What is an Appropriate Technology?
This past weekend I attended a workshop hosted by the Denver Permaculture Guild. The topic was Defining and Sharing Appropriate Technology. When I saw the event posted on facebook I thought it amazingly fortuitous. Once again, finding exactly the conversations I want to be having.
The event was held at the Posner Center for International Development , a very swanky renovated warehouse, ripe with a collaborative office set up (lots of different companies sharing the space).
We began our discussion with introductions and it seemed most people had an interest in agricultural sustainability and ecological conservation. As we started defining appropriate technology it naturally was described in this sort of context. Definitions involved:
-reuse and recycle of materials
-building bottom up, starting from scratch with available materials
-supportive of non-growth economy
-cultivating other types of capital besides financial, ie Social Capital
For me I define Appropriate Technology as tools that have been ethically evaluated for social benefit of the community. And, maybe 'social benefit' is loaded, but I think it comes down to just actually having the conversation. "What could be some of the positive and negative impacts on society? "What will the manufacturing of such a technology require?" "How does this change us as human beings" Because ultimately, every tool or technology is an extension of human evolution (IMO), and so should we be constantly evaluating what we want that to look like?
We then brainstormed a few different scales to use in analysing 'appropriateness'. (added some of my own, isolative?....maybe should be isolating)
I think th e key here is finding where the technology should lie on the scale based on factors such as quality of life and accessibilty of resources. Not that one side is better than the other or that one is even practically achievable. I found it to be a good thought-povoking tool that could be used in future scientific ethics conversations.
Hope that more workshops like these will be happening in the future. Thanks Denver Permaculture!
How often do we come away from from our apps, social media sites, computers, television, game platforms feeling truly satisfied? Usually its the opposite; we are drained, disgusted in ourselves for wasting another solid hour scrolling endlessly.
Can we create technology that is designed to make us feel good?
What does it take to make such a tool?
Vincent Horn, Founder of Buddhist Geeks, sat down with me to discuss some of these ideas.
Buddhist Geeks is an organization which seeks to reconnect human awareness to the digital interface. Asking: How can these two realities merge to create a more happy and self-aware society?
We start with What is Buddhisim for the spiritually cautious and work our way into what contemplative technologies will be presented at this years conference in Boulder, CO
Stay tuned for a full feature of the conference coming later this month.
Kendra is the founder of 4Love+Science and works as a Science and Community Consultant