iHuman: How to find the human in product
Chelsea Moran Chelsea Moran
March 13 3 min

iHuman: How to find the human in product

As we technologically evolve, we are concurrently dismissing parts of the human in us. We have allowed smart machines to become extensions of ourselves. With the influx of information overwhelmingly controlling our day to day and through all the unconscious adaptation of the self, have we forgotten how to be human?

Human bias exposed through technology

The evolution of technology has catalyzed the notion of time and efficiency. Where minutes feel like seconds, we are eager to grab time by the hands. The term 24/7 has been reappropriated into an aesthetic lifestyle, wherein the need to be constantly available triumphs that of the unreachable. Begging the question; who are we as humans without our machines? If not part of our machines.

Technology is the mirror of its creator, the creator subject to conscious and subconscious biases. Where diversity is overlooked regularly, we have to fight to remove the misogynistic influence embedded in societal norms. Waiving our right to privacy by passively handing over the control of who we welcome into our homes and consequently into the most intimate parts of our lives. Accepting that the coexistence of humans and machines is inevitable.

Importance of anthropology in tech: Queer theory

From an anthropological point of view, the concept of queer theory as an additive lens when applied to the product lifecycle can innately contribute to the overall success of new tech. Queer theory can be seen as a framework, or as a tool to dismiss the normative expectations set by society, while simultaneously understanding its situational and contextual regimens acquired through time. Applying this perspective to a new emerging technology, such as AI, will enable us to be at the forefront of its governance, alleviating some of the dominant standards instilled by our current culture.

Queering technology can enrich a team, their process and its end product. It will invoke questions such as, how do we keep our humanness with the addition of agentive tools? How does a non-normative viewpoint maintain humanness and help differentiate multi-faceted industries, while also richly reflecting the layers of humanity? Queering in this sense is used as an umbrella term that will examine interdisciplinary approaches to problems by enabling an inclusive solution strategy. Thus creating and designing products that reflect the entirety of who we are as people.

The future of human-centered AI technology

In a world where white noise is a constant, we struggle to maintain a sense of self. By being aware of our unconscious actions and biases we can begin to create best practices that surround our AI ecosystem—one that encapsulates an inclusive mindset. Looking further into the future; should the notion of inclusivity within emerging AI products be the responsibility of all? Who is then held accountable for the inevitable adaptation of our human species? Will the preceding steps in our evolution be that of healthy relationship or will one override the other? And if we as humans agree to live symbiotically with machines, is technology then considered a who or a what?