The Hidden Aspects of Technology

Atualizado: 17 de Out de 2019

When evaluating a product or a service, many technical aspects come into our minds. These quantitative variables - generally related to speed, time, and capacity - are assessed on benchmark tests and become part of a final score. In spite of that, I would like to shed some light on three also important non-technical features: the tendency of a technology solution to benefit sentient beings, the ability to enhance our decision making, and the footprint a tech solution leaves on our environment and on the people that work for the company behind the scenes.

Look for Merit, not Only Value.

When we are analyzing if we should purchase a product or sign up for a service, we naturally look for how much value it could generate to us, so we can compare the utility with the price and see if it is worth paying for it.

But, what we should be doing is looking for ways that we could use technology to create not just value, but rightful thinking and action.

Some social networks create value by boosting our ego thru "likes" and praises we get on our posts online. But, in the end, that does not help us because feeding our ego is misleading. In this case, we can not talk about merit, just value.

Several technologies are capable of creating real merit. Take Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), as an example. Thanks to AAC, people with cognitive deficiencies are empowered to communicate with their loved ones and medical staff, enabling an essential human quality.

Another simple example would be a web search engine. It can examine millions of pages in just a few seconds and come up with a report that we can use to decide which one to access.

Go for Decision Empowering

The most satisfying tech to use are the ones that do not decide for us but gives us options and aids us with data so we can make better decisions.

Look at an example of a forecast for a weather app below. Which message do you think would be the best choice?

1) Tomorrow it is going to rain.

2) There is a 10% chance of rain tomorrow.

The first message leaves little space for the user to decide whether he or she should bring an umbrella for a walk, and It would probably be stupid not to, as the message is quite clear that it will rain.

On the other hand, if you had access to message #2, you would probably ignore the 10% risk of precipitation and go for a walk without having to carry a piece of annoying and most likely unnecessary equipment.

Care for Environmental Impact and People

Electric vehicles (EV) are the new environmental stars of the automobile industry. But are they worth the hype? We all know they are considered zero-emissions solution transportation, but are there any production-related ecological impacts? What raw materials are employed, and are they obtained?

If we want to be committed to creating a better world for our children, we need to start caring for the consequences that rest beyond the technical features. There will always be impacts in nature and everyone related to the product and service, so we need to focus on reducing our footprint.

We should also investigate the working conditions of people involved in the production of the product or the operation of the service.

If we perceived that some of the brand practices are abusive, maybe we should keep that in mind and downgrade it on our list of preferred choices.

We need to bring our relationship with technology to the next level. Analyzing design and performance is still necessary, but there are more sophisticated aspects that we need to explore if we want to make better decisions for ourselves and our communities.

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