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Privilege by Design

How to recognize your techno privilege?

All humans have to cope with technological change. But that doesn’t mean we all live by the same technological standards. Inequalities between those who haven’t and those who have access to technology seem to increase. It’s time to check our techno privilege and start closing the technology gap.

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What if we would see technology through the lens of privilege?
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Check your techno privilege

Hendrik-Jan Grievink

Technology is not neutral; the same tech might empower some and disempoweer others. It is time to check our Technoprivilege, argues author Hendrik-Jan Grievink.

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Check Your Technoprivilege!

  • I belong to the human species Homo Sapiens

    As a member of Homo Sapiens, you belong to the only human species that was able to sustain themselves through the application of tools and (communication) technology. You survived some of the five other human races such as Homo Neanderthalensis (extinct 20,000 years ago), who where not as well equipped in working with tools and complex communication such as you. Well played, human!

  • I can read and write (because I work with alphabet technology)

    Chances are that you work with a very advanced technology called ‘the Alphabet’, a collection of abstract signs that represent sounds that in return convey meaning. While only 12% of the people in the world could read and write in 1820, today the share has reversed: only 14% of the world population remains illiterate (2016). Still, that is too much. We should do everything in our abilities to improve connectivity with Alphabet technology, or any of the other script based communication technologies we have in the world.

  • My primary needs in life are being fulfilled because of technology

    Unlike my early ancestors who ate mostly raw food, part of the food I take in is pre-digested outside my body, by cooking it. Cooking allowed members of my species to take in more calories and nutritious, which helped them gain more brain mass and becoming modern human beings - like me.

    I also have access to clean water and sanitation thanks to complex infrastructure. This is not the case for an estimated 2.2 billion fellow humans, who need access to safely managed drinking water. This number includes 884 million currently without basic drinking water services. An estimated 4.2 billion people need access to safely managed sanitation. An estimated 3 billion people need access to basic handwashing facilities.

  • Weather conditions don’t bother me so much

    To survive the environment they lived in, my early ancestors had to partly replace their natural environment with a technological environment. First, by making clothes out of animal skins and building huts from wood in the forest. Later, also by central heating and air conditioning. I can enjoy these advantages every day. Heck… if I desire so, I can eat strawberries in winter and go indoor skiing in summer!

  • In my life, birth, health and death are heavily regulated by technology

    There is a 1-2% chance that I am conceived using assisted reproductive technology, such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). From the cradle to the grave, technology supports my vital life functions and helps me meet my primary needs: medical care, food technology. Even when I die, there is a good chance that some degree of technology will be used dealing with my physical remains and remembering me.

  • I can’t imagine what it’s like to live without technology

    Even though the complexities of modern life might sometimes make me long to go back to simpler times, I can’t imagine myself living with technology at all. I simply would not have the knowledge and skills to survive such a situation.

  • My rights are better secured than animals and robots

    My fellow humans have written all kind of laws to protect me and the society I live in. What would happen if these laws would be rewritten by an Artificial Intelligence?

  • Many technologies around me I don’t even see as such

    As a human being, I need clothing as some kind of artificial fur to protect me from my direct natural environment. I predigest food outside my body by cooking it, so that I can take in more nutritients. But most of the times, when I think of technology, or speak with others about it, this is not what comes to mind. Technology has become so interwoven in our daily lives that it has become invisible to us.

  • I am in a position to give up technology

    Technology was once only available to a privileged few of my early ancestors. Today, those with privilege are the ones who are able to give it up. The wealthy pay good money foor digital detox bootcamps and many of us like to escape our busy lives by going into nature. But not without good protection!

Share your checklist with us!

We want the world and all conscious creatures in it to become more aware of their technology privilege. Inspired by Peggy McIntosh’s Checklist of White Privilege from 1989, we started working on our own Checklist of Technoprivilege. A first edited version you can read above.

We believe that it is better to do things together. Join our goal to create a better checklist. If you want to contribute, send us your version of the checklist (max. 500 words) and motivation (max. 200 words) to technoprivilege [at] nextnature [dot] net before March 31st, 2022.

We will include the most inspiring entries in the Checklist of Technoprivilege that we will publish in 2022. Of course, you will be credited for your contribution.

#checkyourtechnoprivilege