“How do you take something really simple, and make it better not by adding more, but by stripping it down?”
This philosophy stands behind so many innovative, minimalist technologies* that are hitting the scene in a “big tech”-dominated world. People are realizing they have more options than the default, and they are willing to choose wholeness and intentionality in spite of these options being harder to assimilate.
These products exist, and they don’t carry the burden of the forbidden fruit in their design. Originals writer, Adam Grant, writes about why employees who use Firefox or Chrome on their work PCs are “more committed and better performers” in the companies in which they reside. These workers are “originals” because they reject the default tech (Internet Explorer) in favor of taking “a bit of initiative to seek out an option that might be better.”
How can we intentionally choose the products that we bring into our lives, instead of having them chosen for us?
And how can we educate those with less influence to see the injustice they are forced into? Executives from Silicon Valley have, for a long time, refused to give their children smartphone access as they know the effects their own products have. In the European Journal of Social Psychology, John T. Jost writes about the perception of merit-based economic systems saying, “the people who suffer the most from a given state of affairs are paradoxically the least likely to question, challenge, reject, or change it.”
Those in places of affluence who are able to see the dangers of technology are the ones who are in the place today to shape the future of those who cannot shape it for themselves.
It’s our job to become more intentional about this way of life that has creeped into culture so pervasively over the past two decades. Take steps towards choosing…
***And discover these creators for your own education!
tech // thelightphoneII
tech // Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch
mover and shaker // Center for Humane Technology
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