Friday, December 28, 2012

How savvy and sceptical we have become

There was quite another article on the ABC (Australia) website lately on the emerging technology of drones or UAVs as they are also called. These along with the google car might have been the hyped technology of 2012.

The article itself is a bit over-cooked. Here is a taste...

Today's hobbyist's plaything is tomorrow's gadget for the rest of us. As the cost of a drone drops below a hundred dollars, we'll see them used everywhere. Their mounted cameras will give us eyes in places we can't reach easily ourselves, and will find countless industrial uses. We may not have personal jetpacks, but we will be able fly with our eyes.

Suddenly we can see everything, everywhere. We are stumbling into the Age of Omniscience almost accidentally, and before we know it there will be no place, high or low, where we can not be seen.
This will vex celebrities first - think of the helicopters that hover over every important event; now imagine them as quadcopters, in their hundreds and thousands. Within the next year, a jealous husband will be able to hire a private detective to track his wife by drone, and be able to witness her comings and goings for himself.

Creepy men will stalk their ex-girlfriends by drone, leading to an expansive application of restraining orders to cover 'personal airspace'. The right not to be seen will be debated in the courts, the public sphere, and on the floor of Parliament. It will all come to nothing, overwhelmed by an emerging army of cheap drones.

But what caught my attention is the comments, as always a combination of the shallow, the fearful and the insightful. Not so very long ago the patterns of technology - the early hype, the slow delivery, the reduced expectations of the emerging products and the unintended consequences were not topics widely discussed and poorly understood.

Now we know that almost anything made for good or ill can be reconfigured to serve the other purpose. What's more the general public knows it.

But the question is - as we have have improved the awareness of technology's 'issues' in the general public - there is much more scepticism than there used to be, BUT how do we now  use that to 1. raise the profile of the moral issues around technology and 2. actually force this debate back into the sphere of the makers to get better thinking through of technologies as they are created.

The tired well worn pattern of comments like those below are both seeds of hope and the fruit that can feed despondency and anomie. We need to raise the horizon of the vision somehow. Technology is our creation and we are responsible for it - not someone else we are all responsible.

  • Yes. This is the scary part!
    Now, ANYBODY can have one.

    28 Dec 2012 1:52:59pm
    Sorry to be practical and disrupt the techno-wow ... with a sky full of drones how will crashes be avoided? For the current 'planes we limit the skies and control what kind of 'planes can fly. I imagine we'll do the same for drones. That will mean regulation and that regulation will undoubtedly limit the kinds of uses you can make of drones in much the same way we limit the kinds of uses and places you take your terrestrial vehicle - you can't yet get a private license to drive your tank down the local street, deliver a pizza and fire off a few shells!
    • 28 Dec 2012 1:47:57pm
      The implications of what you are writing about are well explored in an Arthur C. Clarke book I am reading at the moment, 'The Light of Other Days'. It is about the invention of the 'WormCam', a wormhole technology that allows constant surveillance, even across time. Personally, I find the book to be milking its theme, the ramifications of a technological breakthrough, perhaps a little too much, but it is still an interesting read. Did you read it yourself

    • 28 Dec 2012 1:28:17pm
      So how long before we start getting these things dropping bombs or balloons of acid or something nasty in suburban Aussie streets? The one that eventually does it in Australia will be easily tracked and have a traceable serial number wont it? I mean it's little more than a toy with weapons capability, I'm positive after any terrible event we all will know exactly where the pilot was located, why they did it and when the next one will happen....Wont We? With several thousand of them soon in Aussie skies I'm sure the Government is monitoring each unit very carefully. (insert wry laughter here) Fortunately in Australia there are no people with evil intent, bitter breakups or downright stupidity...

    • 28 Dec 2012 12:25:04pm
      Time to dust off the air rifle. The homeowners version of 'tank plinking'. And I thought that just getting rid of the Indian Mynas could provide the kiddies with endless entertainment...
      • 28 Dec 2012 12:22:52pm
        To take one aspect of this debate (there are many) If shots of people skinny dipping or sunbaking nude around their backyard pool becomes common such shots will loose their clout (for whatever reason). People adapt, any initial indignation will be replaced by "so what" by most.

      Friday, June 29, 2012

      Economics and technology: the perspective of a Christian

      When I was doing economics at university and the world of Christianity was opening up for me as it does for many at that time of life, I wanted to grapple seriously with what difference it would make to be Christian in the field of economics.

      I heard about SCEG, joined and stayed a member until it closed in the mid 1990s .. the Sydney Christian Economists Group (SCEG) was a fellowship of evangelical Christians concerned with understanding economic matters in the light of biblical theology and ethics.

      At the time I felt slight discomfort at the term Christian but didn't really fully think that much about it.
      Last week my discomfort was reignited by Matthew Clarke at the Digital Society conference who suggested we should take Karl Barth seriously on this topic and I will, but for me something else became clear last weekend.
      Christian ......

      What, then, is meant by such phrases as “Christian” view of the universe, “Christian” morality, “Christian” art? Where are “Christian” personalities, “Christian” families, “Christian” groups, “Christian” newspapers, “Christian” societies, endeavors, and institutions? Who gives us permission to use this adjective so profusely? Especially when we must know that to confer this adjective, in its peculiarly serious import, is withdrawn altogether from any authority we have. This, if you like, unimportant misuse of language: does it not become evil to anybody who reflects at all? Is it not just a presumption that can allude to a most general thing as though existing . . . Ought not a serious consideration of the office of the Holy Spirit to the pardoned sinner to have this small result, at least, namely: to make it more difficult in the future for such an adjective as this to drip from our lips and our pen?
      —Karl Barth, The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life: The Theological Basis of Ethics, trans. R. Birch Hoyle (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1993), 37-38.

      Economics and the Christian

      There has been lots written, by SCEG members, a similar group in the UK which I think is still going, Donald Hay, Paul Oslington and various scholars from a Calvinist background. Regent College in 2010 hosted a conference in response to the Pope's Caritas in Veritate which though generally of a high standard curiously completely ignored the subject of technology. You can by MP3 of it here. ($35 for 10 hrs).

      However, I never found this material truly convincing. At its best it would grapple principally with OT texts and try and discern their implications for today. But these texts were written for a pre-industrial agrarian society where the land was actually a very particular gift from God.

      At its worst it was often work stemming from American which tried to justify American style capitalism by retrofitting it into OT texts.

      None of this was satisfying, so more than ten years ago I gave up on that project entirely and moved onto think about technology.

      Technology and the Christian

      Then last weekend a bunch of ideas came together. The worldview of the economist is that what matters is the rules of the game... the incentive structures and the institutions etc. Thus, if we can discern the Biblical principles for economies we can wind them up and let them go.
      But if we study technology the problem is much harder. Technology changes. The ethics of motor vehicle use, for example, actually changes across time as we learn more our responsibilities change. A theology of technology can be sketched, possibly, but the inking in must be done rapidly and we must be prepared to move on quickly to adjust to changing circumstances. Th eternal must stay eternal but the day to day stuff can - will change. As I suggest over herehere and here  in my other blog perhaps our view of economics is also a little outdated as well and the rules of economics maybe more mailable than is generally discussed.

      Technology is created under our mandate for creativity and subject to a broad range of big ethical principles but it would be plain silly to look for the Christian rules of technology creation... perhaps it is time to do the same for economics.

      Monday, June 18, 2012

      The USA's FAA and unmanned aerial vehicles / systems

      Not sure how many readers may have thought that The Economist article and my response were a little 'too futuristic' but last week I heard that the US Federal Aviation Administration was looking into how to integrate UAV (Umanned Aerial Vehicles) into US domestic airspace.

      Go here to for more from the FAA

      and here for a discussion

      As I said, the Economist has done a service in alerting us to the need to pay more attention to what is going on around us.

      First we need to start a conversation, thinking through the implications is much harder.

      Monday, June 11, 2012

      Social media and the local church - can you help

      One of my roles at my church is to be a deacon, which at our church means a functional role such as finances, or maintenance or missions. My role is a bit more nebulous, my responsibility to focus on the longer term or wider issues that may not be picked up by the other deacons because they don't fit anywhere in particular.

      I love the role but sometimes it throws up interesting challenges. So one of my latest tasks for example is too look into how Churches use social media. We are not a particularly tech savvy church although we have a decent website and we have a Facebook page and we are slowly moving more tech in line with general culture.

      However, I have some very particular questions at the moment. Does your church have a Facebook account? If so does it use it for projecting an image of the church into the world, like shops do or is it purely locked down inhouse?

      I am assuming many churches do use Facebook but then the big question is; do you have privacy measures and written policies. How do you choose which photos go up? Do people have to agree to photos?

      Your help is appreciated.

      Friday, June 8, 2012

      Robots and the law

      Last week's Economist as my previous blog indicated had a feature on robots and the law. The article only begins to touch the surface of the issue suggesting we need to be able to determine where responsibility lies when the wrong decision is made or when an accident happens.

      The Economist as always is thoughtful but not expansive enough on this particular topic. What I did appreciate was that it drew attention to just how much autonomous equipment is beginning to emerge into society and we need to start thinking about the implications.

      This segways beautifully into another blog post I have been thinking about. For my birthday this year I bought myself I Robot which I had never got around to reading. I have read lots of Arthur C Clarke and Assimov but not the Robot series. The biggest eye opener for me has been my reaction to the book. I last really binged on Sci Fi in the late 1990s just before I moved city to start work at a research centre and my PhD started coming together. Just as that ended I moved country and got married so it has been more than a decade since I buried myself in books by Assimov, Gibson and Stanley Robinson with his Mars series.

      If you think back to the late 1990s we didn't have robots of any public kind, the internet was still just an online yellow pages and mechanical technologies had not changed much since the 1950s. Thus, Assimov's future still seemed like speculative future with the dates wrong. None of it really connected or disconnected anymore than it probably did when he wrote it.

      Today that has changed. Digital technologies are now obviously developing much faster than mechanical / physical technologies which is in stark contrast to the Assimov world. He largely missed digital technologies altogether - projecting instead the world he saw; space flight and semi mechanical technologies (aka the robots). I have thus been surprised by how little I am enjoying I Robot. The world presented is based on assumptions that have diverged greatly from the real developments. It just proves how hard it is to think about the future.

      In I Robot there are many kinds of robots the most profitable are produced by  U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men and all of which have positronic brains for decision making. Around us in the real world of 2012 there is an increasing variety of autonomous vehicles (Google's car most famously) and technologies of lots of shapes and sizes - mostly for military use at the moment. What this indicates is that perhaps it is time to widen our vision of what is happening in our world.

      This is not to say that initiatives such as that by Seattle Pacific University which I fully support are not worthwhile. I am quite excited by: which is focused on Christianity and the digital society but readers of this blog will see that my itch is that we are at moment in time with so much happening we need multiple conversations and fora. We need to talk about this in our local churches and we need to talk about this in larger multi-country events.

      Monday, June 4, 2012

      Christianity and technology in your face (The Economist)

      I haven't read it all yet but the idea that we are at the point were we need to start thinking seriously about the legal ramifications of robotic technology should be enough to get Christians talking about the new technological society.

      Its time to start more than occasional academic chats, although that is better than nothing, its time for something more serious.

      Thursday, April 26, 2012

      Technology and Worship

      A few months back the Canadian Mennonite (February 6, 2012 Volume 16 Number 3) published a feature article by Andy Brubacher Kaethler on the use of technology in worship

       It is an interesting article that uses as its touchstone the usual critical positions of Grant and Borgmann.
      While his article is worth reading, and I encourage you to do so, if you do, you should also read the comments.

      Brubacher Kaethler uses a couple of examples to highlight in his mind the poor use of technology.
      At "the youth summit at the Mennonite World Conference assembly in Paraguay in 2009" ... he observed "the worship leaders from some continents adopted an American Idol-style, egoistical, sexualized and audience-pandering stage presence.Other continental worship leaders simply felt inadequate and deferred to the worship band".

      Later, after listing some excellent question on how we use technology in churches he answers those questions with "seek lower tech or electronic-free worship and fellowship experiences, observing the difference between technologically mediated relationships and incarnational relationships. Technology is morally disorienting. It hides the complexity of issues under a veneer of efficiency and coolness (and lets face it, some gadgets are really cool)".

      This leap from good questions to the low tech answer is quite troubling for me because the author makes a hidden point of reference the key goal of worship. All through the article what actually matters to the author is not the technology but the worship experience. Much of the article confuses culture with technology and that confronting these two dimensions require different questions. In the example above, the exact same scene may have been evident with much more rudimentary technology available. Deference to western culture is rampant and has been for a long time.

      But the bigger point is that the article continues to reinforce the recent notion that technology = digital / audio / visual technologies. But we live in societies that operate on multiple layers of platforms of technology that form stratas that we no longer perceive.

      Not all of us, but many particularly in Canada worship in relatively modern buildings with central heating. I'm not saying we should not have heating but we should at least be aware that heating definitely changes the worship experience. One church I have attended was particularly problematic to heat due to large (inappropriate) glass walls and church was not that enjoyable. Many of us drive to church - we want to attend a Mennonite or Baptist or whatever but there is not one nearby so we drive. This changes the worship experience. We now get to choose. In the post reformation England once things had settled back down there might be the Church of England and a Catholic church in your village and that was pretty much the choice. Building technologies change worship experiences. The Gothic revolution of Cathedrals with their high jolted ceilings and huge internal spaces changed the experience for some from small tiny village churches to massive Cathedrals.

      If we are going to set the standard for our worship experience purely on experience it will be difficult to come to any agreement on the role of technology. Nevertheless there are important questions. We must be critically aware of our technologies and our culture. These are not separate silos but indeed are intertwined, although they need judged independently and interdependently.

      I'll close with some of the better and less loaded questions of the piece.

      Will using this device help or hinder my relationship with creation?
      Would a change in my behaviour be a better solution than a technological change?
      Will using this device help or hinder my relationships with family, friends and the church community?
      Will this device really deepen communication, understanding, empathy or compassion?

      With these I am in agreement. We can not blindly reject or assimilate technology - choices have consequences.

      Monday, April 23, 2012

      People of Faith and Modern Surveillance

      I just wanted to give a plug for an upcoming Regent summer course. It looks really interesting and it is a really important issue that we understand what is going on.

      Go here and read Rosie's blog about the course....

      Sunday, March 25, 2012

      Pillar 4: Eschatology and technology

      This is the last of my four pillars of a theology of technology. I have been thinking about this last blog for a couple of months and I am not that much clearer on the outline of the idea than when I first started. However, I remain convinced that eschatology matters for a theology of technology.

      The reason is that across nearly 25 years of adult activity in churches I have tried to get them more interested in the everyday lives of those in the congregation. This started with my interest in economics and theology and moved onto an interest in connecting work day week lives with Sunday.  Across that time and in three churches of two different denominations on two continents my success has been zero - none, zip. It seems like I am in good company though, Robert Banks and Paul Stevens both more articulate and gifted communicators than I who have spent their lives on this topic have less impact than they should have had. My diagnosis is that there have been two barriers.

      The first is that with professionalised pastorate, many of who have no vocation beyond that of the university environment and churches there are several inbuilt barriers. The lives of pastors revolve around church, their personal value (and income) depend on healthy churches. Second, having little experience of other jobs, they find it hard to relate to pressures and hierarchical structures or increasingly with the fragmented economy of sole contractors. Therefore church becomes an experience focussed on God in a Sunday morning context without a connection to the rest of the week.

      The second aspect of this puzzle is that eschatology gets wrapped up in this picture somehow. The Protestant Reformation got us more focussed on God and subtly and not-so-subtly introduced other values such as new views of time and efficiency for the here and now while simultaneously creating a focus on 'saving souls'. We still carry in our heads images of heaven without work, but the scholarship on the Book of Revelation during the last 20 years has emphasised a different image - one of activity on the new heaven and the new Earth. The best we can often manage though in our churches is the injunction to be moral in the workplace with no depth to that concept. We don't see the laity talking about their calling and their mission fields.

      Eschatology and our daily lives in the here and now are intimately connected - our view of the New Earth and the way we live now are connected but we have barely begun to unwrap what this means in the experience of churches. It may be present in our Bible / Theology colleges but it needs to be the experience of Christians worldwide.

      Thus if we want to have a theology of technology we need the theology of the everyday (as Robert Banks would say) and as importantly as having gifted scholars write eloquent books on the subject we need to get our churches to live a different experience. Technology is just part of the mosaic of our everyday for which many of us don't have more than baby Christian speak for .... can we grow to maturity?

      Monday, March 19, 2012

      Pillar 3: Philosophy of Technology

      And so we come to the topic which attempts to link with the topic that is typically that most corresponds to the what is considered central to the conversation of theology and technology.

      Most theologically trained academics feel more comfortable in the realms of philosophy than science or engineering. So what is considered to be the philosophy of technology. The book Readings in the Philosophy of Technology by David Kaplan has a really useful introduction.

      Page xiv reads in part...

      The world of technology is itself philosophically interesting - and not merely because it has important consequences. The philosophy of technology takes artifacts seriously and subjects them to the same kind of philosophical scrutiny reserved for the topics analysed by philosophers, such as language, logic and knowledge. Take for example a typical philosophy and technology concern, such as the spread of industrial pollution, stem cell research, and the environmental risks of genetically modified food. Typically, the debates focus on the pros and cons of making and using such things. We frame the issue in terms of things like costs and benefits, acceptable and unacceptable risks, desireable and undesirable consequences or sometimes as a clash between technological innovation  and traditional moral  or religious convictions . We then analyse the technology in terms of ready made philosophical concepts, usually moral and political concepts such as 'freedom', 'general welfare' and 'human nature'. This approach questions the limits of technology and asks whether or not societies should pursue this or that artifact or technical choice.

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach. It makes sense to analyse human creations in terms of their risks and consequences. But, from the point of view of the philosophy of technology, we can probe the matter more deeply and take into consideration the very nature of technology and not merely its external contingencies. We can question technology. We can examine it rather than take it for granted. We do not have to treat it as a 'black box', whose nature inaccessible but the engineer of technician. We can investigate the meaning, nature and moral character of technology and its practices just as we would any other object or phenomenon. We can, for example, examine why something was designed in a particular way, what technical and non-technical factors were at work; how it functions in relation to other artifacts/users/environments; how it transforms its users; and which ideas are embedded in it. Matters like these are internal to to artifacts and technological practices, not external to them. These types of issues refuse to treat technology as merely given and which we can examine only after the fact - as if things magically appear out of thin air. Instead we analyze technology like anything else that humans make or do. Philosophers and citizens have the same capacity to question things as experts. The key is to know what kinds of questions to ask and how to apply philosophical concepts to artifacts and devices. We have to question technology it is our responsibility.

      Kaplan goes on later in the introduction to suggest that there have been 4 major approaches to the philosophy of technology.

      1. technological neutrality - technology is only good or bad if it works or doesn't - technology is simply a tool. Moral consequences are carried by humans.

      2. technological determinism. is the idea that technology drives history. Technologies 'precipitate' social development.

      3. technological autonomy. Technology is an independent force that that follows its own rules and imperatives and society shapes around this. Taken to extreme - such as in sci-fi the technology literally is autonomous.

      4. The social construction of technology. Society shapes and is shaped by technology. "far from being applied science, technology on this model is more like embodied humanity' (pxviii). "Almost all the contributors to the second edition of Readings in the Philosophy of Technology take a constructionist approach' (pxviii).

      And that last sentence probably reflects that state of modern philosophy of technology. I certainly do not object in overall terms to the social construction picture, but what interests me is how elements of all four and perhaps others yet to be understood and labelled exist simultaneously.

      Take for example the technological determinism position. In Brian Arthur's recent book on 'What is Technology' he provides some great straightforward illustrations of the machinery of technological change. Technology unfolds in a process of simpler entities to more complex ones from those based in one science (chemistry for example) to those which require knowledge of the interdependencies. These are not his but metal could not be discovered before fire etc, alloys before simpler metals. So technology does unfold in a particular order because it relies in part on an understanding of the natural world. To say it is embodied humanity is only a half truth it is also embodied - recreated nature.

      Take a different example - we have the social concern at present to 'cure cancer' just as in earlier periods we would wanted cures for the black death or polio. However, treatments for these had to wait until our knowledge of the natural world was sufficiently broad and deep that we could integrate our knowledge. A cure for cancer will come quicker if it is a social concern as it is and we throw huge sums of money at it but it will only come when we know enough.

      This in part explains why our ability to create digital technologies has outpaced those of energy or transport. Getting an object to fly through the air is difficult science and to make serious progress on it is hard won. The result is we made our huge gains relatively early and now each percentage point of efficiency comes with a large price tag.

      Further, there are quasi autonomous or strong deterministic elements to technology. Once we do have a new technology, humans being the creature we are - it is hard for us to turn down the allure of change, new power etc.

      Even, the idea of neutrality may have merits - tightly defined in particular circumstances and for particular reasons which would box off the consequences ( everything does have consequences) - because for the masses in any given population the socio-economic-technical world is constructed for a time around them in such a configuration that certain technologies are more or less neutral for them. But if you go and read you will see that I believe that use, scale (mass) and time affect these choices.

      So for me the question is not which of the four is right, the question is can we discuss the boundaries of these choices and invent new ones as well.

      Friday, January 27, 2012

      Pillar 2: Redeeming Technology

      While Pillar 1 is all about Christian living at its simplest. Sex, money, relationships, power and technology are all the same in many ways in the sight of God. Live with love and simplicity. 

      But, we implement this way of living in different ways in different areas of our lives.

      My interest in technology and faith is motivated in part by the 3 big tectonic plates of global economic, social and environmental changes that are colliding at present. Technology is the fault lines between these plates - more on this in a later blog.

      But because of the nature of technology and what is happening at present we can focus on technology in the different dimensions of:

      A- Harmony with the Creator: .... spiritual transformation
      B- Harmony with our Being:    ... psycho-social transformation
      C- Harmony with Others:         ... socio-political transformation
      D- Harmony with the Creation:... economic-ecological transformation

      Harmony with the creator - as the new book From the Garden to the City makes clear that creating things is part of who we are as creating beings. Expressing creativeness in line with a Christian worldview an appropriate calling.

       Harmony with our Being - the use of technology can be valuable to how we live and it can also be damaging. We need to become more aware of how the use of technology changes us for good and bad.

      Harmony with Others - Again we can use technology in a way that abuses power or gets in the way of relationships. Rosie's blog - often deals with issues of living well with technology both with ourselves and others.

      Harmony with the Creation:... economic-ecological transformation

      This is probably the aspect that where I can make the most insightful comments. Technology has both improved the quality of life for millions over the last 50 years and more progress is possible. However, as lifestyle improve so does resources use. We desparately need technologies that enable us to reduce consumption. Additive manufacturing for example will greatly reduce waste but on the other hand it will have literally unimaginable effects on the global economy.

      This four way structure is great way of focusing and thinking more clearly about our relationship with technology and particularly directions for creating postive aspects of technology.

      Friday, January 13, 2012

      Pillar 1: The Christian tradition of a critical position

      Before Christmas that I was trying to encapsulate the multiple dimensions of the relationship between Christians and technology in 4 pillars.

      Here I want to expand on the first pillar.

      What I have in mind is actually nothing terribly sophisticated. It is the most basic level reading of the Bible story and particularly Paul's emphasis on living in tune with God. There are a number of passages I could have chosen but this one from Colossians is great. Lets read it again.


      Colossians 3

       1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

       5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

       12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

       15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

      NIV from 

      So then if our use of technology leads us in the wrong direction then we must change.

      If we spend too much times on it, if we spend too much money on it, if technology use leads us in the wrong ways to live then we must change.

      That is not to say technology will be always negative, it can help us do good. Clothe yourselves with:

      . compassion, 
      . kindness, 
      . humility, 
      . gentleness and
      . patience. 

      Technology, as a human tool will I think tend because of our nature to feed our negative character - our desire for more control and belief in that control leading to less compassion and kindness, our desire for more power can lead to less humility and technology can certainly feed less patience. On this last one take a look at Philed Higher and Deeper here

      That may sound like I am being down on technology but actually it is true of whatever technological level we are at - Israel relied on Egypt rather than God and we use organisations and institutions the same way. As a population we gravitate away from God. Technology helps us in that but it isn't the cause, the root cause is our own will and the fight within. 

      To redeem technology we ourselves must first be redeemed, we must make Jesus Lord. Then we can cultivate the fruits of the spirit and in doing so redeem what we touch.

      So as I indicated at the beginning there is nothing profound in this post, but I want to emphasise the importance of this pillar. If we are going to engage our fellow Christians in conversations about technology then I think starting here has importance. It is too easy o race over this to the  more difficult and problematic topics but it starts here. Love God, Love people.