Rosalie Wind - Manifesto

Rosalie Wind, Manifesto Part I.

1. Humans should understand digital technology’s importance, but not rely on it entirely.

An aspiring author used a straight-to-Kindle, self-publishing company to distribute her novel The Greek Seaman. Not surprisingly, the book went unedited nor proofread, published with errors and grammar issues. Humans should understand that they get what they pay for when using the internet and digital technology purely for convenience. The process of getting a book published by a print company can take years and multiple revisions, but it signifies hard work and effort from the author who truly believes in their work. Using an internet tool to immediately publish your work implies that the book did not result from hard work and value of literature. The author of The Greek Seaman relied on digital technology to be her publisher, and because no personal regulation existed on the technology’s end, she found herself dissatisfied with the product.

We should embrace technology’s importance, but not rely on it to create. Digital technology should always be created, repaired, and commodified by humans. Humans should maintain control by being the brain behind technology. An autonomous machine that can modify, learn, and regulate by itself may repair itself incorrectly and unreliably. Computers that independently check for updates and fix problems on their own must have been invented by humans, and must be approved of by the computer’s human owner. By demanding human presence behind a machine, jobs should always be available to humans: Computer software programmers, designers, and engineers should create and invent new digital technologies. Their presence ensures the technology’s craft, use, and reliability because they have had the schooling, the experience, and the human innovativeness to create the technology.

“The Mozilla Manifesto.” Mozilla. 2011. Web. 12 April 2011.
<http://www.mozilla.org/about/manifesto.en.html>.

Grant, Drew. “The E-Book that Launched a Thousand Flame Wars.” Salon. 29 March
2011. Web. 12 April 2011.
<http://www.salon.com/books/writing/index.html?story=/books/2011/03/29/jacqueline_howett_greek_seaman>.

2. Technology should enrich the lives of humans, not deconstruct.

Digital technology can dehumanize our abilities. Instead of writing on pen and paper, humans rely on a keyboard and a screen. Important documents created on a computer can be destroyed if that computer shuts down without saving. Humans should personally identify with their digital use and should hold themselves accountable for everything they use digital technology for. As technology shares its enriching qualities, humans should share theirs. The internet and other digital technologies should be an open and safe public resource, but we should always cite and be mindful of the original author.

Technology produces and we should consider it as the “source of systems, controls, and information” (Hughes 111). Developers of technology should design styles according to the values of the age (Hughes 118). Technology should embrace our aesthetics and abilities, not “displace…artisans and produce…inexpensive and crude copies of handcrafted work” (Hughes 135). Digital technology exists to convenience humans, not replace. Technology’s usefulness should be minimal but noticeable, convenient but not controlling. Because a technology is not a sentient being, we do not cause it pain by using it poorly. A technology had to be invented and repaired by a human, thus we maintain control over it enjoy its convenience. However, humans should recognize that reliance on digital technology can be “repressive” and encourage a “systematized” society (Hughes 142). Do not “obey” technology, but approach it with your needs and wants (Hughes 143). Humans created, designed, commoditized, and consumed digital technology, so they should not let themselves be ruled by such. Maintain whatever control over technology you can.

“The Mozilla Manifesto.” Mozilla. 2011. Web. 12 April 2011.
<http://www.mozilla.org/about/manifesto.en.html>.

Hughes, Thomas P. Human-Built World: How to think about Technology and Culture.
The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2004.

3. Humans should attain knowledge and skill in designing through life experience, not through a screen.

Humans should gain a “visual ‘realism’” and an “intellectual ‘realism’” and learn the way items and technologies work through understanding them and experiencing them (Carr 40). As we mature, our concepts grow more intellectual and realistic. We gain abstract and concrete knowledge and understand more than what our eyes see. We become more scientific and gain self-actualization through this knowledge. We rely on ourselves to continue education, not what technology can provide for us. Take a priceless mountain view: We can see it after a long day of laborious hiking, and we can see it on the internet after a Google search. The former is more realistic, more an individual experience, and more authentic. Through technology, we can see mountain tops we otherwise would never be able to see, but when possible we should strive for learning through life and hands-on experience, not through a computer screen. We gain understanding, analytical and critical thinking skills, and an individual perspective through this.

Technologies change the way we think, this is not negative or disadvantageous because it’s a part of progressive cultures (Carr 43). However, technologies should not define us or our interests, but nourish our preexisting talents and identifications. Through technologies we seek “to expand our power and control over our circumstances-over nature, over time and distance, over one another” (Carr 44). Technologies encourage our human “capacities”: Intellectual, physical, sensory, and our desires (Carr 44). Because technologies are not sentient beings, they remain in our control. We use technologies for “self-expression, for shaping personal and public identity, and for cultivating relations with others” (Carr 45).

Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. W.W. Norton &
Company: New York, 2010.

4. Technology should be present for our enjoyment, but should not replace books, outdoor entertainment, or previously enjoyed activities because of convenience and accessibility.

Technology should be accessible because humans create and consume it. Humans can “love” their computer and iPad because they can make it their own and adapt it to their human needs, not because the technologies regulate human existences. If technologies shut down, are taken off the market, or lose software support and repair warrantees, the human should not have learned to rely on the technologies. Humans should understand the evolution of their purchased technology, and should buy it based on their own needs and not the appealing and popular image of having the technology.

Technologies should be used based on what humans need, not what everybody else has. We identify ourselves because of the technologies we use (“I’m a Mac” or “I’m a PC”) instead of identifying the consumerism and industrialization behind the product. The product should bring us entertainment and convenience, not define us. We define the product because of the music we put in its space, the data and information we give it, and the ways in which we make it personal to us.

Google Company wants to dominate print and online publishing by digitizing all books published. Their use of digital technology should not come down to owning rights to every book ever published. Digitizing all forms of print neglects the value of the book, of the poem, and of the literary medium. We enjoy books and print for the effort it took to write, revise, edit, and publish. It takes time to popularize a novel, and the entertainment value of a book compares differently to an entertainment value provided by a website.

Darnton, Robert. “A Digital Library Better than Google’s.” The New York Times. 23
March 2011. Web. 12 April 2011.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/opinion/24darnton.html?_r=3&hp>.

5. Digital technology should be cross-functional.

This reduces the number needed to exist, and the complexity of a digital technology will be worth the time, cost, and effort because it provides more than aesthetics and accessibility. We buy into the new technologies because of their availability to us, but we should use one technology for many actions and conveniences. A laptop perfectly exemplifies the actions you can conduct with one technological item. You can keep a huge portion of your life on one technology because of its options and capabilities. Technologies should advantage humans because we can use technologies to our own needs, and they should be designed to flexibly be used for different actions and productions.

By being cross-functional, we keep simplicity essential in technologies. The Agile Software Development Team wrote in their Manifesto that they intend to maintain technology as a simple and functional being. Their company welcomes changing requirements, even late in development. They respond to change for continuous development because they place human needs as more important than technological needs. If humans are unhappy with a technology or its presentation, they will not buy it. Instead of updating technology for its own sake like some companies, the Agile Software developers recognize that humans desire technologies that respond to their needs and wants, so they develop technologies based on human demand.

Beck, Kent. "Principles behind the Agile Manifesto." Agile Alliance. 2011. 12 April 2011.

Agile Software Development. 2011. Web. 12 April 2011.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agile_Manifesto>.

6. Humans should learn to live independently of technology whenever possible.

If humans depend on technology for everything, technologies will gain control over human needs, and if a technology proves unreliable or poorly manufactured, the human needs the technology to survive and produce. Humans use technologies to stay alive such as pacemakers, feeding tubes, and catheters but they should not use them as the sole means to stay alive. Humans who need technologies to remain breathing, eating, or living should find ways to extend their lives outside of technology, whether metaphorically, through familial traditions and rituals, or intellectually. Whatever ways one can stay alive independent of technology signifies control over technologies.

Do not rely on technologies because of what they provide for you; embrace technologies because they make you more able and productive. You choose to buy or not buy a technology, and because you have the resources to attain a technology, you have the control over it. If it breaks down, it does not control you. You do not need to carry your phone with you at all times because you control your phone use. Your phone does not control you. You can choose to be as available as you want because you choose to charge your phone, to respond to texts or answer calls, or to keep your phone with you at all times. You can control if you have your phone with you, but not let it ring, keep it on vibrate, or keep it turned off.

In “Twitter Can’t Save You,” an article by Lee Siegel, we read that the internet should be liberating. We should use it to share information, to connect with each other, and to provide benefits for everyone. We control the internet, we control what goes on it, and we control the public sway of popularity. Twitter has exploded in popularity, and that should be a result of public influence, not a result of technology’s manipulation.

Siegel, Lee. “Twitter Can’t Save You.” The New York Times. 4 February 2011. Web. 12
April 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/books/review/Siegel-t.html?ref=books/>.