Many technologists think that we blame technologies or products, instead of people, when bad things happen. According to them, instead of blaming guns for violence in US, we should blame people who use them. “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” kind of argument. Many (most?) of us, including me, disagree. We believe that it is the availability of guns that has to be blamed.
When I think about it, I conclude that we are looking at the same event but we come from different perspectives. Let me illustrate:
Here is an event. The conspiracy theorists (like QAnon) use YouTube to spread nasty rumors about Muslims in America. The video is watched by millions of people who believe in such things. They go out and harm every Muslim in sight before they are stopped.
From a technologist perspective, YouTube was created to provide entertainment, but it was hijacked by people committed to spreading rumors. Result: harm to hundreds of innocent Muslims instead of entertainment.
From an ordinary citizen’s perspective, the groups like QAnon are always planning to spread rumors. However, the old way of sending letter or even emails was not very efficient. They would have converted a few people not millions. YouTube provides a way of quickly, cheaply and effectively spreading rumors on a massive scale, and hence harm to hundreds of innocent Muslims instead of a few.
Take the event we are sickeningly familiar with: A massacre caused by a murderer, say in a school, using a legally obtained semi-automatic weapon.
Form a technology innovator’s perspective, the weapon was created for a good cause, to be used by soldiers in getting an upper hand in a combat situation. It was the murderer who misused the technology and caused mayhem. The result, twenty innocent lives lost, instead of twenty enemy troops.
From ordinary citizen’s perspective, the murder had an intent to causing harm. He would have used a knife and killed a couple of people. However, since the weapon was available, he bought and used it. The result: twenty innocent lives lost, instead of two.
So, the same event can be interpreted (or explained) in two ways depending on your perspective or your intent. However, as an ordinary citizen, I am appalled by the alternative views and consider them to be self-serving.