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Posts Tagged ‘just

It has often been said that technology is just a tool. It is not.

We shape our tools and then our tools shape us. -- Marshall McLuhan

I do not have argument with “tool”; I take issue with “just”. Tools are not always neutral because they are designed with intent and function. These are part of the affordances of any technology.

What the layperson might not understand is that while some affordances are designed for and expected, others are negotiated or emergent.

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So when Google released its video on Searches in 2018, it chose to focus on the good and not the bad. This does not mean that it and its users did not do any evil.

We live in an era when we seem to have the unprecedented ability to generate and spread both misinformation and disinformation. Our technologies may have enhanced and enabled these, but we are responsible.

A gun may be designed to fire a projectile, but it is a person who choses a target, takes aim, and fires. Or not.

Likewise, Google Search extends our reach for information far beyond our fingertips and borders. But we can choose to reinforce our walls or burst our bubbles. Which we choose to do also depends on Google’s algorithms.

Google Search is a tool, but not just. The demean the description with “just” is to assumes that our searches are pure queries. They are not. We should not ignore that searches can be biased by algorithms and our mindsets.

After reading the headline and article, Singaporeans naive about fake news? No, just complacent and lacking awareness, says Edwin Tong, I had to ask: Only just?

The article was a follow up on the report released by the 10-member Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods. Like most news articles, this one did not provide details on the data collection and analyses methods. However, the report is available online.

If the committee’s findings are valid and if Tong’s comment is representative of their views, then we should be worried that we are generally complacent and lacking awareness about fake news. To put it more plainly and in another order, we don’t know and we don’t care.

Now put “just” before my paraphrasing. We just do not know nor do we care. Now does that make the issue more serious?

I get the sentiment behind this tweet.

But I cannot help but mischievously and realistically restate this as:

The first to apologize is the scapegoat
The first to forgive is the most gullible
And the first to forget is the one who did not tweet, Facebook, or Instagram it.

Just saying.


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