Narayanan emphasizes that it is very important to place the human being and the ‘humanness’ at the centre of technology. It is about the human prospect and the human spirit. The prospect is what you have before you; the spirit is what you have inside you. Whatever we do with technology should expand the human prospect and also expand the human spirit. Societies, which are built on the foundation of people not trusting one another and protecting themselves against each other and the data net, which surrounds human beings, suffocates ‘humanness’. More and more people have to have the courage to say, “I won’t be part of that”, states Narayanan. Today there is far too much deficit thinking that is controlling our lives. Technology should not only be monitoring the deficits, technology must be about optimism and people have to make a conscious choice to remain open, even if it causes them problems.
Humanness at the centre
When suggesting that technology actually functions as a social engineering tool, Narayanan disagrees with this formulation. It is too much like there is a utopia that has been determined and we are all to achieve that utopia through instrumentation of technology and of human beings. She prefers to talk about processes of learning and adaptation that are embodied, with or without the use of technology.