Many thanks to Neil Postman for his “Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change” (talk delivered in Denver, Colorado – March 28, 1998)
First thing: “All technological change is a trade-off: technology giveth and technology taketh away.”
When you add a new functionality to your product, at the same time you unquestionably deprive your users of something – even if you don’t realise it… …and, as a matter of fact, this has consequences.
Second thing: “The advantages and disadvantages of new technologies are never distributed evenly among the population. This means that every new technology benefits some and harms others.”
When you add a new functionality to your product, how many users will be happy and grateful? …and how many will be angry? Remember, not all users are the same: some pay for your product, some don’t, some pay a lot…
Third thing: “Every technology has a prejudice: it predisposes us to favor and value certain perspectives and accomplishments.”
When you add a new functionality to your product, you influence how users will use your product as a whole (…long-standing functionalities included…).
Fourth thing: “The consequences of technological change are always vast, often unpredictable and largely irreversible.”
…especially ‘irreversible’: after adding a new functionality to your product, you can’t easily kill it and say: “We were just kidding, fooorget it…!”
Fifth thing: “The capacity of technology for good or evil rests entirely on human awareness of what it does for us and to us.”
When you add a new functionality to your product, explain it well, very well…
Andy Cavallini – firstname.lastname@example.org