No Humans Allowed

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2018-07-21 08:00:00-04:00 No comments

Why bad technology dominates our lives, according to Don Norman

We have unwittingly accepted the paradigm that technology comes first, with people relegated to doing the actions that the machines cannot do. This requires people to act like machines, ever ready to take over when things go wrong.

... Whenever I wander around a city, I often stop to examine some unique thing I’ve noticed. Why? Curiosity: It’s a natural human trait. My curiosity frequently leads me to insights that have helped me in my career. So why is this wonderful, creative trait of curiosity given the negative term “distraction”?

This brings back to mind a line I return to often, one I believe came by way of Theodore Roszak: whatever it is we're designing our world for, it isn't the human being.

And by that I don't just mean the gadgetry we surround ourselves with. In fact, I think that's a distant second. The real non-human design of this world is in the societies we've constructed, which value capital or obedience or brute strength over people and humane connections and constructive occupations and inquiry. Whatever gadgets we have will merely serve the interests of the world that already exists or which we seek to make.

We know all this; we just don't choose to do much about it. When we do choose to do something about it, we choose mainly cheap shots and quick fixes that amount to very little and perhaps nothing.

I'm a child of this age. I had a computer to play with — and I do mean "play" — since I was quite young. I have a late-model smartphone. I wrote the software that powers this blog. But I know it's all just the plumbing and the wiring. It's not the grass and the trees and the water. It's definitely not you and me. You and me have to come first.

Tags: society technology