Who’s driving who?

Further thoughts around my previous post on Openness is more than an API.

Via Beth Kanter I found myself at Christine.net at a post titled “Ramifications of Web 2.0 for Nonprofits with Participatory Applications” covering part of the NTEN 2006 Conference. This bit grabbed my attention :

The first intriguing question that came up: Do people’s social needs drive the emergence of new technology, or does the emergence of these new technologies drive what people want to do?

While this might be looking at a higher level than what I’m pointing to in my ‘openness‘ post, and there’s likely to be a cyclical nature to these issues, there’s certainly some overlap.

Often after something is developed a serendipitous use can be discovered in a unrelated arena – unforseen ‘custom’ uses of general purpose ‘stuff’. Whether it’s “emerging new technology” or whatever you’d call the already emerged kind, sometimes the society needs to ‘open’ its eyes to ‘other’ possibilities. The term tunnel-vision springs to mind.

Sometimes, like I’m trying to demonstrate with Lifekludger, there’s a ‘social need’ already existing for technology already existing.

As they say on Distributing the Future podcast, “The future’s already here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet”.

One thought on “Who’s driving who?

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