Manifesto: Kayla Vanderlyn

1. Education should embrace technology and those responsible for teaching should understand the basics of the technology they use.
Schools should incorporate technology such as laptops and robotics into the school curriculum and teachers should know how it works and be able to teach it. Technology is an integral part of our everyday life and is ever changing and expanding. Children should be immersed in it so that they better understand how it functions and how to manipulate it to their needs. In order to keep up with the younger generation and teach them the appropriate ways to use new technology, teachers must themselves be continually educated in it as a part of their certification. Classrooms need to be equipped with technology similar to that used by most people on a daily basis, and it needs to be updated as technology changes. In the short term, the monetary impact will be staggering, keeping up with technology is not an inexpensive endeavor, but with grand money from corporations, it could be achieved and would create a far more computer literate and technologically savvy younger generation. As technology progresses fewer and fewer people understand what it is or how it works. America has declined in nearly all technology related fields over the past 50 years. Without the drive of the Space Race to motivate the current generation of students, they must be inspired and equipped to handle the changing field of technology that they will encounter later in life. It is imperative that this be addressed at the earliest level of education feasible. This directive will help equalize all people on a technological level.
(Digital Natives article)

2. Technological research should be publicly funded and released to the public.
Right now, research is divided between the public and private sector, it is biased towards whoever is funding it, and such a bias is unavoidable. The best possible bias is one toward the public good. Thus, the government should fund research and furthermore, this research should then be released to the public. This would allow researchers to attempt to develop new technologies that would aid the public, as the public is the source of their income. While this could lead to a lack of development in less glamorous areas, through the use of rhetoric, even that could likely be overcome. Since tax money would be used in the development of new technologies, scientists would have to show the public why their research needed funding. This public forum would force science to be made more understandable to the general public. The audience for scholarly articles would no longer be confined to other academics, but would encompass the general public. With a more open forum on which science could be discussed, patents could be better regulated. The Apple vs. Samsung case over patents proves that the private sector has mishandled their power. When something as simple as rounded corners can count as intellectual property, there is something wrong with the system. With all knowledge open and available to the people, companies would have less incentive to protect intellectual property, because everyone has free access to it. Science would also benefit from the indirect effects of the free market, as they would only receive funding for technologies and experiments people were interested in. Furthermore, with one unified source behind technologies, software and standards could be unified creating a more user friendly environment. This value should be adopted because it would bring greater competition and openness into a field typically intentionally shrouded in mystery and allow for a unity never before found in technology.
(Do Artifacts have Politics)

3. Technology should not progress to a point where it can be considered sentient.
Currently, technology is an unthinking, human creation. We make and control everything about it. Technology should not be allowed to achieve any sort of self-awareness of ability to want anything. Creating robots that simulate life has long been of interest to scientists. I believe that this should be stopped before machines are able to actually want. Kelly states that the “technium” wants a number of things from us, many of which we gladly give. But, as of yet this is not the technology wanting anything so much as it is someone wanting something and creating a technology to get it. Facebook was created to allow people to share information and connect on a social level. It was then expanded to acquire as much personal information as possible so as to sell that to advertisers. It isn’t the software that wants the technology—yet. Should technology ever reach such a point, it would begin to lose its usefulness to humanity. Right now technology can be relied on to do things humans don’t want to do or can’t do. It can be discarded or upgraded as needed and is clearly classifiable as a thing to be owned. Technology cannot be allowed to become human. While this may stunt the growth of technology and the ability of computers to guess what we want, of robots to replace us in the workforce and of software to update on their own, it will ensure that humanity never reaches a point where it is fighting against robotic equals. This principle is critical to ensure the continued dominance of humanity in the world, and to maintain our current standard of living, without having to contemplate the ethics or morality of the appliances we use everyday.
(What Technology Wants)

4. Children should be taught basic programming within the schools, along with internet literacy and keyboarding.
Schools are already integrating how to preform a Google search, how to type and what to look for when trusting websites to their curriculum. Simple programming should become a mandatory part of the elementary curriculum. Children learn logic at a relatively young age and continue to refine and hone the skill all through their lives. Programming is important for several reasons. When introduced at a young age, children do not fear it and can easily pick it up. When taught basic programming with concrete purpose, children as young as eight are capable of understand and learn how it works. If this is expanded throughout their education, by the time they graduate high school, they would have a basic working knowledge of how to write simple computer scripts and the underlying principles of how society runs. Computer Science specifically seeks to obfuscate code, hiding the purpose within layers of complexity. This makes it harder to reverse engineer, but also means the basic user cannot trouble shoot programs running on their own machine. Just adding computer literacy as a core part of the school curriculum would greatly increase how much the next generation understood the world around them. It would lead to a decrease in the number of technical support people required and while it would require a restructuring of the national education system, ultimately it would create a more technologically fluent generation that was better equipped to face the challenges unique to the digital age. This concept should be adopted so that society doesn’t reach a point where wiping out Silicon Valley would destroy our understanding of technology and ability to continue to advance it.

5. People should realize greater military power will not ensure peace and should strive for greater defensive advancements than offensive ones.
With each great innovation in warfare it was believed that war would be made impossible. It was this way for the machine gun, dynamite and nuclear bombs. This has been proved false now on countless occasions. Greater methods of killing merely lead to worse wars. I adopted this principle because it needs to be understood by everyone. The way to ensure peace is not through violence, but through peace. Nothing is powerful enough to ensure absolute peace. Even during the cold war, a “hot war” broke out in Korea. While it is possible to create weapons so powerful no one wants to use them, that isn’t the same as preventing all war. Instead of funneling money into better ways to kill, money should be spent on ways to neutralize weapons and provide defense. If the government focused on better shielding technology and better combat armor, lives could have been saved. This principle is not foolproof, and a standing military would still be required to maintain our position in the world, but while it takes greater effort to defend successfully, it is also a more humane thing to do. War destroys lives, and should be prevented at all cost. This principle should be adopted because it would lead to less loss of life and greater international harmony. The United States is seen as an aggressor in many parts of the world. In order to change the way the world perceives us, first we must change ourselves. War will not bring a lasting peace, unless everyone is dead.
(What Technology Wants Chapter 10)

6. Privacy policies and other consumer agreements should be written in simple English and shortened to an extent that the everyday consumer can understand them.
Currently most privacy policies and websites terms and conditions are written in incredibly long and complex ways. These agreements govern how users interact with the technology, what they are allowed to do and what rights they are entitled to. Because of this, they should be written in language the average consumer is capable of understanding. The Plain English Movement has been around for some time and strives to make this happen. With websites such as Wikipedia adopting it and creating articles in simple English, so others can better understand more difficult concepts, the Plain English Movement needs to be adopted on a larger scale. Since it would only require the rewriting of the agreements, the greater implications of adopting such an initiative are more limited. It would allow users to understand what they were getting into ahead of time, and might encourage them to read both the Terms of Service and Privacy Policies of sites they give their information to. It would require the short term assistance of professional writers or lawyers to make sure the documents said what was required, but after that would not require any additional upkeep. It would make it harder for companies to scam their users, as more users would be able to read and understand what they were signing up for. This measure should be adopted to help create a more user friendly internet, where people are informed about their choices. Already some websites such as Facebook and Google have started to adopt this measure. It wouldn’t take much for the rest of the Internet to follow.
( and The Googlization of Everything, chapter 3.