We hear the stories every so often. A study concludes that internet usage is making us "dumber", while another connects online activity to anxiety or depression. A respected journalist questions whether our advanced technology is really improving our lives. A mass movement of people deleting their Facebook or Twitter accounts sweeps through the community.
As developers, we hear these stories, and we shrug. Luddites and fearmongers, we call them. But don't they have a point? Do we truly understand what technology is, and how it impacts our society, the way we think and what we value? An important conversation is taking place. As Rails developers, as professionals working on the cutting edge of consumer technology, we should be involved.
This talk is a brief introduction to the philosophy of technology. We'll examine a few of the major views-- the writings of the philosophers, academics, and engineers who are asking questions regarding technology and society. We'll also explore what these questions mean for us as developers, what they can tell us about our profession, and what we can uniquely contribute to the conversation. We may not find a lot of solid answers, but we'll plow a rich field for discussion, and maybe gain a new perspective into just what it is that we spend our time doing.