Free «Technological Interactions» Essay
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The advent of a technological age and society brought with it its advantages and disadvantages. Its impact is evident in all areas of human life. Indeed, technology encompasses all aspects of scientific application in the society. One of the most revolutionary contributions of technology is on the way humanity interacts. The invention of the internet in the 1960s was the beginning of the popularised information age (or computer, digital, new media age). The information age refers to a period in history, where focus shifted from the industrial technological revolution to a more computerised technological revolution. Historians have described this period that humanity is in, as the one that is defined by control and access to information. This control and access to information fuels the way humanity socializes. The invention of the E-Mail in 1978 by VA Shiva Ayyadurai ushered a new way of communication and socialization. This milestone preceded other related inventions, such as the several social media sites available today. The question is in what way the technology has influenced human interaction. In addition, one may wonder whether we have lost touch with each other or the technology has actually helped us to make better connections with each other.
The dawn of the information age and the continued usage of technology can be attributed to the deterioration of humanity societal and personal interactions
The video, Look Up, features a 4-minute spoken word film that addresses the current online generation. As the name suggests, it asks this computerised generation to LOOK UP from their phones, tablets, computer screens, television screens, and video games and embrace life in general. The speaker argues that the current generation is so immersed into their technological devices that they lose touch of their personal interactions with those around them. The video focuses mainly on the negative impact of the social media interaction on the society, and then gradually pans out to cover other media as well (Turk, 2014).
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The speaker starts out by saying, “I have 422 friends yet I’m lonely, I speak to all of them everyday yet none of them really know me”. This is a reflection of most of the lives of the young people in this current generation. They spend hours on the social media websites such as a Facebook and Twitter. They connect with many individuals from far and wide, and spend all of their free time sharing their experiences with the people, who are practically strangers to them, the people they have never met and will probably never meet. They are immersed into a world of internet interaction; yet, in truth they are alone, because most of these 422 friends do not have a personal relationship with them. The speaker portrays the social media interactions as illusions. The sense of connection and companionship that personal interaction brings cannot be achieved through the social media interactions. Life literally passes by while we tap away at our phones. The speaker calls us a generation of robots. Our lives are being controlled by the same technology that we created. This societal degradation is passed down to the future generation. Children have grown to become socially detached and non-interactive. For instance, they spend hours on video games and television. The speaker compares this situation to that of the past. He says, “Now the parks are quiet it gives me a chill. See no children outside and the swings are hanging still”. The speaker also points out that social media have brought about a world of “self-interest, self-image and self-promotion”. This alludes to the argument that social media interaction has promoted vanity in the society, more so amongst the youth. They have become more self-conscious about their looks and pictures they post on these social websites. In this new generation, your popularity is gauged by the number of friends on Facebook or the number of followers on Twitter. It is gauged by the likes on a Facebook or Instagram picture. It is from this standpoint that the speaker argues that social media have brought about vanity and self-interest. In conclusion, the speaker urges our generation to look up; to be productive and present and to be awake and inclusive. In shunning these detached interactive avenues we embrace life and live it in a real way.
While from the video, Look Up, it is easy to dismiss technology as being deteriorative, one should not overlook its advantages. In the article, “The Technology and the Society”, Raymond Williams looks at the progressive and retrogressive impact of technology on the societal interactions. Williams argues that technology and its inventors are not evil. In fact, Williams argues that it is humanity that is abusing technology. Williams suggests that in order to solve the issue of technology and its societal effects there is a need to “restore intention to the process of research and development”. This means that we need to look at the intended usage for the technological inventions of our time. What were the purposes that fuelled the research and development of these technological inventions? In so doing, the humanity can come to the terms as to how we are abusing these inventions, such as the social media, as pointed out in Look Up. The two agree that technology is being abused, but are divergent when it comes to their proposed solutions. In Look Up, Gary Turk seems to be advocating for the shunning of technologically-based interactions such as social media. This is because he only cites the disadvantages or this technology. On the other hand, Williams agrees to these disadvantages, as shown in Turk’s video, but proposes a different approach in dealing with the problem. The solution, according to Williams, is not to shun technological interactions altogether, but to sensitize the public on the purpose of development of these inventions; hence, on the ways to use them in a proper manner.
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In defence of technological interactions Williams shows their advantages. A report published by the American Academy of Paediatrics shows that online connections with friends and positive use of the social media are healthy contribution to the growth of children. As such they get to connect with their peers with shared interest; hence, the child embraces a similar larger community of his/her peers. While Turk shows how we lose touch with our loved ones by connecting to strangers, Williams adds that technology helps us to stay in touch with our loved ones. Communication has been made easier and the world has become a “global village”. Thus, distance is not a limiting factor in communication all thanks to technology. Additionally, the video games that Turk dismisses are beneficial to a child’s learning ability, according to the report by the American Academy of Paediatrics, as cited by Williams.
The retrogressive effect of technology on the societal interaction is clearly brought out by Turk and Williams. Therefore, overwhelming evidence is in support of the aforementioned thesis statement. The only difference is on how to deal with the problem as pertaining to technology. Turk advocates for a radical solution that is shunning technology altogether. He says that humanity should learn to live in the moment and not live an excluded lifestyle detached from their surroundings. Williams’ solution is a more neutral approach. He first cites the advantages of technology, an issue that Turk’s video overlooked. His proposed solution is an investigative one. Williams suggests that we should look at the intended purposes for these technological inventions and the way we are misusing them in a bid to change for the better (Williams, 2003).
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