David Gordon : Critical Engineering Tenet 5

5. The Critical Engineer recognizes that each work of engineering engineers its user, proportional to that user’s dependency upon it.

This tenet describes a concept that is in no way new: technology’s control over our lives. Interaction with a work of engineering is a two way street. While an invention may drastically improve our lives, it also alters the life it is improving. For example, I now have access to millions of hours of music whenever and wherever I am due to my smart phone and headphones, a luxury that has only existed for the past few years. The ease with which I can listen to music means that I now have the option to disconnect from almost any social situation. I have become a more selectively social person, where unexpected auditory interaction is unheard of. I no longer overhear snippets of conversations, or strike up my own with passers-by. While I could make an active effort to counteract this, the fact remains that my default behavior has been changed by the presence of a work of engineering. Thus, the invention has engineered my social behavior to become more predictable and reclusive.

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