Can Tech Make the World More Fair?

At first, I was thinking “YES” I agree that technology can bring equity to anyone in the world but the “Disagree” side did a great job of making me question what I was originally thinking-that’s what these debates have been good for, right?!

My Pre-Vote thoughts were that technology can “even out the playing field” between men and women, and young and old. Using technology can give each of us a voice no matter what your status in society is, people can still equally use technology to connect with anyone else around the globe. I did question the usefulness of having such equal power in the world and how “anybody can be a somebody” and the impact that is having on society but nevertheless the “Agree” side presented inspiring information like this article about Open Educational Resources that are helping to improve the access to education in remote parts of the world.

The “Agree’ side also pointed out that more access to education is happening like what Daphne Koller describes in her TedTalk. I love the idea of having free access to quality education to alleviate the idea that higher education is only for the privileged. The key is to make online learning a “real class experience” with active learning that still includes due dates and results. She talks about how online learning uses a community of learners to give feedback much like what we have done during this course.

The “Disagree” side made some good points and what really made me think was when they stated that “technology perpetuates the idea of men’s dominance over women” in their debate. This article states that “technology reflects the problems that exist in society-including the oppression of women”. I had never thought about this before?! Why are the voices of Siri and Alexa female? And if we have evidence to show that abusers are using technology to harass women then why aren’t products being made to eliminate this? Will technology continue to reflect the issues in society or does it have the power to change them?

I had previously never heard of the idea of “Digital Colonialism” and was enlightened to hear that Facebook offered a “Free Basics” app to places around the globe that may have limited internet service but I was saddened to read this article that describes this service that “turns the user into a mostly passive consumer of mostly western corporate content”. What about knowing who you are marketing this platform to and realizing how it could be used effectively by the user? It made me think of McDonald’s in other countries and how they adapted to meet the needs of the people in the countries they are serving. McDonald’s doesn’t serve beef or pork in its locations in India but it’s still a “westernized” version of the traditional food there. How is technology adapting to meet the needs of the consumers in other countries?

GIPHY

What do you think? Is Technology helping people from around the world be more equal?

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