Drowning Ourselves In Technology
from the it's-everywhere dept
While we’re quite sick of hearing stories warning about “gadget addiction” of any kind (usually said by some professional looking to drum up business for his or her gadget addiction cure), there are some interesting cultural issues concerning the growth of gadgetry around us and our growing use of such gadgets. Moconews points us to an article that doesn’t necessarily answer the questions about this, but certainly raises quite a few that are worth pondering. It takes a mostly neutral view, noting (as we’ve said in the past) the technology itself is quite neutral, but how people use it can be all across the spectrum of good and bad uses. That, alone, can raise plenty of questions about how our gadget enjoyment (obsession?) is changing aspects of society — from being always connected to also being able to shut out the outside world and always live within the tiny screen in front of you or headphones around you. There are always going to be cases of people (maybe large groups of people) overdoing things — but overall, it opens up so much positive potential that there’s no way people are going to stop. The trick is going to be to continue to recognize and minimize the impact of negative uses of these devices over time. They won’t go away, of course, but discussing them and focusing on improvements should help focus people on the more positive aspects of new technologies.
Comments on “Drowning Ourselves In Technology”
I work as a software engineer and my fellow technogeeks always seem to buy the latest greatest gadgets. The latest iPod, the new HDTV, whatever. I try to resist and only get those things I need in order to do my job or otherwise get by. My feeling had always been there’s nothing wrong with technology except that it seems that so many people are plugging into the machines and plugging out of interpersonal relationships. I dunno, to me IM chat just isn’t the same as a cup of coffee and a nice conversation. I hope that as technology marches on we don’t use it as a replacement for humanity.
Re: disconnected connections...
I don’t think we will use it as a replacement for humanity, not in the long term. We’re still figuring out where all our tech fits into our lives and our relationships but in the end, most people will gravitate toward a balance between tech-enabled and face-to-face companionship. What’s happening now is the ability to try out all kinds of relating with people in all kinds of places, not confined to your personal geography. Eventually that settles out and the distinction between online and offline interaction becomes almost meaningless — it’ll all just be part of relating, with pros and cons in each. What’s great is that people are no longer constrained to relating in ways that others, or even the majority, consider “superior” or “right.” Text, audio, video, real-time or asynchronous or in person, it all has a place and each of us can find our own comfort level.
Re: disconnected connections...
I respect your well founded concern that we lose our humanity as we drown ourselves in the technology blitz. But, just take a look at your local headlines. Dont you think we lost our humanity a while ago ?? We just seem to live under the pretense of humanity.
Without a doubt...
…the worst aspect of ubiquitous mobile technology is not how it effects the user – that’s their choice – it’s how it effects innocent bystanders who have to hear the tinny rattle of poor quality iPod cans and, worse, ring tones.
Oh, ring tones… How I yearn for death when I’m aurally accosted by a poorly digitised movie quote, repetitive zero-bass dance track or some awful novelty squaeking.
I once had a dream about being present at that board meeting all those years ago where one coked up exec clenched his teeth and spat “Let’s make them play tunes!” …I’m there with a baseball bat… I make mince-meat of his head and ask “Any questions?”
Eliminate Gadget addiction
That way we can go back to our houses after work and sit down, drink a beer and watch TV like our parents did before us.
Wasn’t life so much easier back then, with no MP3’s or MP4 videos?
that way you had to sit through commercials, forced to watch the commercial for a new LP, and had to go buy it.
and EULA? Shoot! unless you had a turntable at work or in the car, you HAD to listen to it at home.
Ah the old days….
Re: Eliminate Gadget addiction
The technology isn’t the issue. There will always be sheep in the world that buy everything that there told to buy watch everything there told to watch and so on and so forth. Not only that but there will always be that anti social guy that has more fun surfing the net and dating Virtual woman on his computer more then he likes going to a bar and talking to a real woman. These people have always been around in one way or another it’s just more prevelent because the popluation is larger and we’ve given those anti social individuals a voice through the internet. I do IT for a living and yes I spend quit a bit of time on a computer every day and I know about all the new technology and do have a few nice toys of my own but when works over I have another life that doesn’t invole AIM or email or text messaging (well maybe a little text messaging lol) It boils down to what kind of a person you are not the technology…
Technology is not neutral
It has become de rigueur to say “technology is neutral, and whether it is good or bad depends on how it is used.” But, like the similar fallacy of “guns don’t kill people” it is simply wrong (and tiresome). The very existence of a technology changes the landscape of possibilities. Some technologies have built-in biases. To say technology is neutral closes off an important avenue of discussion.