This is the work I have desired to create while being indebted to so many authors, researchers, scientists, philosophers, activists, and creatives before me. The journey of a writer is the most boisterously familial silent retreat.
This is a treatise of sorts. Its purpose is exploration. And commitment. I have no template or rulebook, so it will be messy. But through refining and shaping, maybe some insight, truth, seed flows out.
Some have a personal technology ethic with lifestyle principles like digital minimalism, regulating content intake, or social media fasts. These are essential. We should each take responsibility as stewards of our own attention, cognition, and emotion. This is not that.
The privilege of having the ability to create personal rules around technology is one absent 99% of civilization. While these disciplines regulate a person’s relationship to technology, a technology ethic establishes how technology should relate to the user. It frees the impoverished, unschooled, and malnourished of society and simplifies the battle of conscientious device-users before the device reaches their hands.
The absolute necessity of this design ethic must be understood in light of the full force of AI and persuasive design’s ability within an attention economy. In scarcity-based economics, it’s not profitable for designers to create systems that respect human dignity and control.
This question is not merely for designers and ethicists and businesspeople to grapple with. This question should inform our every decision as consumers. This question should pervade the way we discuss culture and the technological changes that shape it so dramatically.
We have to understand design ethics to recognize and eschew inhumane platforms and technologies that either rule our lives our ruin other’s. Here’s our guiding context and question:
“We have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and God-like technology…”Edward O. Wilson
…So how do we regulate and design technology to promote human thriving?
1 on defaults and technicalities