, after that design, new ways of using them, new norms of behavior become apparent. For example the design of phones is to extend the distance of conversation, the design or text messages was to allow for brief communication when phoning would be inconvenient or unneccesary. But cultures didn’t long use them as simple adjuncts to their predecessor. Telephones became something different, a symbol, a set of meanings and practices that weren’t like face to face conversation. The scholar Avital Ronell, in the Telephone book, examines the changes this background technology had on our culture, and like Turkle she finds that it enables and constrains in many ways. The adoption of telephones led to sales calls, disconnect between companies and clients, and the invention of a different form of truth as people adapted to statements removed from the reading of faces. More recently according to Turkle, this cultural acceptance of communication without subtlety became even more prevalent as we became used to, and developed new ways of communicating enabled by text messages and emails. The language of texts is one of ‘Statement’ without context almost entirely devoid of unstated emotion or subtext.
But this new set of uses isn’t without problem, the new ways of communicating created problems in translation between individuals and groups who use the technologies differently, and she uses the brief example of the younger sister sending a mass group email to friends and family announcing her engagement, her older brother is upset that her belief in the ‘efficiency’ of this communication eliminates the intimacy and connection expected in other forms of communication, it levels relationships between close and less close, and it makes their relationships appear equivalent, between friend and sibling (p. 16-17)
Turkle speculates with some evidence that one reason for the increased popularity of these communication technologies, not recognition that we lose aspects of other forms of communication, but because they enable us to have a balance between “control over human relationships” (p/17) and the development of new forms and expectations. That is to say that text messages aren’t as prolonged, messy and intimate as speaking directly, and for some this is a desirable aspect, while for others that intimacy and messiness is felt to be lacking.
Much like Putnam’s concern that we lose one ability as our society shifts and we invest in other ways of forming groups, Turkle is concerned that by prioritizing speed, efficiency, and digital communication we are losing the skills and enablements of older forms. Particularly they share a concern that the individualization, the centering of ones choices and options about technology on individuals rather than groups and shared experience has lasting and extended consequences.
CONSIDERING SOCIAL TECHNOLOGIES
But these are complicated questions, a 2010 Pew Research Study, surveying nearly 900 internet and social realtions experts found that nearly 85 percent chose the positive answer “In 2020 when I look at the big picture and consider my personal friendships, marriage and other relationships I see that the internet has mostly been a positive force on my social world. And this will only grow more true in the future” By contrast only 12% said it was and will continue to be a “mostly… negative force” in their social world. The survey summary includes individual quotations from the respondents, and many of these quotes note certain problems, not captured by that very positive overall response. Several note that the improvement benefits those who know HOW to use the technologies, while others note that they promote SOME kinds of social relations and not others. Many note that the social relations that the internet enables are informative, that is that we can and do know more about what is going on with the people we choose to form attachments to. What is clearly absent, or in some cases specifically questioned, is whether the improvement, the increased informational relationships translate either to close, or real, or similar relationships to those that are forged without internet and communication technologies. A question that was not asked in the survey. The experts clearly decided that overall the change was beneficial, but what they cannot know or respond to in such a form is what costs and constraints come with our contemporary focus on technologies of socialization that are based on information, and not shared face to face experience. This survey and many that emphasize the important benefits of communication technology also assume that increased information and increased participation in this new mode of socialization is equivalent to other kinds of socialization. An assumption that is neither supported or probable. And that is the particular area in which both Sherry Turkle and Robert Putnam focus. Though we may have more social connections, broader networks, more hours of digital contact with others, these are not equivalent to other kinds of socialization. The systems engrained in the older associations and organized group activities emphasized, by their nature, group ability to agree, they developed trust and compromise among members, but the internet and social media is exceptionally good at the opposite, allowing disagreement, fostering connections between individuals without the trust and compromise of traditional social forms. It is our difficulty, when we aren’t doing careful analysis to see that two things named the same are more important in their differences than in similarities. “Friends” in person or on facebook, “social networks” online or those we’ve spent significant time with in real life, “Groups” which we choose and require no compromise over the internet versus those we interact with and negotiate with in person. We have more friends than ever, but on average we spend a greater percentage of our time alone in a room, we have wider social networks of more people, but they are spread across the globe and cannot fulfil basic functions of a dense local group, and we are part of more and more groups, labeled with more and more labels, but those labels mean less to us, and have more varied and complicated meanings that make communication more difficult instead of less. Social technologies today enable us to be more things at the cost of being those things with less interaction and utility to being them.
With the addition of new technologies, with changes in lifestyle, with interaction between new things and long lasting infrastructure what we consider normal changes , old common sense becomes uncommon, and beliefs produce unexpected realities.. Articulated nicely by Mika Pantzer: Adoption and distribution of technologies varies “In the United States, 4,192 automobiles were sold in 1900. Only ten years later, 485,377 automobiles were registered, and the automobile was perceived by Americans to be a necessity….In comparison, automobiles were not perceived to be a necessity until the late-1960s in Finland. Nevertheless, the mental attributes related to the automobile have followed very similar lines across different cultures. Whereas the first automobiles were sold because of the enjoyment and excitement they gave their owners, the first tele-phones, slightly more than a hundred years ago, were not meant to be used for enjoyment.3 The telephone almost immediately was recognized as a marvelous invention [of necessity for modern life]…. (p52)” when considering social change and technology certain perspectives dominate discussion “Social development is seen as [uni-directional] as determined by technology (i.e., technological determinism), or consumption is seen as resulting from human needs, and preferences (i.e., voluntarism).” This relates to the idea of why and how technologies interact with the world around them, the reality is that people differentially recognize the importance of technologies, and while the telephone was immediately recognizable as important, cars took longer to be understood, to act with people and other technologies on the culture around them.
argue that these seemingly different and separate transformations become understandable when the perspective is shifted from single commodities and needs to systems of commodi-ties, to the evolving networks-i.e., ecology of goods.”8 In time, com-modities such as automobiles or televisions become embedded “as components” in larger systems of goods. When commodities are integrated with each other, e.g., within lifestyles, dwellings, neigh-borhoods, etc., there is less and less room for spontaneity. From the perspective of a single consumer, daily choices, of say, using cars, become increasingly dictated by situational factors, routines, and social norms, and less and less by individual preferences. (p 55).”
Today to discuss how we should look at Robert Putnam, and Sherry Turkle’s articles, and In turn how we’ll look at the discussion of social contact technologies we’ll be adding to our understanding of interaction of technologies by expanding on some of the perspectives of the Science and Technology Studies Theories that were introduced last week. We’ll be asking how all three, Social Constructivist or Social Construction of Technology (S.C.O.T.) with its depth of focus on one technology in relation to its cultural and material enviornment, The top down approach of Large technological systems theory (L.T.S.), or the epistemological method of balance found in Actor Network Theory (A.N.T.).
FROM MIKA P.59
Consider in response to Putnam, the argument from Kaufman and Weintraub (2004) responding to his work. Their analysis focuses on how other technologies and social elements within the system besides fraternal and social groups may have effect (what they term covariates, or statistical significant factors in the interaction). They point out that in the end of the 19th century until its hayday of the 1920s many other dramatic technological and social changes were ongoing in the United States. Kaufman and Weintraub point out that Putnam’s argument may in fact be about documenting an effect of the rise in social engagement during this period as opposed to a cause of it. During this period social technologies Putnam didn’t consider are dramatically increased as well, including the ongoing rise of Unionization, Urbanization, and the rapid spread of the first generation of communication and media infrastructure, all of which could modify the way people socialize and participate in civic and political life. Putnam’s argument is about isolating and considering one technology among many. As we discussed last time, this reflects the prioritization technique used in the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) or Large Technological Systems (LTS) rather than the balanced approach that Actor Network Theory (ANT) focuses on as method. The whole way that an analysis is done, and the results it reveals may be different when the theoretical approach is different. By arguing for a more holistic and balanced approach, Kaufman and Weintraub don’t actually disagree with Putnam, rather they argue that his analysis is incomplete due to its emphasis. And this is a central difficulty of any analysis, the choices we make enable and constrain other aspects. Theories as mentioned last time, are developed as responses to, and summations of all best evidence available to science, and in this case the evidence is good, technology has effect, but how you apply the insights of that evidence is variable. Putnam sees that between the American civil war and the second World War between a quarter and a half of the adult population of the U.S. were members of fraternal organizations and prioritizes this aspect of the system. In contrast Kaufman and Weintraub point out that in the same period other technologies may have been equally influential, the problem with this broader approach is that bounding it, choosing which parts to consider in depth and with academic rigor is almost impossible, and it becomes very hard to document a strong correlation. And this is a key point. ANT and other broadly holistic approaches are better able to handle analyses which have a built in boundary, ANT begins looking at individual laboratories and spaces, Anthropological Ethnography began with and continues to methodologically focus on specific cultural areas, a village, a town, a tribe, rather than being epistemologically or methodologically geared towards broad societal analysis. This isn’t to say they cannot do broad analysis, but to reinforce that they are analytic technologies that are better at enabling localized analyses, analyses that have bounding factors inherent to them. What is clear to each analysis, singularly focused on organizations as in Putnam’s analysis, or in broader systems approaches, is that whether the correlation of fraternal organizations is causative or simply one among many, people were during this time entrained to be more active politically, more engaged with broad technologies of organization and social capital, and more aware of how systems like this benefitted them., they were a different kind of user.
Within an ANT approach we are therefore able to emphasize that multiple technologies, organizations and cultural elements are at work, we are able to more strongly make a claim for a real difference from today, with various categories and aspects in play as evidence of the difference. Within a SCOT approach we are able to narrow down and consider the contribution of individual technological forms, and while Robert Putnam and Sherry Turkle aren’t doing analysis with SCOT per se, they are doing this focusing out. What they are able to do is strongly document that these technologies have the capacity in themselves to be politically active, to enable and constrain society and individuals. This differs from the emphasis in LTS, because for SCOT the focus is on the interpretive flexibility, the ways that these elements did different things for different members of society while having broader impacts outside of their attention. That flexibility is secondary with LTS, in LTS we would focus on the fact that investment and construction of the material aspects of the System, the building of meeting halls for fraternal organizations, the development of communications devices like phone trees, structured plans for calling by and of members, their human technologies like respect for hierarchical authority, the political importance of polls and surveys, that arise from these technologies has a lasting effect because it is built, and once built it is hard to replace. The momentum of the changes performed in that period a century ago, whatever their cultural effect at the time, continue to have effect, constraining and enabling our actions today.
This then is the final message of this lecture, that we need more complicated analyses to understand the changes ongoing in our technological society. And, because we are using and developing more and more technologies that participate in our social lives, we need more and better attention to those changes. Not only from traditional areas of scholarship in the social sciences, but by groups working in technology development, Computer science, Human –Computer interactions, Interface design, Political campaigning, medical information systems, education, and business, all of whom will make choices that shape the way we interact that will last long after the moment of closure, the point at which their design choices end, and the interaction of technologies in our ever more complicated world begins. Ben Schneiderman of University of Maryland ends an analysis of expectations for the next 25 years of Human Computer Interface research and design by stating:
“While enthusiasm and optimism for [Technologically Mediated Social Participation] is warranted, there should also be concern about the dangers of privacy violation, misleading information, malicious attacks, lack of universal usability, and failures during peak loads, such as during disasters [ as we rely more and more on these technologies]. Since there are also dangers of use of this potent technology by criminals, terrorists, racial hate groups, and oppressive governments, our community [of people who are designing tomorrow’s technologies] will have to develop ethical standards and work to promote positive social values.”(p.9-10).
Technologies have real effects on the way we make friends, have relationships of all sorts, participate in groups including national politics and contribute to shaping our expectations for the actions of others. As we move forward in the class this concern will be applied to other technologies within society, but it is important to remember that while we are examining these technologies in the abstract, in major and minor ways we all will contribute to the design and implementation of technologies. Even in our small ways as individual users the choices we make, the interactions we shape with technology have lasting ramafications for our lives and those around us.
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