Rehumanizing Technology  

Does technology serve human beings, or do humans serve technology? Will technology eventually replace human beings? Should we get rid of some technologies before they get rid of us?  

In his book, Team Human, author and documentarian, Douglas Rushkoff, traces the history of economics, scientific exploration, and communications, to explain the dehumanizing effect of modern technology. According to Rushkoff, technology is meant to unleash human potential. Conversely, social media and smartphone apps seek to make human behavior more predictable. Rather than using modern technologies to advance human values, humans have become the objects of corporate manipulation.  

Rushkoff reminds us that “being human is a team sport” that is played locally. He encourages people to connect with each other in real life and remember that the things we have in common exceed our differences. Rather than getting rid of technology, we should “insist that human values are folded into the development” of new technologies.  

Interested in learning more? CMU students, faculty, and staff can view Rushkoff’s presentation on Chip Cast through Oct. 31, 2021.  

Named one of the world’s 10 most influential thinkers by MIT, Rushkoff has written 15 bestselling books and coined such concepts as “viral media,” “social currency,” and “digital natives.” Among his bestselling books, are Present ShockProgram or Be Programmed, and Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity. Rushkoff has written, produced, or served as correspondent on several Frontline documentaries, including Generation LikeThe Persuaders, and The Merchants of Cool. He is also Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at CUNY, a correspondent for CNN, and a consultant to the United Nations and the State Department. Rushkoff has received several awards from the Media Ecology Association including the Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity.

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