@strypey What are cases of technological introductions in which the risk assessment and mitigation part(s) were done correctly? Has that ever even happened?
Genetic engineering comes to mind. At least they tried, with the 1975 Asilomar Conference:
I mean, hell, Gutenberg's press blew up Europe (and the Catholic Church) for a century or four.
Technological innovation tends to lead to direct competitive advantage, even in academia (access to funding), and that leads to incentives to always push forwards as fast as possible. Ethics and morality puts one at a disadvantage, and even 'good' ppl jump the shark with an "we address that later" rationalisation.
Framing and framing effects are important too. I have objection to "digital transformation" hype as it is framed such as to de-emphasize the role of humans.
Just the mere words "digital transformation" imply we must transition to digital spaces, use tech just for the sake of using it.
But tech should be supportive to humans, empowering us while staying as unobtrusive as possible.
Maybe "digital alignment" or "human(e) alignment" might be better when talking about objectives where tech should be headed.
But "digital transformation" sells better and comes with many huge corporate IT projects that are shoved down our throat.
Digital transformation maps real well on 'being disruptive' and 'move fast and break things'. And the sales pitch goes a bit like: "We all wanna avoid those clumsy manual procedures. Digital [just] increases efficience, raises productivity, hence saves costs, raises ROI, and should thus be a no-brainer".
And with budgets being strained everywhere that is a powerful lure, especially for people not aware of the technical complexity and inevitable side-effects that'll come.
It's interesting to read these words and analyze how they affect your frame of mind.
If you're in tech maybe you are now rushed , stressed, overwhelmed, have a huge backlog of TODO's, plans, deadlines you set for yourself or placed upon you.
Now read each of these words slowly and reflect a bit on them:
- Small tech
- Slow tech
- Calm tech
Did they put you more at ease? Can you look differently on what you do today? Does it allow different perspective?
It does to me.
> people tend to think of software as dead/broken if it didn't have some kind of recent code/release activity
There was an interesting thread on Jekyll being 'dead' yesterday on HN. Others considered it feature-complete (though the plugin ecosystem is languishing).
I could imagine some kind of 'stamp of approval' that guarantees / imbibes trust that a project has reached a level of feature-completeness.
In a way it is a bit of an unaddressed 'marketing' issue.
Yes, you are right to state that. There are more axes along which to measure. E.g. Maturity is another dimension that is different than mere 'feature-completeness'.
Regardless of that a #FOSS 'institute' might help do the labeling as "safe to use even when inactive now", when the project maintainers didn't make that sufficiently clear.
This is not a promise, but an intention. It's just where it starts. And indeed worthless without real follow-up and action.
We see a trend of sustainable businesses that emerges. They might embed this in a manifesto and continuously monitor their compliance, so they can turn their intent into a promise as they deliver. By anchoring these values in their business.
Incentives might flow from a quest for sustainable income, which leaves more space to do things differently.
Ha ha, I'm old too, and getting older faster than time progresses if I read all the negativity that's so easily available across all media channels.
But when allowing myself to open up to some positivity a whole new realm opens, and I see things I couldn't perceive before. Not a glorious road that seemingly leads to utopia, but more a winding pathway of hope that one can practice walking and do some useful things along the way :D
I focus not on success, just progress.
I say this casually but for me this insight has been kinda profound. As humane tech activist I was mostly focussed on raising problem awareness, as most people do. And it was utterly, thoroughly depressive. Especially seeing that most people get numb to all these urgent messages thrown at them. They tune out.
I became stressed out for their sake. Now for some time I adopted a solution mindset + allowed some positivity and optimism to take hold. It provides a way forward.
The urge to fix is what I hate most about tech optimism. Sometimes things need to be destroyed because they are intrinsically bad things.
It's amazing how tech always wants to fix *itself* but gives few shits about maintenance or fixing of built up infrastructure or environment. Tech is always out in its driveway waxing its own classic car.
@humanetech There are different elements of the problems of technology (more accurately in much current discussion, information technology).
One track, let's call it T, is identifying the problem(s), the goal(s), and the path to reaching those ("getting there from here"). That's the technical side.
Another, S, is the selling of that solution to the broader world. It's the sell-side.
When you're in S mode, yes, you typically want kittens-and-puppies-and-unicorns-farting-rainbows. 🐱 🐶 🦄 🌈
But you've got to have something to sell. And when I come here asking the T questions ... you don't have much for me.
And that's why I find what you're offering rather empty.
Technology isn't built on aspirations and wishful thinking. It might be motivated and marketed on those bases. But solid technology identifies specific risks and opportunities and means of minimising the first whilst maximising the latter.
"Small", "Slow", and "Calm" aren't mechanisms", they're *goals.
But if you're interested in keeping my attention, you'll have to answer:
Why these goals?
What risks to they address, what opportunities do they create?
How do you ensure that they persist? Because these are frequent promises, and they're also just as frequently disappointments.
How are you going to deliver them in the first place?
And how do you propose their surviving in a world which seems hell bent for leather on obliterating any such promises, or, at best, as making them an option only for the exceptionally wealthy or eccentric.
Otherwise this is just hopium and castles in clouds. Pretty to think about, but disappointing when you want shelter from the rain or marauding hordes.
I called "Small", "Slow", "Calm" intents, and you goals, which are in the same street.
Made a *personal* shift from problem to solution focus because the former is overemphasized in the media and the latter interests me more. Other than that I am not selling nor offering anything. I toot and people find it interesting or not. It's that simple. My advocacy mostly consists of laying links between ppl. groups, projects.. "are you aware of this?".
They are new fields, a different way of thinking about technology, and hence they are vast.
For Small / Slow / Calm technology to become in any way meaningful we need a helluva lot of both T and S and lotsa people involved in both.
Here on fedi and in foss culture there's more progress. The mindset is already different, the seed of what these terms mean is set. Advocacy might simply mean making more people aware of that.
Making that far more explicit (that these are goals and aspirations, not technologies or solutions of themselves) ... might ... help.
Again: this has been offered and sold before, in many different forms.
The "back to nature" movement, "slow food", a whole set of anti-modernism religous movements (which I'm having trouble finding) at the end of the 19th century and especially in the Lost Generation after WWI. The Luddites (not a pejorative, I have some sympathies). Amish and Menonites. Monastic and ascetic movements, the Jainists.
It can at best be a very small countermovement, from what I've seen.
Yes, certainly true. There's a whole bunch of damn, intertwined wicked problems to consider, but doing so - to me at least - had a stifling effect and made me cynical and fatalistic, not able to see the 1,000's of people doing wonderful small but significant things to improve things, make progress. I became myopic to all that.
OTOH in the wider public there's more awareness that something is wrong. Maybe more willingness to change, become part of the solution-side too.
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