New Technology …that Excludes?

22 Jul

In the last couple of weeks I have had several meetings downtown in large high rise buildings, and I have noticed something new.

It seems the latest technology in elevators is to pick the floor you want to go to first, which then directs you to the correct elevator. I imagine this is to provide a quicker ride, since (I’m guessing) the software groups the requests so everyone going to the same floor gets into the same elevator. And maybe there are only 2 or 3 stops in total, instead of many – as per the “old fashioned” elevators.

I get it.
When you’re going to the 54th floor, and there are multiple stops on the way up (for people leaving and entering the elevator) your ride could be long. If you’re late, it’s probably excruciating. Some of these challenges are addressed by grouping elevators for different floors in very high buildings. But I guess that isn’t good enough.

Here’s what I noticed today, that made me think:
We’ve come a long way in elevation. We now have braille and elevators that speak so that the visually impaired can be autonomous. The new elevator that I was in – although we only stopped on two floors – didn’t speak. There were only two of us, and two floors selected. So if I wasn’t able to see, I wouldn’t have known if the first stop was mine, or the other person’s.  would have had to ask. And I imagine the beauty of elevators that speak is some level of autonomy in a world that privileges the sighted.

Maybe in our rush for efficiency, we forgot about inclusion?

See more.

Copyright 2015 Annemarie Shrouder
Author, Speaker and Facilitator on issues of Diversity & Inclusion.


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