We are within what many people call the month of Techtober. Techtober takes place in October when new technologies get dropped like its hot. I, too, find myself getting fascinated about what has come out this month. Technologies such as the new iPhone 11, or OnePlus 7T pro-Mclaren edition and of course, Amazon’s attempt to take over the world with its amazon rings, amazon earbuds, and amazon glasses. Finally, what interests me the most: Google’s newest addition to their phone line: Google Pixel 4. All these technologies display great innovation: a speaking pair of glasses, a ring that can pay, or even a radar on phones now! All these said and done, but there is an exciting thing I’ve been noticing.
Here you can see a video of a Nigerian guy who struggles to use the automatic dispenser because of his skin color. Or here, you can find the Fitbit or similar products that display identical behavior (thinking emoji). These issues, of course, later on, get addressed but not entirely fixed.
Nowadays, there are technological solutions needed for niche markets WITHIN niche market. Meets and hackathons are created to explore these issues which add to my realization that technology has become too exclusive. The reason why I brought up Pixel 4 as a particular mention tech piece this month is because it also falls under the same category of being “exclusive.” Here is what I mean.
Marques Brownlee, a famous Techtuber, recently did a review on the phone, and the one feature he said was slightly gimmicky was the radar hand gesture feature. This feature allows users to wave at the phone screen even when it is off, and the phone would react to it either by skipping a song or interacting with Pikachu wallpaper. Maybe the technology is a bit gimmicky; perhaps it’s not working as intended. Or maybe, its another case of a darker skin tone preventing it from doing its function. Scenarios like these are where I believe diversity and inclusiveness in technology should come in. Had an engineer or creator of Fitbit or automatic soap dispenser was a different skin tone, this issue would have easily avoided. Another case where inclusiveness would benefit the company is this.
The video shows a simple yet beautiful design of transparent staircase with gaps in between. What’s the issue with it, you might ask? The architect who designs it does not think about the privacy of women who would decide to wear dresses to this store. The staircase incident later on, of course, causes Apple to remodel their staircase and make it more suitable for women all around.
Like a mosaic, the market is diverse and complex. Given the benefits of the doubt, I don’t think companies out there would want to exclude or miss an opportunity in a market due to negligence like this. Hence I believe though qualification of a candidate is still the priority when it comes to hiring. Diversity and inclusiveness within a division or the company, in general, could be beautiful and, additionally, generate profit for companies given a chance.