And this is where sports tech­nol­o­gy begins to illu­mi­nate larg­er issues around human and tech­no­log­i­cal agency.

Like sport itself, these debates are end­less. No tech­nol­o­gy will ever be infal­li­ble, but it may cer­tain­ly be more accu­rate than human ref­er­ees, umpires, com­men­ta­tors and arm­chair crit­ics. What’s real­ly inter­est­ing about hav­ing this debate at the TMS lev­el is that it’s fun­da­men­tal­ly and vis­i­bly embed­ded in a larg­er sys­tem: that of the game and his­to­ry of crick­et, a rule-based struc­ture which leaves plen­ty of wig­gle room for human fal­li­bil­i­ty, and human pas­sions. This means the debate is not about the tech­nol­o­gy itself, but about its wider impli­ca­tions for the sys­tem it’s embed­ded in. The graph­ics are pret­ty but we care about the out­come a lot more.

But when such debates hap­pen in wider soci­ety – anoth­er rule-based struc­ture with a degree of wig­gle room – this isn’t always the case. The same argu­ments around human and tech­no­log­i­cal agency are occur­ring all around us, but we don’t seem to be debat­ing them in the same way.

There’s an idea for an inter­est­ing game—a phys­i­cal game with a dig­i­tal arbiter, where play­ers get to adjust the lev­el of tech­no­log­i­cal inter­fer­ence. This could pos­si­bly be a very edu­ca­tion­al expe­ri­ence about tech­nol­o­gy and human agency.

(via Test Match Spe­cial and Tech­no­log­i­cal Agency |

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Kars Alfrink

Kars is a designer, researcher and educator focused on emerging technologies, social progress and the built environment.