When evaluating a product or a service, many technical aspects come into our minds. We enjoy evaluating quantitative variables - generally related to speed, time, and capacity. Despite that, I would like to shed some light on three also important non-technical features: the tendency of a technology solution to benefit sentient beings, its ability to enhance our decision making, and the impact a tech solution has on the natural environment and on the people that are directly connected to the company.
Look for Merit, not Only Value
When we analyze if we should purchase a product or sign up for a service, we naturally look for how much value it could generate for us and see if it is worth paying for it.
But, what we should be doing is looking for ways that we could use technology to create not just value but rightful thinking and action.
Some social networks create value by boosting our ego thru "likes" and praises we get on our posts online. But, in the end, that does not help us because feeding our ego doesn't foster rightful thinking nor action. In this case, we can not talk about merit, just value.
Several technologies are capable of going beyond creating value. Take Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) as an example. Thanks to AAC, people with cognitive deficiencies are empowered to communicate with their loved ones and medical staff, enabling an essential human quality.
Go for Decision Empowering
Good tech doesn't decide for us but gives us options and provides us with data to make better decisions.
Weather forecast is an easy way to understand how tech can help us. Imagine two different tech solutions, each providing one of the messages below.
1) Tomorrow it's going to rain.
2) There is a 10% chance of rain tomorrow.
The first message leaves little space for the user to decide whether it would be necessary to take an umbrella for a walk. Considering the unpredictable nature of weather forecasts, it turns out to be not very helpful.
On the other hand, if you had access to message #2, you would probably ignore the 10% risk of precipitation and go for an umbrella-free walk.
Care for Environmental Impact and People
Electric vehicles (EV) are the new environmental stars of the automobile industry. We all know they are considered an environmentally-friendly mode of transportation. But we should be careful not to jump to conclusions just because new tech is cool. Do they deserve the hype? What raw materials are employed in production, how are they being obtained, and are there any production-related ecological impacts?
If we want to be committed to creating a better world for our children, we need to start caring for the consequences that rest beyond the products' features. There will always be some impact on nature and people directly and indirectly connected to production, so we need to reduce our footprint.
We should downgrade brands that act with no respect for us and our planet.
We need to bring our relationship with technology to the next level. Analyzing design and performance is still necessary, but there are additional aspects that we need to explore if we want to create a better future for ourselves.