Preamble

  • Skepticism is not a philosophy of disbelief. Rather it is a philosophy that suggests that there is merit in examing beliefs. A skeptical view of the world allows for faith, in fact recognises that 'faith' at some level often underlies so-called scientific theory. Skepticism does not lead us to the 'entire truth' of the universe, but it is discipline that allows us to better understand small parts of it. And for those parts that we want to grow or progress, skepticism is a tool to open the hood, check the hoses, replace the worn out parts, and lubricate the engine.
  • So why was the focus of this Blog on Skepticism and Technology, and Computer Technology particularly? Because Computer Technology (like every new science struggling for respectability) has surrounded itself with beliefs, an aura which resembles an old style religion where the priests have all the knowledge and know what's best for the humble, confused and worshipfull users of the technology. While the Computer people might enjoy the adulation and their 'special status' and while the computer users (and their managers) retreat comfortably into their 'I don't know what I'm doing and can't be held responsible for anything' attitude, the field of computing technology will largely stagnate. In such an environment we can only extend computer technology by replacing more and more manual processes. That is to say that we can use technology to replace jobs, but we have largely failed to empower the users of the technology to use technology to find creative ways of enhancing their existing jobs.

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Comments

Ed Daniel

Good post!

One of the recent developments I've been witnessing is how 'trust' works in organisations both small and large.

With the every-increasing enthusiasm for open source software decision makers are now realising the value of open systems thinking.

Open systems tend to create transparency, this generates trust and will often lead to successful transactions - transactions of knowledge, authority, tactics, strategy and business.

The organisations that leverage and provide open access to wikis, forums and other content creation and aggregation technologies for their employers witness very quickly the change in productivity, accountability and referenceability of participants in an organisation's ecosystem.

You highlight that you ask the question of fault-ownership which is understandable but I'd hasten to recommend that assigning blame is never very positive for staff morale. It is much better to bring together the necessary parties and have them discuss why the problem has occured and facilitate that discussion so that all parties can understand their role in making the IT systems more secure and productive tool of business.

Pete

I've often felt that IT should be more open with its "internal customers". All too many departments fall prey to what I call the "glass house" mentality. . . "we'll hide in our glass house until you come and throw stones at us".

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