After reading, watching, or browsing the required articles from this week as well as those from the last, I find myself thinking that there is an overall lack of responsibility/ownership when it comes to understanding technology, understanding how it is to be used, and understanding who is in control of it. To blame technology for the decay of society would be the same type of thinking as blaming the gun in a shooting or the car in a hit and run. In this post, I will discuss some of the specific pieces that we have studied this week and point out what I perceive to be flaws in their thinking.
The first piece that I would like to discuss is Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk – “Connected, but Alone?” found here. The presenter and author of “Alone Together,” refers to technology as a tool that does not bring us together, but one that tears us apart. Turkle uses statements like: ” we design tech that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship,” and “we don’t have the time to talk about things that matter.” Throughout Turkle’s article, there is no reference to the role that the individual plays in the utilization of technology and or the role that we the user must play to ensure that they are connected deeply with those around them. We live in a world where we can connect in seconds to anyone, anywhere in the world yet we feel alone and not connected? Perhaps instead of blaming the technology or the platform, we need to blame the user(s).
Turkle is not the only one to speak with a doom and gloom perspective of technology on society. Neil Postman penned an article in 1998 article called “Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change.” In Postman’s article, he speaks of a technological +/- trade off, indicates the +/- is never even, and also go so far as to claim that technological change is “ecological, unpredictable, and often irreversible.” Like Turkle’s Ted Talk, Postman’s article makes no mention of the user to use the technology for good instead of evil.
With regards to using technology for good over evil, I would like to draw attention to the world of AI in education. AI in education has created quite a stir with many educators and the majority speak of AI from the side of evil without taking time to examine the role of the user, and in this case, the role of the educator. On the surface, the articles “Teaching with AI,” and “UNESCO’s AI in Education,” both provide some positive ways in which AI tools can be used in schools. However, the heart of this matter lies with the people: the user for using the technology appropriately, and the educator for ensuring that they focus their instruction on the process instead of the product or the outcomes instead of the assignment. (Example: Essay assigned with a due date of two weeks with no focus on the process will equal an AI generated product.)
In closing, I would like to return to the title of “I Share Therefore I Am,” and offer a different thought. When it comes to technology and the modern world, it is not the technology or the platform that is to blame, it is the user or the users in the case of AI in education. Perhaps the title “I Think Therefore I Am” or “I Think Before I Share” may have been more fitting of a title for this week’s blog post.