Philosophers of Technology have often argued that technologies are value-laden rather than being merely value-neutral. One reason for thinking so is because the act of building or making always presupposes value-judgments about what we think is worth building or making in the first place. Put another way, what we make or build often reveals what we think is worth doing: making and building reveal what we take to be a problem and whether that problem is worth solving.
Consider a social media platform of your choice that is being used in a country outside the US and Canada. Consider the influence of values (through the concept of values infrastructures) upon the designers and the adopting populations. Explain how the adopting culture has changed in response to internal and external pressures made manifest by the social media platform. (See also the Rokeach Values Survey and Hall-Tonna Values Inventory for examples of values.)
In your write up, be sure to:
- Describe what social media platform you are investigating and the country in which it is being used.
- Explain: what reasons can you think of for why it exists?; how was it made?; who made it?; and for whom was it made?
- Try to list specific values that best explain the intentions behind the social media platform that you picked (using Cook’s concept of a ‘values infrastructure’). Consider the intentions behind the design (as you perceive them) and the intentions of the targeted end-users. Can you anticipate or foresee unintentional consequences as a result of the platform? Can you foresee whether the platform will be used ethically or unethically?
- Give a reasoned defense for how you reached your conclusions and defend your position appealing to the theories of technology discussed in class and readings.