In our theory class we’ve been reading about human experiences and technology: whether it is in education, understanding privacy or designing in developing countries. After each section of readings, we’re asked to plot a 2×2 diagram as a way to synthesize the author’s perspectives through a broader lens.
While some of these readings might focus on different topics, I found the idea of understanding information to be an overarching theme. We started with John Dewey and Neil Postman. For Dewey, it was how we gain information or knowledge through experiences in education. Writer John Postman looked at information as filtered through technological innovation.
Dewey and Postman suggested that information, labeled as experience or technology, was either good or bad for the individual. Information therefore needs to be filtered or curated so that an individual may gain benefit from it. Our readings concerning privacy by authors such as Paul Dourish, danah boyd and Emily Nussbaum got me thinking about information as open and public, rather than filtered or private.
This inspired the first axis on my 2×2 diagram as contrast between information being filtered for an individual or whether information should be open and chaotic, with the individual finding meaning in it on their own terms.
Readings by C.K. Prahalad, Erik Hersman and Jocelyn Wyatt concerned designing in developing countries. With diverse perspectives influenced by their backgrounds as a marketer, entrepreneur and design researcher restively, they looked at understanding designing for the world’s poor. Prahalad took a very pro-capitalist perspective; expanding consumer choices for the world’s poor is empowering for them and profitable for corporations. He gave an example of rural Indian soy farmers gaining information about world commodity prices through new technology to allow them to make more money.
I made a leap from Prahalad who saw open information as progress back to Dewey, who saw filtered information as leading to progress. This set my second 2×2 diagram axis as whether an author favored change as progress or valued tradition as benefiting society.
This created a noteworthy dynamic between how information, whether it be open and chaotic or filtered and curated, is valued in relation to how societies focus on either progress or tradition.No Comments »