Freedom to Tech



Angel_Falls_chandelier IIHIH 2

“A wise man told me that we are born with wings

But never taught to fly
Doesn’t that make you wonder why?
Is it to prevent us from falling out of the sky
Or is it to stop us from soaring too high?
So let me ask you this

Are you running around in a circle, going nowhere fast?
‘Cause when you look at the man in the mirror
He’s made of nothing but glass
You’re never aware that mountains don’t move themselves
Tectonic plates take something to make them shift
That all it took was a staff to part the Red Sea
All it took was a bus to Montgomery
A single woman who refused to give up her seat
We fought an entire army with a bouquet of flowers back in the ‘70s
But now you’re taught to remain a hamster on a wheel until you run out of energy
Afraid that if you strive for an ideal you end up like a Kennedy
It’s like being on a treadmill every day but never losing any weight
‘Cause to see success the food before you digest has to change
We’re stressed and high, get depressed and die
But still afraid to question why
One of the biggest criminals I ever met wore a suit and tie
When did we stop believing? When did we stop marching?
When did we stop chanting?”

Suli Breaks

What is this Puppet-World?

What is is this “marching” and “chanting” all about?

There are so many things we are closing our eyes to on our day-to-day basis: “I don’t want to watch the news or read those depressing articles about war and hunger. Oh, look here is some funny video that will make me happy or a plastic phone that will precisely do nothing!”…

Panem et circuses (bread and circuses) can be found at any moment on all tv channels, social media or online stores. Technology is becoming the biggest part of everybody’s life now, giving us access and proximity to anything that can possibly interest us as human beings. We finally have freedom of information and choice (or at least that’s what we believe we do)!

So why, when I stop and think about it, I do not feel that liberated? Why do I keep getting that gnawing feeling deep inside that:

“We are taught to watch the puppets
Not the hands controlling”(Sergio Pizzorno)

No conspiracy theory is going to follow: do not worry.

What I do want to refer to in this post is the article I read the other day about Persuasive Technology and Nudge design approach, where the main question discussed was: “are we being taught to like the things we think we like?”. It sounds like a very mean thing, but it has its own philosophy and reasoning behind, hence, the debate around it.

We (excluding certain technophobic cases) all want to believe that the technology we are using now and its future form is going to improve our lives, liberate society and all in all make more sense of our own existence. Most of us, however, are so used to being introduced to some new apps or products almost every single day, that we do not always take a minute to even consider if it is something that we actually need or/and can benefit from on an ethical level. This is the behavior-influencing effect of technology in action: even though we have the freedom of choosing what we like, we still would never be able to absolutely opt-out the constraints of the choice being made for us. We like what we see, and we get what we find available – not the other way around.

So, if everything is so desperate and gloomy, what is the point of even thinking about it? We are all doomed and will never get off the “wheel” anyway. Well, that’s where we are wrong. If technology is the power, who says that you need to submit to it instead of gaining it? Who says you need to “stop believing, stop marching, stop chanting” ?

Remember how we started with the realization that we now have access and proximity to whatever we are interested in? Thats’s right. The key word is “interest”. It is so easy to lose focus in the ocean of information that we, humans, all of a sudden got exposed to way before our physical brains had developed enough to embrace it. But we are smart and we are in charge. All we have to do is find the right free channels and start learning what others had started to learn long time ago: coding, engineering, designing!

Technology is a product of our combined creative thinking, it is not an alien form or mysterious code invented by a secret society. It belongs to each and every one of us, regardless of age, race, gender, location or time. Yes, time! It belongs to everyone: everyone from your great-great parents, who worked at a factory during the Industrial Revolution, to the first common ancestor of ours who grabbed a stick and started a fire.

I’m done here.

…When do we start believing?  When do we start marching?
When do we start coding?”