ICT For Peacbuilding is a really interesting website that looks at the use of information communications technology (ICT) for conflict resolution. I thought it was interesting to extrapolate a lot of their discussions on the neutrality of the internet/technology as it pertains to our discussions of these topics in this course. The main author certainly believes that the question, “is technology culturally neutral”, isn’t even the question we should focus on, rather,
whether one accepts the neutrality of technology depends on one’s valuing philosophy – whether one tends toward the pragmatic and situational, or the absolute and authoritarian. Those who believe that technology is neutral argue that “guns don’t kill people, people do”, or that a knife can be used to “cook, kill, or cure.” Those who believe the opposite counter with evidence that technology cannot be evaluated in a vacuum and that there are traits common to all technological developments: (1) technological objects are unique; they are designed to function in a particular and limited way, and (2) technological objects are intertwined with their environment; they interact in unique ways with the rest of reality.
I do think that the neutrality of technology really depends upon the lens with which we look at each circumstance. There are opportunities for individuals to represent themselves in the way they’d like to be seen. But it is certainly not clear to me if that means true neutrality or simply a manipulation of the cultural norm.