Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Following Demetis & Lee (2016) who showed how systems theorizing can be conducted on the basis of a few systems principles, in this conceptual paper, we apply these principles to theorize about the systemic character of technology and investigate the role reversal in the relationship between humans and technology. By applying systems-theoretical requirements outlined by Demetis & Lee, we examine conditions for the systemic character of technology and, based on our theoretical discussion, we argue that humans can now be considered artifacts shaped and used by the (system of) technology rather than vice versa. We argue that the role reversal has considerable implications for the field of information systems that has thus far focused only on the use of the IT artifact by humans. We illustrate these ideas with empirical material from a well-known case from the financial markets: the collapse (“Flash Crash”) of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.