Engineering Dependency

Tenet 5 of the Critical Engineering Manifesto states:

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

Every engineered object has the potential to change its user through dependence. If a user becomes wholly dependent on an engineered object, say a computer, than that person has been engineered by the device itself. The computer has molded the user into an all knowing, powerful being by no longer being used as a tool, but rather as an extension of the self which the person must live through.

Every engineer must realise that they are creating extensions of the self, rather than simply products with which a user can live.

I find that this tenet brings up a good point, but fails to realise that high dependency on a single engineered work is less powerful than even a minor dependency on multiple engineered works of the same theme. A single work may change a primitive aspect of a person’s life while a collective of engineered works, say a gallery of interactive displays, can create dependency on a metaphysical idea by causing some extra-sensory overload.

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