Monday, July 29, 2013

Face to Face as Technology

Great article over at the New Yorker about the diffusion, not of technology, but of technique, which itself (I would argue) is a type of technology. (The author is Atul Gawande.) One quote which is particularly nice is...

People talking to people is still how the world's standards change.
And, an Ev Rogers quote, connected to the same idea, which is reinforced by the article:
Diffusion is essentially a social process through which people talking to people spread an innovation. [italics added]
The two quotes, which are not adjacent to each other, suggest the idea (backed up by research) that technology is not spread by technology but by sociology (to keep the -ology endings). More than technology, though, is technique, which some authors have written about (I am thinking about the STS researchers, like Hughes and others).

I almost forgot: Teaching is essentially a type of diffusion of technique. This is one of my hesitations about MOOCs.