Good And Bad Sides Of The New Era Of Technology
The world of technology has grown to consume our lives and distort our views on the values of authenticity in the biological and social world. As we become more and more dependent on technology, we also become emotionally and socially drained, detaching ourselves from reality. Sherry Turkle, author of “Alone Together” and Malcolm Gladwell, author of “Why the revolution will not be tweeted” discuss the ways in which technology has influenced our views on the values of the real world. As people adapt to a world where technology has fixed itself into their everyday lives, they become dependent on it’s reliability until it eventually consumes their time and reduces the value of relationships to simply connections.
The amount of time we spend connected to the virtual world is reducing the value of real relationships between people, allowing us to “exploit the power of these distant connections with marvelous efficiency” (Gladwell 137). As we realize that it is an easier task to send a quick text than to engage in a time consuming phone call, we become naturally drawn to these “…substitutes for connecting to eachother face-to-face” (Turkle 11). And as more technology begins to take over, younger children are starting to adapt to a life where they need “…continuous connection” (Turkle 17). They are succomed to a seperate world that allows them to connect to whoever they want as whoever they want to be. As a result, robots and even virtual avatars attempt to simulate the appearance of who we want to be and mimic the actions of other human beings to fulfill our need of intimacy and love. We continue to allow these materialistic things satisfy us emotionally, because we feel they are smarter and better than other human beings. In reality, they are just “…a clever collection of “as if” performances” (Turkle 6), programmed to perfect the flaws of human nature. When people online build relationships without intimacy with each other, they are distorted from the value of a real relationship with the assumption that “…a real friend is the same as Facebook friend” (Gladwell 138). We are too afraid of a negative outcome in a face-to-face relationship that we can not just simply avoid, but technology gives us the option of disconnecting or simply logging off if we are no longer happy. So therefore, “we don’t seem to care what these artificial intelligences “know” or “understand” of the human moments we might “share” with them” (Turkle 9), we only care about avoiding the risks of authentic relationships. We would rather not have to learn to expect the unexpected, so we become attached to a world that guarantees us pleasure without pain.
In the age of technology, we have become lazy. Those who say it is only making life simpler are most likely those who were most likely never motivated to do much in the first place. The amount of effort that technology takes away from the stressful moments can also explain why certain goals are reached quicker in the internet age. Social media, especially it’s more successful vehicles such as Facebook and Twitter make it easier to draw in participators, “not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice, but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice” (Gladwell 138). So now that technology can “substitute where people fail” (Turkle 5), we do not bother to waste our time putting in all the effort ourselves. When we are not asked to do too much, we are more likely to be drawn to the message. That is how Sameer Bhatia, a young entrepreneur that came down with acute myelogenous leukemia, found a bone marrow transplant so fast. Of course, donating bone marrow is a serious matter, “but it doesn’t involve financial or personal risk; it doesn’t mean spending a summer being chased by armed men in pickup trucks” (Gladwell 138). We depend on technology to help us get by our everyday lives with ease, and it reaches to a point where being “connected” becomes a need rather than a want. When we are connected, we expect a sense of security and belonging with anyone we interact with so “we are shaken when that world “unplugged” does not signify, does not satisfy” (Turkle 11). The real world doesn’t give us the instant connection that we desire, and we are too lazy to wait out face-to-face interactions sometimes. The problem with this is that it is not only reducing the need for real interactions, but technology is also becoming time consuming in itself. Even though we feel as if our virtual world is the same, or better, than our real world, we do not realize that the amount of time we spend connected is leaving us with less time in reality. Social networks successfully drawn in and consume more people “…by lessening the level of motivation participation requires” (Gladwell 138). We are more likely to join a group of hundreds on Facebook that only requires a post or a comment than a club at school that requires time out of your schedule and a physical appearance once a week. We never want to take away from our precious time, especially if we do not find it very important, so we find ways to work around it. But in this generation, we will never return to the old ways where people would come from miles around for meetings and gatherings and they preferred it that way. I mean, wouldn’t you like to know who you’re sharing your opinions with? Or giving up personal information to? The world is always moving forwards and finding newer ways to deal with our problems. We know that we spend too much time connected, and we know that it can emotionally affect us when we “unplugged”, but “if the problem is that too much technology has made us busy and anxious, the solution will be another technology that will organize, amuse, and relax us” (Turkle 11). This is why every new phone or every new device that the world makes has an extra feature that makes a common task even simpler than before.
As technology advances, it increases the world’s dependence on it while reducing the value of the biological and social world. We never imagine a future with less technology. You’ll never see a phone or an i-pod return to it’s original model or take away it’s most popular features. We tend to wonder how this will affect us in the long run, and what it is we will see ourselves relying on next, “but what happens next is more of the same” (Gladwell 142). More technology, continuous advancement and a sense of deeper dependence on technology is what the world will come to. Evidently, children growing up in this “new aesthetic” (Turkle 6), or inauthentic era are already distorted from the value of authenticity that was once so important to people who didn’t have technology. They are exposed to a world that lacks real connections and real relationships, making it seem as though the world always was, and is supposed to be that way. They have a “sense that communication has no history, or had nothing of importance to consider before the days of television and the internet” (Gladwell 135), simply because the world is trying to show them that they do not need to depend on authentic relationships to be satisfied. At the Darwin exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History, children were exposed to two real and rare turtles who were placed in cages. When asked if their [the turtles] authenticity was important to them, they responded saying, “for what the turtles do, you didn’t have to have the live ones” (Turkle 4). The children did not see the value of the turtles being real because they did not experience the transition from authentic to aesthetic. They could not relate to the adults in the museum who were once accustomed to everything being real. The turtles to them were not fascinating because they had flaws that robots would not have had. “Gross” (Turkle 4), as the children describe it. And as technology continues to advance, it will continue to replace the authenticity of the real world, leaving the upcoming generations with less knowledge about the past.
The new era of technology is not necessarily such a bad thing. Technology allows people to achieve goals in a more efficient way. Take Nora, for example. When she became engaged, she emailed her family to inform them of the wedding date. Nora’s brother, Randy, was upset that his sister chose to send an email instead of calling. “…Nora illustrates how we want it [technology] to make us more efficient in our private lives” (Turkle 16). Nora personally depended on the “ease and speed” (Gladwell 142) of the internet to get the message out to her family but she did not realize that she was merely reducing the value of her relationship with her brother.
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The world of technology has grown to consume our lives and distort our views on the values of authenticity in the biological and social world. As we become more and […]