08 March 2013

Caring and Technology

It occurred to me recently that my ethic of caring is completely undermined when it comes to technology.

I'm disabled from acting on the empathy I feel towards others and what amounts to an everyday discomfort of using technology to do X.

The discomfort includes feelings of anxiety, frustration, desperation, anger, uncertainty and disappointment. It's the lived experiences themselves and remembering them. And it's the outcomes and influences of these lived experiences on our lives and those around us.

This is the discomfort I've experienced and witnessed others experiencing using technology for teaching and learning. It's one context; I'm sure it's not an anomaly.

It's International Women's Day today. Women across the globe, regardless of their socio-economic status do the bulk of the emotional, unpaid labor in societies. Their lives are more work.

So it matters to me that a given technology ends up involving more work, more time, more effort, and for what?

These posts:  The Ironies of Educational Technology and The Inhumanity of Smart Technology say it too. They wonder too. For what?

It's occurred to me that the culture of technology is not a caring culture and that I'm complicit in this cultural hegemony. It's collaborative and "supportive" but this is not caring.

Caring would manifest in technology designed with people in mind, not with processes and procedures.

It would change at a more humane pace so that all the people involved in making technological systems happen had time to become competent, and so that users could effectively use them. 

Caring would have rhetorical resonance. Language reflecting the meanings and relationships forged through the technology would stymie the hyperbolization of technological solutionism.

The most care I can give is to be honest and refrain from the rhetoric of hyperbole and solutionism.