The example I chose is the advertisement for KOHLER’s intelligent toilet. I found this in wired magazine’s files where professor Buente put on laulima. Intelligent toilets: the modern design trend is gravitating toward a seamless approach to technology. KOHLER® Intelligent Toilets epitomize this approach with clean lines and leading-edge designs that blend seamlessly with next-generation technology. KOHLER® Intelligent Toilets make a stunning design statement in any bathroom. They can be found in world-class buildings the world over, but they’re equally at home in your own home. Every intelligent toilet provides a full suite of unrivaled features and amenities that will keep you comfortable and clean so that you feel confident and self-assured. (KOHLER website) When I first saw this advertisement, I thought, “Wow, this is so cool! I want to have one in my house “, but the question is, do we really need these? If many people see this advertisement of KOHLER’s intelligent toilets on social media, it may make people want to buy their product. It may become a cool thing to have or brag about posting on social media. People made the technology to make intelligent toilets, and this advertisement makes people want to buy new toilets. However, if we can cover it with existing technology, we don’t need new technology.
I think the advertisement of KOHLER’s intelligent toilets can explain technological determinism and social shaping in social media or ICT well. Goals of rationality and efficiency drive social change. These goals are achieved through the development of new technologies. This view of technological determinism is often associated with discussions of free-market economics and capitalism. (COM432 week2 session3, slide5) I think this advertisement shows capitalism because, as I said, “Do we really need this” these technologies are not necessary to have. Today’s technology is good enough to spend our lives comfortably, but the company made this because of private owners for profit. In addition, as we can see, the bottom left says, “BEHOLD THE FUTURE”, this also can be good content to explain technological determinism. Technological development follows a natural logic beyond cultural or political influence. These developments impact societies and force them to “adapt.” (COM432 week2 session3, slide5) Saying “BEHOLD THE FUTURE” forces people to “adapt ” to new technologies.
Social media is something we cannot live without contacting others, sharing/getting information in this era. Many kinds of people use social media, and if people think about different user groups, such as older people, disabled people, lower-income people, and counties, there are many ways to use or not be able to use social media. Older people can use social media to see their grandchildren’s posts to see how they are doing. However, some older adults may not use social media and young people because they did not grow up with ICT. Because Disable people can use social media to share information, argue how society treats them differently and spread the idea of how they think about disabled people. Lower-income people may not use social media due to not pursuing a device to check social media. Countries can use social media to announce or share information, such as CPVID. Instagram is a current social media platform variety of people, such as celebrities, everyday people, politicians, and companies. We can apply Instagram to a different context, such as business to home, and expect more good results in the advertisement because a toilet is something we have inside the home. Instagram has been changing year by year to fill human needs, and nowadays, Instagram created many influencers. Influencers are those who exert influence: a person who inspires or guides the actions of others. (John C, n.d.) Therefore, if influencers post about KOHLER’s intelligent toilets, it stimulates everyday needs. It is not suitable for everyday people because the toilets they have are good enough to use. Social media leads to social shaping because people can see “good” things from other people’s posts even though some “good” things are not necessary to have. In addition, according to StatisticS, 62% of Instagram users are aged 18 to 34. Most of them probably do not have enough money to use for buying fancy toilets. Therefore, what those users would feel is Needs, but they will end up with not releasing their Needs. Therefore, making new technology that not many people pursue creates humans’ frustration, and this is a responsibility that the company or society should take care of which is to make cheap toilets like KOHLER’s intelligent toilets.
“Real” message that the producer of the image is trying to convey is that to show they have technology that they can make new things that remind of the future. In addition, the intelligent toilets are surrounded by many robots, so it also makes people feel, “you can buy new products from the future.” However, the producer of the image did not say, we will waste money and the toilet that we already have even though we still can use it without any problems. Furthermore, if many people start buying the toilets and dispose of the toilets we already have, it leads to global warming.
ICT and society interact every day, but when I think about technological determinism vs. social shaping perspective, I adopt more of a social shaping perspective. It is because I do not need new technology if the technologies we have today are enough to spend time comfortably already. However, I definitely believe in the technologically determinism claim for the image presented above. It is because the company made the toilet because of private owners for profit, which is capitalism. In addition, saying “BEHOLD THE FUTURE” is forcing people to “adapt ” to new technologies, which is technologically determinism.
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