Emotion in Technology

19/04/2012 16:55 BST | Updated 19/06/2012 10:12 BST

'I like them.' I said, 'I like them very much. But I don't want to leave our daughter with them.'

'But why not?' asked my boyfriend bemused. 'What is it exactly they've done so that you don't trust them to babysit?'

'Nothing I can pinpoint. It's a gut feeling.' I said.

My boyfriend made an effort to sway me with something he likes to call maths. 'On the 5% probability that she wakes up whilst we are at the restaurant or they can't get her to sleep, it would take us less than 15 minutes to get home.'

Logically I agreed with him. But he knew he was fighting a losing battle, because for women, emotions always win.

Emotions 1: Logic 0.

It's no secret that women are more emotionally governed than men. And that we don't mind admitting it. Of course, we have powers of logic but there is always an emotional quotient to our decision making. It's why supposedly women don't go for careers in the Technology sector, because it's touted as an industry sector with little or no emotion. A sector based on logic. Really?

Men believe that making decisions with emotions is a weakness. But despite their best efforts to disguise it, men also make decisions with their emotions. They congregate in Technology -

1.            Because it's safe and understandable. Not like the emotions which drive marketing and purchasing decisions. They can feel secure in their reasoning, knowing that if called upon they can support their argument.

2.           Because they can control the outcome of code. There'll be no talk here of trying to explain a result which simply doesn't stack up.

3.           Because they can revel in the joy of creation. To put it bluntly, women have the innate ability to create. Men do not. But all humans hunger for it.

A career in technology makes men feel competent, in control, productive. Powerful over machines and of course ultimately over users. These are very basic human emotions. But these emotions are not the bastions of men. All of them appeal wonderfully to women. The problem is - technology careers haven't been marketed to women as to how it makes them feel. It's been described through new vocabulary and acronyms like bugs, Java and C++. A secret logical language which - as the marketing truth goes - advertises features, not benefits. And in fact many men might revel in the fact that this secret language is off-putting to many because it makes them feel important (oh yes, that would be another emotion then). 

Unfortunately for those men who aspire to technology clique-dom, the advent of social media has blown the doors to the technology sector wide open and exposed it for what it really is. An alternate reality encompassing behavioral psychology, tons of social interaction, problem solving and a beautiful translation of ourselves into a virtual phenomenon...

Because much of the aim of technology is to improve human interaction and that's a very feminine trait... whether it be through Edison's light bulb (all the better to see you with), Bell's telephone, (all the better to hear you with) or now Zuckerberg's Facebook (all the better to marvel at how stupid we all looked when we were 18).

Emotion in technology is not a new thing. In fact even the wheel wasn't invented for logical reasons. It wasn't to calculate rotational kinetic activity (analysis), to transport boats down to the river (feature) nor even to create less work (so what?). It was created to give us more time and energy to do the things what we wanted. To feel more productive, liberate our freedom of time and choice. Pure emotion. So at the end of the day, the problem of attracting women to careers in technology lies not in the distribution of intelligence between the right and left sides of the brain, but purely in the way that such jobs are marketed.