Slow Tech and ICT – A Responsible, Sustainable and Ethical Approach (book review)

This is my review  of “Slow Tech and ICT – A Responsible, Sustainable and Ethical Approach”  by N. Patrignani and D. Whitehouse

for Media and Learning Newsletter May 2018

“Dear Readers, Information and Communication
Technology (ICT) is disrupting people’s lives.”  This is the way the authors introduce the book: no space for any misinterpretation, the message is strong and clear. But they are not luddites or techno-skeptics: they propose a deep reflection on the design and the use of human centred ICT.
The authors propose an approach to ICT that is responsible, sustainable and ethical or in other words, good, clean and fair. They recognize inspirational thinkers, such as Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement that counters the rise of fast food and fast life and focuses on the relationship between food and environment, Alexander Langer with his reflection on a new the concept of well-being, based on a lifestyle that is slower, deeper and sweeter and the need for ecological change that can take place only if it becomes socially desirable and René von Schomberg who as an EU policymaker, works for responsible innovation that is socially desirable, inclusive and environmentally sustainable.

ICT is good if it puts human beings in the centre starting from their needs and using an interdisciplinary approach whereby humanist and technologist work together. It is clean if the impact on the environment is taken into account, namely the scarcity of rare-earth metal, the energy consumptions of cloud mega centres and the recycling of e-waste. Finally, it is fair if human rights and the health and the safety of workers are respected throughout the value chain.
Also for education, good ICT is important: the web provides huge opportunities to improve access to knowledge, but it’s important that teachers help students to cultivate a deeper way of writing and speaking and to become able to interact with complex structures, in terms of language and thinking. Human beings need time to think, meditate and argue: to be in an ‘always-on input mode’ can lead to them becoming passive targets of messages and easily manipulated.

This book is published by Palgrave Macmillan with ISBN: 978-3-319-68943-2

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