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.