Bulgarelli: Week #2 Blog Post

After reading “The Web is Dead, Long Live the Internet” I thought a lot about interactions with technology. I thought about this last week when we were meant to catalog our involvement for one day. In high school, my AP english language teacher made us all take a technological fast–we had to give up everything and lock it in a vault in our school. Phones, computers, ipods/ipads…I even gave up my turntable and my speakers. During the two weeks of the tech fast we had to keep a journal. I remember mine being full of irritated comments like “the ride to school was so boring without the radio,” or “everyone was texting across the table during lunch and I missed out.” But, an interesting thing that a classmate brought up was how we relied more on apps than humans. Why ask a friend for help with math homework–there’s the Khan Academy app. Why help your mom cook dinner–there’s PushForPizza. It wasn’t necessarily better to use an app in any case, just easier. And that ease was driving down our desires for face-to-face communication while pushing our need for technological interactions through the roof. We were sitting at the lunch table, yes, but without a blackberry in hand we were surely not part of the club. Technological advancements bred exclusivity, further entrenching their presence within our lives. The article talks about Facebook as an example–how being a student with an email account granted you access, welcoming you into a closed circle of the web. The simplicity of the exclusive aspect bred the formation of habits, a need to become more and more ahead of the curve, within the game, part of the action.

This mostly made me think of the novel White Noise, by Don DeLillo, because of the overwhelming theme of technological pervasiveness within the story. In the book, there is a constant presence of media–whether it be background sounds, images, etc. Because of how developed technology has become, everyone is made to be meaningless, anonymous and controlled. The interactions between humans and machines are seamless, often further entrenching the anonymity and insignificance of humans. This connects to the death of the web because pretty soon the world will be more like “Her,” and the article will be called “The Humans are stupid, Long live the Operating Systems.” Humans will be reduced, denigrated, superimposed by the strength and intellectual capacity of machines.

 

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1 Response to Bulgarelli: Week #2 Blog Post

  1. T.J. Alexander says:

    Hey Gabriella.

    I agree with your post a lot, especially your last line about the “intellectual capacity of machines”. The fact of the matter is that machines are always capable of being smarter than their human creators. They can collect, gather, and process information faster than we can. So, the question becomes whether or not we are okay with that and does that have any negative externalities that we aren’t considering. Are these machines helpful in our interactions with other people or potentially harmful? I think that’s a pros and cons issue that we need to weigh for each new technology we possess.

    Also, I personally think you’re right to note the exclusivity of some of the various technologies coming out. That already creates one barrier by dividing those that can possess the technology and those that cannot, like your experience at the lunch table with your friends. Additionally, I think that technologies that increase our exposure to media also get in the way of our connections to other people. If I’m so absorbed in how many likes the picture of my best friend and I on Instagram garners, am I actually taking the time to appreciate my best friend for the person he is? I think that question is the question that we should ask before we bring technologies into our lives. Simply, are these things going to enhance my interactions with others or harm them?

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