Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Open Access or Silent Culture (part 2)

TedxBradford review part 1... go here.

5) UNIVERSAL  If we can build any kind of ICT, why do we keep pushing out the same stuff?

Engineers change design to suit context all the time.  When traveling across land, I can go by motorcycle or train.  When traveling across water, I can go by kayak or submarine.  Each has a different power source and a different way travelers are treated from a design perspective.  Why does ICT in conflict applications treat users as if they have the same information management needs?

Problem: We can't have each culture designing its own type of web products and ICTs... how would they all understand each other?  All this great interoperability we've been accruing would be diminished.  Well, there are 2 answers to that fear...

First, if other ICTs were developed on alternate cognitive models, alternate cultural communication patterns, any challenges in understanding would mirror what happens face-to-face, and we seem to have been doing that ok (not perfectly) since the existence of different cultures among humans.  If the communication and information management tech approximated the cognitive and communicative patterns of other cultures it would be an extension of how we already operate.  We redesign to permit diversity all the time.  I am left-handed.  There are lots of things that have been designed to facilitate co-existence of right and left-handed users.  This is a basic spatial and cognitive problem which we have navigated.  Let's try a harder one.

What does this interoperability serve at the moment?  The head of the International Union of Telecommunications (the UN's are of Telecom regulation) has said in a 2011 interview:   
'The best defense is, apparently, not to speak English, as the language barrier can give local content providers the vital advantage they need before Google et al take over.' 

Developers in other countries are following the model, the standard, the play-doh factory mold, to be commercially viable in a global market.  Many design with external users in mind rather than domestic ones according to an interview on Al Jazeera's The Stream about African innovations.  How does this kind of designing help domestic users of ICT for conflict resolution applications?