5. The Critical Engineer recognises that each work of engineering engineers its user, proportional to that user’s dependency upon it.
This tenant states that the more the user depends on a piece of engineering, the more they are affected by it.
I think as creators, we rarely think about a person’s extended relationship with a piece of work. We craft solutions to address a particular need and often don’t think of the long-term consequence of interacting with a piece of work.
A perfect example of this is the smartphone, which arose as a way of combining traditional cell phones and PDAs. However, increasing dependence on smartphones has resulted in the following: the “always on” phenomenon, overstimulation and attentional deficits, and increased stress. As we have become more attached to our mobile devices, our phones have in turn changed our expectations, actions, and mental states. However, these effects were probably neither intended nor imagined by the original smartphone creators.