In class a few weeks ago we were given the following questions and were asked to answer them to the best of our abilities:
Is technology neutral (that is as a non value laden tool?) or not neutral (and thus has value laden nature to it)? How do you understand and unpack this neutrality or non-neutrality? What potential impact do you believe the nature of technology as neutral or non-neutral has on society at large?
The following is my response:
Technology itself is neutral. It does not work better or worse depending who is using it. It does not have a mind of its own (most of the time. yikes!) and will not be biased towards one user. However, the backgrounds, perceptions, and experience each human being brings to their interactions with technology are not neutral.
Different generations have been accustomed to different kinds of technology. Different cultures approach technology in different ways. People of higher or lower SES have access to different technologies. However, the technology itself does not change. Computers are still computers, Ipods are stil Ipods etc. It is how we use the technology to our advantage or disadvantage that creates the bias with technology.
It ws interesting to read everyone elses' post on this same subject because very few went the route that I did. Most stated that technology was made and created for the higher SES/richer population of richer countries. Sure, this may be true. But that doesn't make the plastic and the metal componants biased. The USES are biases. The USERS are biased. The technology is neutral and waiting to be used to it's full capacity by whomever gets there first.