What is empowerment technology?

Empowerment refers to the process of giving yourself, or other people, the capacity to achieve a specific end goal. For example, if you want to learn how to cook a dish, you start by studying the steps detailed in cookbooks or by watching tutorial videos on YouTube. By doing so, you are empowering yourself with the necessary knowledge, tools, and skills you need to be able to achieve the end goal: learn how to cook a dish.

Likewise, empowerment technology refers to computer technology that we use almost every day, which enables us to do tasks that, in the past, require professional help. Consider the following examples. How does technology empower each individual? Other than the target outcome, what other results are achieved through the use of technology?

  • A fifteen-year-old owner of a bakeshop wanted to sell her cookies online. Knowing that web development is a complex subject, she checked online for a free website creation tool. She found WiX and she was able to put up her own website in just an hour.
  • The student council wanted to create a video for their upcoming fundraising project. When they asked for help from videographers, they were surprised at the cost given to them. So, the council decided to find a video creation tool online. They tried Powtoon and was able to produce a multimedia video in a day.
  • A businessman is running late for a meeting. To find the fastest route from his office to his home, he uses Waze and he is able to tell his estimated time of arrival to the people waiting for him at the office.

Nowadays, there are applications that can be accessed and used for free. In the examples given, each individual is able to solve his or her problem with less cost, less time, and less effort.