Is Technology Destroying Us?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by _Jonesy, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. _Jonesy

    _Jonesy Member

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    I didn't know where to put this, but frankly, I think technology can be attributed to a lot of the worlds problems nowadays. While I admit, technology has helped to make the world a much better place to live in in terms of connectivity, healthcare and other public services, I have noticed a slight evil come of it and infect my own life in a lot of ways.

    Here is my report on the matter:

    The Dawn of the Internet

    I'm going to start of with the internet. Personally, I can only just remember what life was like before I sat behind a computer every day to socialise, search and generally procrastinate.

    I am going to relate a lot of my points to my life throughout, as I feel that it will help me to explain this complex issue.

    I am sat here right now, my room a mess, my stomach rumbling and my work unfinished. In my mind, I know exactly what I want to do to be happy, I know doing my work or going to the gym will make me feel happy about my day, same for tidying my room. So why do I find myself here instead of there? Is the internet a drug that is damaging my life no less than any other drug I could take?

    Now I understand the internet helps me in a huge amount of ways as well. Google and LPSG has helped me mature into almost an adult since I was about 16, asking questions I would otherwise never have asked. I can study a lot more conveniently, but perhaps too much so.

    Let me elaborate on that point, I have a choice: sit in and google my work, or go to the library and totally focus. It is obvious which option would help me to become more intelligent to a higher standard, yet the internet seems to be making me lazy.

    I obviously cannot live without the internet as I see my life currently, and of course it has a huge amount of advantages which is why I am going to try and look at this a bit more deeply by tackling the heart of what I consider the prime-evil for me.

    The Advent of Social Networking

    Here we go! I'm sorry if this 'report' seems a little unstructured by the way, I am trying to convey a very difficult topic in about half an hours worth of writing.

    Now Facebook/Bebo/MySpace are the biggest problems for me and always have been. They create a link to pasts which I do not wish to revisit, it definately demotivates me and makes me procrastinate and makes me somewhat self-concious about myself in comparison to others.

    The only advantage to Facebook I can see is the connection it gives you to friends. But I find myself running into too many people I do not wish to see, photos I do not wish to uncover etc. If I want you in my life, I have my phone. It may complicate things, but this leads me on to my next point.

    How Did We Live Before Social Networking?

    I believe people are losing the values surrounding creating a relationship and putting effort in for ones-self. Now we can click a button to meet someone, losing the thrill of meeting someone in a more conventional way.

    If I was to meet a girl today she would at some point ask for my facebook name. I would say I do not have one, and then I would seem odd.

    Mobile Phones?

    Now this is one piece of social technology I believe is not evil. The mobile phone can help us keep in touch with valued friends without exceeding what I call the 'social boundaries', where Facebook becomes an addiction.

    What To Do About It?

    To cut this short, I am going to delete Facebook, and I will post on here to post my diary of how it is affecting my life.

    I want my old life back, I want no excuse to sit at a PC and procrastinate when I could be doing my work. If I want to talk to people, I'll be on my phone or email. If I want to find a party etc, I will find it the hard way and not be worried about who is going beforehand etc.

    I want to be free of the shackles of technology. I want the past to be behind me, so that I can move on to my future.

    I'll keep you all updated. Feel free to comment :)
     
  2. EllieP

    Staff Member Moderator Gold Member

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    I think the pendulum will swing the other way before too long, but not before hopeless addicts get so hooked they'll never be able to free themselves.

    I've start sloughing off a lot of technology. It may sound crazy, but when I go out jogging I don't bring my cell phone with me. There's something liberating about being disconnected.

    I don't need a lot of technology for my business, just the right amount. However, I found myself using it as a crutch, and I'm starting to resent it. Seriously, being on this site has become about the only digital vice that I have. I haven't been to my Facebook page in ages, and my sister even called the other night to find out why! That's getting serious.

    If you start a movement I want to be part of it!
     
  3. Autofellatio

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    I do believe that technology is harmless... in moderation, that is.

    Like everything else around us, it's only bad if taken in excessive dosages, methinks.

    Or maybe I can say this because I'm a bookworm XD
     
  4. _Jonesy

    _Jonesy Member

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    Autofellatio, exactly, in moderation. A lot of people, including myself cannot do that, just like a smoker may become addicted to cigarettes. It becomes a "crutch" to lean on as EllieP stated.

    Like I said my phone I do not mind, but Facebook is a joke. I even find myself procrastinating on these forums, but at least I can justify being here where on Facebook I cannot.

    I went to the Lake District the other week to climb with a mountaineering group from my Uni. I had no signal, and no internet. Just friends, a bit hill and a pub. It was blissful.

    I'll post my first day report tomorrow night, then my first week after that, and then after that my first 2 weeks, a month, 3 months, 6 months and a year if I make it that far. After that, if I look back and feel I have improved it will probably stay that way unless Facebook changes again for the better.

    EllieP if you wish to join me feel free to do the same by posting on here stating what you are taking out of your life and how it is affecting you. I do not know if you use Facebook or anything similar.
     
  5. MrHangman

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    Facebook and mobile phones help me keep in touch with my friends. They have definitely enriched my life because of all of the time I have spent with my friends because they could easily get into contact with me.

    What I hate is when you're hanging out with someone and they're like "oh my God let me check my facebook" and I'm like, ew no if you want to go use the internet go home.

    Or when I'm at dinner with my friends and everyone is sitting at the table text messaging and I'll be like "whatever if there are other people you'd rather be spending time with go hang out with them and pay attention to them."

    I mean I do respond to phone calls and text messages on my phone when I'm with my friends, but I usually say "all right I'm sorry I'll talk to you later I'm with company" and they totally understand.

    Finally I do find myself procrastinating on the internet a lot. But before it was the internet it was television and video games. I feel much more fulfilled with the time I spend on the internet as opposed to those two things. I don't even watch television or play video games anymore, and if I do, I'm doing it through the internet.
     
  6. _Jonesy

    _Jonesy Member

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    Yes but before the internet you were also the same age as me, and TV/Video Games were basically the interests of our age at the time. Take away the internet today, and life would become much more challenging but THAT is my point.

    Great connections can be gained from the extra effort, as can greater intelligence from needing to research books at libraries in a proper studying environment. There could be a lot less hurt and let's be honest, the youth of today are hardly becoming better, at least not in the UK.

    We are becoming more and more reliant on other tools to rule our lives. It is only a matter of time before this becomes regulated imo. When someone smart enough actually comes to power to sort it out.
     
  7. accemb

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    I do not own a cell phone. I do not want a cell phone. I do not need a cell phone.

    If you want to call me you have my home phone number. If I am not there, leave a message. Pretend it's the 90s. I'll call you back.
     
  8. B_Marius567

    B_Marius567 New Member

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    I use go out and rent a movie and buy a newspaper now I do it from my Kindle and netflix.
     
  9. _Jonesy

    _Jonesy Member

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    As I said, a lot of advantages and I love those kind of advancements. My iPod and smartphones for example.

    This thread will mainly be understood by people my own age with an addiction to facebook.
     
  10. Pendlum

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    I've been without a facebook page since whenever facebook was created. The only technology I really fear is the technology that is designed with the only purpose being to kill with a disgusting amount of efficiency and little effort.

    But anyway, anytime I don't have internet and have idle time, I usually end up just picking up a book or playing a game.
     
  11. DaveyR

    DaveyR Retired Moderator
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    The only thing I will say is that you do have the freedom of choice as to whether or not you use this technology.
     
  12. _Jonesy

    _Jonesy Member

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    Precisely! I feel I have lost that. The last time I picked up a book at 10pm before sleeping at 11 was a long time ago and usually I end up on Facebook until 1am. The bright screen does nothing but make sleep difficult, where a quiet relaxing book may infact settle you before sleeping.

    So my body clock is wrong, which leads to all the other problems under the sun and I hope losing FB will help.

    Just like a smoker has the ability to say no to a cigarette, but that may be more difficult if they are used to the pattern of using it every night. I am trying to break this pattern. My friend made me change her password before her exams so she could revise, but still found herself finding a way back on through her security questions.
     
  13. midlifebear

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    I find e-mail very efficient. Much better than snail mail. And I don't have to put up with potentially dangerous, often surly, postal workers. And the cost? Negligible. No 44 Cent "Forever" Stamps.

    Video on-line is getting better. It's not exactly my 1080i screens with satellite feed, but it's getting better.

    Facebook? Nope. You have to be dumb as bricks to become so involved with your own ego that you find others and yourself so interesting -- except for personal enemies and "the government."

    Twitter? Totally irritating.

    Text messaging? It has it's place, but I rarely use it. And when other's use it while we are having lunch, working on a project, or supposedly enjoying one another's company -- I kill them.

    However, if you live in a large city where walking and public transportation are the best methods of getting about, a quick text message to hook up with husband, friends, for a drink or dinner saves a lot of trouble. As for actually talking on a cell phone? Thank you, but no. I never enjoyed talking on a dedicated land line.
     
  14. Bbucko

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    I'm not sure how much of this is generational, Jonesy. I just turned 51 and have seen the technological revolution from a front-row seat for about ~40 years now. When I was a kid, we had three networks plus PBS and a couple of grainy, ultra-cheap UHF channels on TV (in the US): maybe six channels in total.

    One of the most enduring memories of my childhood is sitting in the back seat of a car (with no restraints/safety gear of any kind), listening to pop music on the AM radio. It was only really once I hit my teen years in the early 70s that listening to FM was common, but only at home on the stereo. It wasn't until the late 70s that really decent hi-fidelity sound came to cars, and to be honest it sorta freaked me out: I preferred not being so easily distracted and found the clarity within such a confined space surreal.

    Socializing was strictly face-to-face, whether at parties or (eventually) in bars. Alcohol and/or drugs featured prominently in my life beginning at 15, which was when I really started testing out the waters of "adult-ish" social interaction. Everything was fine as long as I stayed within a peer group, but once I began going out to bars and mixing with real adults (at 17), I was the target of several predatory older men, and whatever was left of my innocence and idealism vanished very quickly.

    Except for gay versions of Playboy or Penthouse, the availability of hardcore porn (mostly magazines that were quite expensive) was restricted to sex shops in the skeeziest (and most dangerous) parts of town. Except for 8mm, anything involving moving images required a visit to a cinema, and as I learned quickly, these were really more a venue for meeting people than any actual porn enjoyment. As the quality of the product was usually pretty bad, that was probably for the best anyway. The concept of watching moving-image porn in complete privacy, in my experience, was unheard of.

    By my mid-20s, VCRs and computers were both part of my life, though computers (beyond a neglected word processor one of my partners had) were restricted to work, where I became relatively conversant with DOS. This technology impacted my life very little except to allow me to prepare for computers having a role in my life at all; despite many brave words from my employer, the computers were never actually networked, so we were still overnighting tapes or floppies to corporate, and all info we received regarding inventory availability was at least a week behind. As this was furniture and we're discussing retail orders worth thousands of dollars, it was extremely frustrating.

    VCRs had a much more positive impact on my life. For the first time, ordinary folks could select their entertainment from a shelf rather than accepting whatever random thing was being shown on TV or in theaters, and it could be stopped and started at will, allowing for breaks for the bathroom or trips to the kitchen, or rewound to catch nuances and subtleties one might have missed the first time. They also allowed me to become familiar with the great classics which were never shown in theaters or on TV. My visits to actual cinemas practically stopped even as my movie watching increased.

    Needless to say, the VCR's impact on porn was incalculable. All I'll say is that the ability to watch moving-image porn in the privacy of my home (for $2.50 per flick instead of $7 or $8 at a porn theater) changed the way I appreciated such subject matter for good and for the better, too :wink:

    Later in the 80s we got fax machines and Macs that could produce decent, professional-looking sales aids, ranging from handouts to price tags and were better able to quote accurate stock information as computers started becoming more networked. CDs replaced vinyl, which saved space and were billed (at least initially) as "indestructible". Both at home and at work, one heard less and less of the radio in favor of programmed sound from CDs.

    Bars and clubs were still the best way to meet people. Though I stopped using illicit drugs when I was 23, I still drank all the time, especially when socializing. TVs made their appearance in nightspots at this time and the Video Bar was born; I remember friends criticizing the concept of guys going out just to stare at the TV all night (which we did :rolleyes:), but that missed the point. Cruise Bars still were TV-free, so there were no distractions overhead; Video Bars were just fun and easy, the same way dance clubs were for dancing, not conversing. Though the dependence on alcohol during socializing had many pitfalls, at least people were still going out and meeting each other face-to-face. I never understood the appeal of chat lines or phone sex, and consider camming their contemporary equivalent.

    These days most cities in the US offer very little by way of gay-specific nightlife, and little nightlife at all compared to, say, 25 years ago. In many ways I see this as a definitive loss, and find that the lack of civility all-too common today springs from the habit of anonymously surfing the web. When forced to interact on a face-to-face level, one learns social skills like courtesy and being a decent conversationalist. On the other hand, I'm a huge fan of hook-up sites because I can qualify candidates according to my specific criteria, and because I'm truthful in my profile (with accurate pix) I tend to get realistic, honest responses in return. I'm hardly alone in this regard; in fact whole subcultures (including BDSM) have gone viral instead of an expensive, boozy night out chasing wild geese. So it's a mixed blessing.

    Though I first logged on to the internet in 1995, it wasn't until 2004 after the end of a long-term relationship that I switched from dial-up to broadband and started living large parts of my time online. I haven't bought a newspaper in years, and probably buy no more than three or four magazines a year either (instead of ~10 monthly). As I do not currently own a TV, all my info and nearly all my entertainment is via online sources (I will occasionally watch a DVD on my 'puter).

    Ft Lauderdale/Wilton Manors is a rarity among US cities because of the diversity and volume of nightclubs and bars. Undoubtedly part of this is due to its status as a tourist destination and part is due to the fact that down here the age factor is calibrated back 20 years, with 50 being the new 30, and generational habits die hard. I work in a bar myself, and because of this intense socializing aspect of my life five, six or seven nights weekly I run no risk of isolation (as I have previously due to my internet habits). I see this as a good balance overall.

    As to cell phones: I came late to that game. I have always disliked the telephone, detest idle, endless chatter and have always rebelled against what I refer to as "telephone terrorism": just because the damn thing rings doesn't mean I have to answer. First answering machines, then later caller ID cut down and eventually eliminated spammy telemarketers and inopportune, disruptive calls. My crankiness regarding the phone is life-long and legendary: there were whole years of my life when I didn't even have phone service. But my current cell phone really helps me manage this much better.

    The main reason for this is texting: I'm a texting maniac. It's not uncommon for me to text someone asking if s/he's available for a conversation and arrange "phone dates" for catch-up and the like. And although I rebelled for years about being at people's disposal 24/7, I now enjoy being able to screen calls no matter where I am and take them at my discretion. I do have some rules though:

    1) Never take a call while eating;
    2) Never take a call in the bathroom;
    3) Never take a call in front of people when socializing, except only to ask if I can call the person back at a better time;
    4) Never take an unexpected call while working or during hours when I'm expected to be sleeping (even if I'm not).

    Nostalgic revisionism of a "better time" before technology exploded into our lives is largely an exercise in wishful thinking: why would anyone consciously limit their options? And though I know I'm supposed to be a good Post-Modernist and believe that progress is a capitalist, bourgeois affectation, honestly in my life experience there's never been a better time to be alive than right now, and if I make another ten years I know I'll say the same thing then, too.
     
  15. nudeyorker

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    ^Excellent post Bbuck, I could not agree more.
     
  16. D_Relentless Original

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    Good Thread OP. Yes I agree.

    I never have a minute to myself, I carry My own mobile which is constantly ringing or bleeping. My works mobile which is the same, My Blackberry for my works emails which I tend to respond to when I am not in the office, even at weekends.I get anxious if my phones needs charging or if I have no signal.

    My friends and I talk via text or email,Its easier to cancel something by text. I know and talk with alot of people on line, although I do not know my Neighbors names or anything about them and I have lived here 10 years.

    Alot of my friends have either split up or divorced because of Facebook, I do not have a facebook profile, it stressed me, people at work were adding me as a friend and if I did not accept it was taken personal.

    My spelling gets worse as I rely on Spellchecker to correct my mistakes and Blah blah.

    Your post has got me thinking, and admittedly, it has its uses, but I feel more stressed by it and yes I think it has the potential to Mentally destroy me.
     
  17. _Jonesy

    _Jonesy Member

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    Very well written Bbuck and sorry if I sounded like I was generalising, I will explain. Like you said, you are post-modernist therefore, you still have the option to phone a friend and organise to meet up and have a good catch-up where my reality is very different in that everybody my age revolves around Facebook.

    The idea is this:
    1. Meet the person, or bypass this and simply add randomer to Facebook.
    2. Talk to the person/Add to FB if not done already, ask for number.
    3. Texting, phone calls, arrange a date.
    4. Pretty traditional post-that.

    But how it is affecting me, and my generation is thus:

    Attention seeking. Facebook is becoming a way of asking for attention, saying "I don't feel well" or "I'm miserable" constantly just to get replies. Several times I have proceeded to say Hi, you ok? On chat and they reply as if nothing is wrong.

    As for people in a relationship, it has only ever generated a stalker-esque tendency causing arguments and breakups over nothing. Imaginations can run wild with people my age and even older, one photo with a female friend can cause a massive argument, pain, tears. It is not worth it. It breaks down trust.

    It is also a big scene for showing off. So many people to compare to and be compared by, I feel uncomfortable with that. Also it is a security risk, I don't want everybody knowing where I live and having an easy method of grieving me.

    Also, as said, it is a very good tool for procrastinating.

    You focused on your post very much on video/music/computers which is technology I am fine with. I think perhaps I should have titled this thread about Social Networking from the beginning, but believe me, I am already finding myself wanting to go onto FB with no real intention. When I realise I can't, I go talk to my flatmates or I open a book/do some work. This is the result I wanted. Sure it has limited my ability to communicate with people, but I don't think FB is necessary. I still have my mobiley :)

    Thanks for the reply, Tardis 69. This is what I mean. How much further will this go, how much more reliant will we become on tech? I know Microsoft have a vision to be able to have walls in schools connected to schools in other countries (imagine a window into the other classroom) and being able to write on the wall and have it translated on the other end. This is a positive improvement, sure, but then what is the need to study and learn modern languages? Imagine the jobs that will be lost as well!
     
    #17 _Jonesy, Feb 16, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  18. B_stanmarsh14

    B_stanmarsh14 New Member

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    Nearest I EVER get to the likes of sites like Facebook, is YouTube and my Photobucket accounts, not because of the reasons the OP has posted, it's more down to the security aspects of sites like FB, and their total disregard of privacy, which has often been flagged up on many sites, like The Register.

    For cell phones. only one reason I carry one, and that is because I am a full-time carer for mom, and by carrying one, it gives me the freedom to be away from her more, when I want some down time to myself, and sort out shopping, bills, etc for the both of us.

    My cell is basic as it comes Sony Ericsson w350i.... it enables me to make / receive calls, and SMS, and act as a Walkman, and at a push, a very basic internet device on it's internal browsers (I've managed to hack a version of Opera to run on it, being Symbian based), though with it's link cable and a laptop, can work as mobile internet, but very rare I have done this.

    I don't want like some people, to have my cell going off every time someone posts to Facebook, or other trivial crap, I have more important stuff to be going on with, yet some people look at me like a freak.

    My feelings for places like Facebook, is summed up very well in a South Park ep, S14E04 - You Have 0 Friends
     
  19. D_Plenty OToole

    D_Plenty OToole New Member

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    hi all. I'm posting from my Android smartphone. LOL. As a result, I don't have the time or capacity to post the full response that I intend to do when time permits. I would however, like to request that everybody post your age (if not provided in your profile). I think the generational component is so interesting. I would even encourage the OP to edit the original post to ask all posters to-do so.

    I am 38. USA.

    I'll be back.
     
  20. _Jonesy

    _Jonesy Member

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    I watched that episode and it truly perfectly represents my post. The people my age take FB far too seriously, I've hung around for days in the past waiting for somebody to talk to me because I have some kind of obsession and paranoia when in reality they may have just forgotten.

    I'm happy to be free again.

    hungy it isn't letting me but I'll do it here as it is a good idea. Might try and get a poll set up.

    It is a very interesting fact that people of different ages seem to have different dependencies on social networking as a whole. I am personally 20, and I am just about old enough to know how to socialise without Facebook but for people like my brother I imagine it is almost impossible.
     
    #20 _Jonesy, Feb 16, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
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