Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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technology, philosophy, industrial productivity, work


Technology critics like Neal Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death) and Nicholas Carr (The Shallows) have long held forth that our technology shapes us. In recent years, philosophers (including some that have presented at past Christian Engineering Conferences) have explored the value-ladenness of engineering design and how the biases in our technology affect us on a daily basis. A “hidden in plain sight” technology that we interact with everyday is our approach to getting things done, or our “productivity system.” While everyone has a productivity system, that is, a way of organizing, prioritizing, and executing tasks, some have thought more explicitly about their system than others. Author Cal Newport has popularized a time management system consisting of phases for Capture, Configure, and Control, as well as planning at different timescales. This productivity approach provides knowledge workers with the tools to get more things done in less time. The engineering design norms have provided a useful framework for considering the non-neutrality of technology. We apply them to evaluate the Capture, Configure, Control productivity system and consider whether Christians should buy into the notion of productivity in general and this system in particular.


Paper presented at the Christian Engineering Conference held at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, Minnesota, June 29-July 1, 2022.