16 September, 2021 / By: Tech Stewardship Team

TS+ Advance Understanding

Commitment #1 – As tech stewards, we continuously discuss, refine and imagine new ways to shape technology for the benefit of all.

We constantly deepen our understanding of our relationship with technology, and challenge dangerously limited narratives and stereotypes. 

This includes examining our understanding of technology itself. 

What is technology? These days, technology often refers to digital devices or processes, such as AI, apps, or blockchain. But this understanding is narrow and time bound.

We like to use a working definition that supports a more expansive understanding:

Technology is the means by which humans adapt our environments to meet our needs or wants.

With this broadening, the multi-faceted nature of technology, and our relationship with it, becomes clearer. From the broad definition we would argue that:

  • Technology can be physical, digital, or biological, and includes things that have been around for millennia as well as that are new. 
    • Viewing technology as only being related to digital or new developments ignores key aspects of our relationship with technology. This prevents us from being aware of impacts and from making intentional choices.
  • To understand a technology, we need to understand both the technological artifacts (tools and objects created)the technology itself and their its impacts — especially if our goal is to shape technology for the benefit of all.
  • Far from being value neutral, our values shape and are shaped by our technology (as adapted from famous quotes by Marshall McLuhan and Winston Churchill).

This last point leads naturally to the next core commitment of a tech stewards, which is to Deliberate Values.

Note that advancing understanding isn’t limited to “technology” itself, but also to its relationship with other key concepts, many of which are explored by a diverse group of thinkers on this site (i.e. TS+ Engineering, TS+ Energy, TS+ Artificial Intelligence, etc…)

What do you think?

Join the conversation by adding your comments below.

Suggested Resources: Framework Institute / Dialogic OD

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