Is 'Engagement' in the context of technology good or bad?

Creating this topic to discuss another post that came up in Introductions thread, and has been moved below…

@magdalen welcome to our group- contribute the articles you’ve written in the past to our forum please- looking forward to your engagement!”

the word “engagement” and the idea that we want to “engage” each other all the time is part of the problem. i was just kind of riffing on that.

engagement = spend a bunch of time on your computer or phone, with content we are convinced is necessary!

Hi @magdalen,

I moved your topic here, so as not to discuss in the Introductions thread.

I am interested in this. Especially the second sentence: Isn’t this how your interpretation of ‘engagement’ has become, because of how you see it applied (as a goal of advertisers and marketers to keep users’ attention for as long as possible).

We have defined a revised vision and mission statement, and in the breakdown model we have the Freedom pyramid, that starts - on the first level - with ‘Engagement’.

I am no native English speaker, but I interpret this as the willingness to freely engage with other people, where the technology is no longer placing barriers there. Thus it is the kind of engagement that precondition to e.g. a flow of creativity, and other things that need mindful, undistracted attention, which you do, because you have the freedom to them.

Focusing on engaging with tech I would say:

  • Engaging on purpose and with purpose is good
  • Being engaged via push techniques (e.g. notifications) and retention tricks (e.g. perpetual scrolling timelines) is not so good
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Yes engagement is thought of as capturing people’s attention. If it’s for a good cause, education etc that’s good.

However usually in the context of tech it is a dehumanising way of treating people as resources to be mined, or cows to be milked.

Engagement is a term which originated from US military training. The military decided train soilders using dehumanising terms in order to increase the percentage of soilders who would not shy away from murdering the enemy, so they started to use the words “target” and “engagement” in lieu of say “person” and “kill”. Before this kind of new training most soldiers would shoot to miss on purpose for ethical reasons. Afterwards they sucessfully murdered on demand most of the time. It’s not funny or uncoincidental that US business tech uses the same dehumanising terms.

Yes, indeed, I looked up the definition.

In our case it is engagement between humans, with tech unobtrusively facilitating and serving us with that. We’ll keep ‘engage’ in our Pyramids model. It can be good thing to contrast positive engagement to the negative association it has come to have.

Sometimes is engagement explained also as emotional commitment and sometimes is misinterpreted as a kind of satisfaction… and I believe we still seek for emotional connection with other humans on clear and transparent level so hidden manipulative techniques so usual in nowadays world are against our humanity. And this is why is so important try to change current status quo.

I agree, emotional commitment between humans is right and this is what differentiate us from more and more intelligent machines…