Virtual virtuosos : cyborgs and integrative ethics in the intimate machine Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/kk91fp91n

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  • Standard accounts of women's relationship with technology stress women's need to overcome anxiety to achieve competence with computers. Recent studies provide evidence that this woman-anxiety-technology connection is an oversimplification of the relationship between women and computers. New literature also suggests that making computers more appealing will help girls overcome computational reticence. However, women and girls still are viewed as technologically deficient. Current and proposed educational strategies focus on helping girls "master" computers in order to compete in the classroom and workplace. In the following study, interviews with five women who grew up without computers suggest that, as these women adapted to this new technology in their lives, the drive for mastery did not accurately describe their evolving relationship with computers. Instead, a move toward integration emerged in the patterns of their experiences. After a technological imperative brought the computer into these five women's lives, each woman struggled to find equilibrium by making appropriate choices while negotiating her relationship with the machine. Contextually based learning experiences with coaches or mentors also served as catalysts toward integrating the computer into everyday life rather than simply mastering it as a tool When the women in this study befriended the computer in this way, the ends and means of computing became one. Thus, this study suggests a new way to examine human relationships with computers-through the lens of virtue ethics.
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