The last text I read made me think about how we are handling emerging media and its implications. In the last six months I got in touch with amazing technologies I did not know they were existing yet. A lot of things still occur to me as if they had been extracted from my science fiction literature. It seems at the moment we are working very hard on making our technology invisible. In computer science they call it ‚ubicomp‚ or ‚ubiquitous environment‘. In a nutshell, this means computer systems are embedded in our daily world, mediating our information and communication or simply take over the tasks we don’t want or are not able to do by ourselves. Embedded in this case means also we do not recognize them anymore as technology. Instead we are just interacting with our environment.
But what does that mean for us? How can we protect ourselves from being dependent without knowing we are? If technology no longer is visible or can’t be recognized how do we distinguish between mediated and non-mediated situations?
Technology-led theories – according to Daniel Chandler – presume technology to be the initial source of social change today. And in some point they may be right. Since old theories focused on book print or even writing, younger scholars concentrate on ‚micro-electronic‘ revolution and its alterative outcomes. But I do not have to look at micro-electronics to understand the jeopardy of invisible media. Let’s have an insight into computers and how I use them. I own a smart phone, a tablet and a laptop. All devices are connected to the internet and of course to each other. I use several social web applications and cloud systems. I read a lot about computer stuff, how things work and how I can handle several problems. Most of the time I don’t need help from a specialist, because I am able to carry out the instructions on tutorials or operating instructions. But I wouldn’t say I’d completely understand what my computers are doing. Especially when it comes to privacy settings a lot of people – including me – are much too careless or just overstrained. I assume according to ubiquitous media this is even more true. The less I recognize my media, the more I integrate it in my everyday life the more I would have to be aware of what this medium is actually doing. But the more technology is embedded and the more complex it becomes the less I can keep track of my mediated actions and applications. This is the point where technology-led theories are right. This is the point where we lose the ability to control or select information. This is the point when technological structures are defining our social structures.
The more ubiquitous technology becomes, the more important it becomes to teach our children – but also our adults – what computing means and how it does what it does.
A start maybe this learning to code website for children