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Basically, you must avoid the deployment of prejudices, stereotypes and uncritical generalizations about other cultures.

Prejudices refer to preconceived judgments or opinions, often devaluing opinions, about other cultures based on uncritical and biased generalizations and stereotypes about that culture. An example of a prejudice is the common misconception of people that thinks that older people cannot handle computers.

Stereotypes are standardized and simplified conceptions of groups or people based on some prior assumptions. A common stereotype is that computer experts are all geeks or nerds.

To avoid the biased appreciation of technology you must examine technology from the perspective of cultural relativism, that is, you must understand other cultures, including their technology, in terms of that culture itself, in terms of its values, beliefs, norms, ideologies, practices, etc.

More exercises

Interpreting a pizza-making machine

Read the following article the following article from Robotic Trends

(http://www.roboticstrends.com/): http://www.roboticstrends.com/service_healthcare/article/robopizza_lands_stateside

RoboPizza Lands Stateside

Let's Pizza machine creates pizza from scratch with fresh ingredients.

By Robotics Trends' News Sources - Filed Jun 19, 2012

Late-night cravings for pizza may soon be satisfied not by all-night delivery, but by this robot vending machine. Invented by Italians and just now arriving on our fair shores, the Let's Pizza machine actually creates the pizza more or less from scratch, and then bakes it as you watch. The future is here, and it's a bit carb-heavy.

Unlike the frozen and reheated affairs you're likely to find at a 7-11, this pizza is actually created when you order it, from "fresh" ingredients. The dough is mixed and flattened, the sauce spread, the cheese and toppings sprinkled. Some items are no refrigerated, no doubt, but nothing is frozen or pre-prepared. It's thin-crust, since it has to be fully baked in just a minute and a half. Each machine has enough ingredients for 200 pizzas, and offers four variations.

They've found enough success in the old country that the machines are finally coming stateside. They'll soon be found at "malls, airports, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, universities, gas stations, bus stations, etc," Ronald Rammers, CEO of the company distributing them here, told Pizza Marketplace.

The price has gone up since they first made their debut; they were about $4.50 a year ago when Atomic Toasters encountered them, but the recommended price is now $5.95. Hopefully the quality has gone up, too — that site's reporter described the pizza he got as having a dry, spongy crust and chemical taste to the cheese.

But the convenience and novelty of the whole operation may overcome any gourmet scruples, and they could even be used institutionally to ensure quick pizza creation for places like fairs and schools.

Oh well, give it a try.

Answer the following questions:

  1. The pizza making machine was invented by Italians. Pizza is Greek in origin. The ancient Greeks covered their bread with oils, herbs and cheese. Modern pizza, however, originated in Naples, Italy. What does this high tech pizza vending machine tells you about Italian culture?
  2. What social meanings are embedded in this Italian technology?
  3. According to this technology, what is of value in Italian culture? What Italian beliefs, symbols, ideologies, worldviews and tastes are embedded in these machines? What lifestyles or ways of life are associated to these pizza vending machines?
  4. Is there something about this pizza vending machine that makes it strictly Italian? Or, are these values, including a taste for pizza, found in other cultures around the world? Please, explain.
  5. What would these pizza vending machines mean to you?
  6. What do you think is the cultural horizon of these machines? Is it also rationalization? Why?
  7. Can you think of other general cultural assumptions that form the often unquestioned background to every aspect of social life in Italy that maybe informed and determined the design of these machines?
  8. Who will benefit from these vending machines? Who will not? [In answering thinks of the various stakeholders including inventors, corporations, vendors, traditional pizzerias and pizza making workers, consumers, etc, and the meaning they will attach to the pizza vending machine).

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Source:  OpenStax, Civis project - uprm. OpenStax CNX. Nov 20, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11359/1.4
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