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Final Remarks

As we come to the end of the semester, I reflect on all the things I have learned in class.  Not only have we been introduced to several themes within technology like that of the slave and capitalism, but this class also opened my eyes to what’s REALLY going on unnoticed in front of us.  I think that a major part of this class is getting us to see what’s going on in society, what role technology plays in it and getting us to think about what we’re going to do about it.  That’s why I think that the festival project was really important for us.  I’ve never had a class that had me consider how I would address a problem regardless of limitations.  I think because younger generations have been told to do things BUT (implying all the limitations), most youngsters have given up or given in to the idea that change is very difficult or even absurd.  But I’m glad that I had the chance to think about social change as part of this class.

As I write my final blog, I look towards the future of technology and what it has to offer.  And there it was….”The Self-Driving Car.”

Apparently Google is now getting into the car business as well as being a giant on the web.  I saw this video and was intrigued.  Then I read that some states, like Nevada, are actually legally allowing these vehicles on their roads.  I can’t wait to see how successful these cars will be when being driven next to impatient and sometimes irrational human drivers.  If these cars prove to be safe and effective, I think that modern technology has taken a huge step and we are becoming more like the images in movies like iRobot or Minority Report.  Not only could these cars decrease the chances of car accidents, but they could also help senior citizens and people with disabilities to get around.  Of course, I only wonder if these cars will only be affordable for the rich thereby making it impossible or very difficult for working people to get one of these cars.  In the end, I guess science fiction really is not fiction, as society will find a way to make such ideas reality.  It will be interesting to see what new gadgets come out in the future, it seems like the options are limitless.  The only hard thing is coming up with the ideas.

 

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Why Apple Is King

 

Several classes ago, we discussed how Apple is one of the technological kings in both the business world and techie circles.  As I write this blog on my mac, I have to agree.  Apple’s ability to create cutting edge gadgets that no one knew they needed is ingenious.  Even the Hi I’m a Mac commercials were so clever and simple with just two guys in front of a white screen.  The look of their products encompasses the minimalist idea and the fact that its pretty easy to learn how to use Apple products makes these gadgets very popular.   The Apple company encompasses the idea that when your product is good it will sell.  Or in other words, if your product is good it will speak for itself and you won’t need a bunch of flashy add ons.

I read this article 12 Most Loyalty- Driving Brand Tactics and I think that the article brings up some very interesting points and even validates topics we have covered in class.  This article even mentions the idea how Apple has created a religion with its company and there are even prophets and so on.  The similarities between our religion lecture and this article are quite interesting.  The article even mentions the idea how Apple has created an avid following with its products, like a cult.  I think that this point is very true because Mac has a very loyal following who likewise try to get more followers, how do you think I got talked into getting a mac.  It was because of my sister, who by the time she talked me into getting a mac was on her second mac and had convinced two to three other people to switch from a PC to a Mac.  I keep telling my sister that she should write to Apple and tell them to give her a commission based on how many people she convinced to get a mac, I think it was 6 – 7 people altogether.

I think one of the most valid points in the article is that Apple makes things that we don’t need now, but what we will need in the future.  How do they know what we will need in the future?  Just like Siri, who would have ever thought that someone would have a cell phone that could talk to you, haha, duh that’s the hole point of phones.  I mean a cell phone where there is no real person on the other end and the voice has the ability to figure things out for you so you never have to go and search for the answers.

The other smart business tactic was that Apple targeted younger people to develop brand loyalty and so that these users will be comfortable in using a Mac when they are young so that by the time they get older, using Apple products will be second nature.  I remember when I was in elementary school, they introduced us to new computer products on a mac, but by the time I got to middle and high school, the schools were using PC’s.  So when I got my Mac a few years ago, I was so lost, but now I love it and I’m so glad that I know how to use it because Macs are in most classrooms on campus.   Now if I can only get off it enough.

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The Need for Speed Means Impatience

The other day someone remarked about how people seem to be more impatient today then they were in the past.  After I thought about it for a while, I thought that this is an accurate description of society.  When driving around on the street, a person can just see all those instances where cars are trying to get ahead of each other by cutting in and out of several lanes, so that they can be a few seconds faster.  But what are the reasons behind this change?  One could speculate that man-made technology could be one contributor.  When the internet is slow or stops working most people usually get very mad, start hitting the computer or continually hit the ctrl+alt+delete keys.  It’s almost like society doesn’t know what to do when they actually have to wait to get something or when technology doesn’t work correctly.  That would make one wonder, how did people in the past, before the computer age, survive without such gadgets?  What happened to the motto, patience is a virtue, have we forgotten it?

I guess in some instances it is reasonable to understand why people want to do things so quickly and can be very impatient.  Citizens in modern America have to fit so many things into their day between taking care of the kids, going to school, going to work, shopping for groceries, paying the bills and taking care of the chores around the house, the duties are endless.  So we have created a society that can help us fit more things into our days like fast-food restaurants and 10 items or less check out lines.  But by creating these things, has modern society just feed their own impatience?  Or in other words, are we responsible for our own rashness?

I think the article “Impatient Nation: I Can’t Wait For You to Read This” explores some interesting issues and sides concerning impatience, like what society blames for impatience (he doesn’t think its because of technology) and what impatience could cause.  Furthermore the article explores how impatience has come to be characterized as an American characteristic and that impatience is not always a bad thing.  If you have enough patience, read the above article,  it certainly got my attention.

 

 

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Negative Effects of TOO much Technology

In class we have mentioned many instances of the negative effects of technology.  But I think that this video sums it up the best, with a humorous spin.  Since our group project surrounded the issue of defining what is too much technology, I think that this video gives audiences new things to consider like technology addiction and the weakening of the family structure or family time.

Another article that gives readers a new perspective about the effects of technology is in “An Ugly Toll of Technology.”  In this article, among other things is the idea that technology helps people to retain certain info, seen with the save features, but that means that we are unable to acquire new memories as we don’t forget things that our computers hold onto for us.  If we do not listen to the advice in the above video, then we could be doomed to be like the people in the below video.

My reaction to this video is, how irritating.  Is this really the way we look and act with our cell phones, shouting our conversations so everyone can hear us and totally oblivious of what is going on around us.  No one can deny that technology has helped society in exponential ways.  There is no way I would want to do research without a computer or without the internet.  But society must not be blinded by our fascination with these gadgets as technology can work to make us overlook its effects.   Have humans created their own downfall with machines?  Or does technology only work to feed human weaknesses?  Hummm???????

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Virtuality in the Bedroom

OMG, what has society come to?  Sure society has reached many technological milestones and now apparently we can add virtual sex to that list.  Though this topic has been mentioned several times in class, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around it.  I guess, in some ways, this progression was just to be expected as lonely and creative computer genius’s found other ways to focus and occupy their time.  As we saw in class with the Real Touch, all sorts of gadgets are being created to satisfy all aspects of ones life, and for both sexes.  I think that it would be interesting to consider what is not being asked though.  Like the noise factor; what happens when those gadgets malfunction or short circuit in use; what if you get tired of one, do you throw it away or recycle it; what do you do when you find them in a relative’s or your husband’s/ wife’s dresser?

The point was brought up in class that what if kids grow and fall in love with one of these robots, is that wrong?  I think that this will create problems because people falling in love for an inanimate things will not be accepted, just as people who are IN love with animals, and not in a motherly/ fatherly way, is not seen favorably either.  But maybe people in love with robots could help control the world’s population problems.  It just reminds me of the Jack in the Box commercial where the guy tells his mom that he’s in love with… not a girl….but bacon and then proceeds to marry the bacon burger and eat it too.

I think on the surface, virtual sex will take people a long, long, long time to accept.  But once people see the underlying reasons for it and how it can also help some situations, like connecting long distance couples, people would be more willing to CONSIDER accepting it.  Someone mentioned it class, that not too long ago, phone sex too would have also been seen as unacceptable too, but now its just a lucrative business and a way for couples to have fun with each other.  In the end, since technology will not stop progressing, it looks like people will have to accept some form of virtual sex as these articles talk about how robots will used in red light districts by 2050.  Some interesting things are brought out in these articles, such as the idea that those robots will decrease the spread of STD’s and sex trafficking.  Another idea was that sex with a robot is not considered cheating, but is this true?  Only time will tell how people will respond to this idea.

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Where’s the limit?

As we work on our final projects to find out what is important to us, a common theme among our group members is discovering that people in this digital age don’t really know where the line between the virtual and the actual exists anymore.  We are so consumed in our technology and our gadgets that our digital identity is hard to separate from our actual identity.  Most people cannot even go an hour let alone a day without their cell phone, ipad or tv, but does that make us weak?

I think in our group, the fact that we do not recognize the line between the virtual and the actual is rather troubling for us as we are teaching our children to grow up mostly, if not solely, surrounded in technology.  Some companies are now gearing their electronic products for babies/ toddlers.  When I saw the add for the vinci, which is being partly marketed as the ipad for your baby, I began to be really worried.  I know that this does not seem to bother some people, but it really does bother me.  In our group, we have discussed how some kids won’t even go out doors to play, but instead will stay inside playing video games or staying on their computer.  Instead of having conversations face to face, some youngsters will text the person next to them, rather then actually talking to each other.  Is our future headed for the same place as the people in Wall E?

In the future, will we all be puggy people, who do not walk around but are driven around in mobile chairs, have a screen in front our faces all day (we already do that never mind), or eat things like pizza that come from a cup?  The people in Wall E are taught the basic minimal communication skills and information, is that where we are going, or are we already there?  One of the basic premises on that movie is how technology distracts people from seeing what’s really going on, but maybe our society is already there?

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Where have all the Snowflakes Gone?

The latest craze, for a while now, has been to a part of some kind of social network, whether it be Friendster, mySpace and now FaceBook.  The amount of participants on facebook is astounding, but few have questioned why such sites are so popular. It was mentioned that Facebook’s popularity has to do with the idea that people think they are these unique snowflakes and individuals with their own thoughts, thereby choosing Facebook as the mode of self-expression.  I find this reasoning very believable, as I’ve heard several people say that this (Facebook) is a place where I can express my identity and be myself.  But it bothers me so much that these people do not see the faultiness in such reasoning.  If everyone is using the same social media site to show off their “individuality” or “self-expression” then doesn’t the fact that everyone else is using the same site/ doing the same thing totally defeat the purpose of anyone doing something unique?  So even in our attempts to be unique, one can see commonplace conformity.

I do admit that I like the idea that facebook can connect you with people you haven’t seen in a while and with the friends you have now.  My sister is always telling me about the people she found on facebook.  BUT if you do not see or interact closely with any of your online “friends” for a long then one might argue that these people are not really a friend, but more of an acquaintance, in which case its not extremely important to see/ interact with these people.  In other words, if someone was really your friend then wouldn’t you make the time to see those people IN REAL LIFE or at the very least talking to them in person over the phone.  I think in such a way, social media is making friendships/ interactions artificial.

Another interesting thing that I have seen people on facebook do is blog about what they did today.  Is this really necessary?  REALLY!  I just don’t see the reasoning why people who are again not necessarily your friends, need to know every aspect of your life.  Has the concept of privacy lost all meaning?  Sometimes the details are so boring too.  I’ve seen people say, so brought my laptop to school today.  So what!  Do people who post these little details about themselves, love themselves that much?  Or is it because of the uniqueness again?  Do those people think that no one else is bringing their laptop to school too? Maybe its just me, but when people feel the need to tell everyone, every little detail of their life, where they’ve been, what they’re doing and who they’re dating, etc, I feel like these people are fulfilling a need to brag/ sell/ show off about themselves. In many ways, people are posting these comments about themselves because they think that their comments/ experiences are unique.  But when a person looks closer at the comments & the pictures one can see similarities, (it’s reasonable to expect that there are bound to be similarities, there are how many thousands of facebook users?).  But when similarities are seen, doesn’t that end notions of individuality?

A few years ago, I heard a relative saying, “What is it about young generations, why are they so self centered and feel the need to tell everyone about themselves on the internet?”  I didn’t consider younger generations as being self-centered, especially since I am part of the younger generations.  But when I thought about it, this comment is very true.  I’ve heard similar comments about the millenial generation, those born between 1980- 2001.  In a book called the Trophy Kids Grow Up, millenials are described as being characterized as the “It’s All About Me” generation.  Through facebook, will young users show that their one contribution to the world is talking about themselves?  I certainly hope not.

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Fix Young America…Why are we broken?

While a noble intention and attempt, there were so many problems with this website.  I like that they tried to get Stephen Colbert involved, but the website was not as functional as it could have been.  And it did not help that students in Hawaii could not get involved because it was during school and too early in the morning.  It’s always been seen to be the responsibility of younger generations to solve the problems of society in creative and ingenious ways.  In many ways, today’s youth is expected to have it all, do it all and be it all.  That’s a lot of pressure for a generation just entering the workforce or college and who are just trying to figure out who they want to be and what they want to do.  But because  society has so many problems with no clear solution in sight, I guess the finger is being pointed at Congress and younger generations for their apathy, indifference and just a general lack of interest/ movement to get involved.

I cannot argue against the fact that it is very difficult to get younger generations involved in anything, as they would rather stand behind their computer screens.  In our class, I think that one of the hardest parts of our final project was just figuring out what issues were most important to us and how we would address it.  BUT I don’t think that apathy and indifference toward social issues is a problem or a characterization for only younger generations as a similar observation could be made of middle aged groups as well.  I think in every generation, there are those who want to be actively involved in the issues and there are those who want to take a back seat position and there are still those who would rather drag their feet at such an idea.

The concept behind Fix Young America implies that the older generations are passing the torch to younger generations, but because the economy is not getting better and social problems are growing, America’s youth has failed and now we have to be fixed.  But I may ask, who is going to fix Young America?  Is Young America supposed to fix themselves or are older generations going to do that?  Furthermore, if young America cannot be fixed, who gets blamed for that and what does that mean for America’s future, are we doomed as young America is supposed to be the leaders for tomorrow?  Isn’t it also fair to acknowledge that young America comes from an older America, so isn’t it equitable to see how a brokenness in young America could have been partly a result or a contribution from a deficit older America, who were responsible for bringing up and raising young America?  I think that in order to solve America’s problems, everyone, old and young, needs to get involved and work collectively towards a common goal and not point the finger at each other because fault could be seen on both sides.

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Digitalizing Time

It seems like every way you look, if not every, then most aspects on one’s life is being digitalized.  Such progression has just become acceptable and the norm.  But a few weeks ago I saw a movie called In Time with Justin Timberlake and I thought that the whole concept was so interesting as it surrounded the idea of what if human lifespans were digitalized.  What if the human clock was not determined in our eating/ exercising habits or our genes, but it was determined in our spending habits and would be enforced through a clock that counts down on everyone’s arm?  The result was that the rich lived for long periods of time.  Time is the currency that people can work for, can spend, gamble away, steal or give to others.

I thought that this movie was also interesting because it is also about capitalism and how the poor continually find themselves running out of time, which means that people die.  The rich keep raising the price for things and decreasing the amount of wages to keep the population under control and to keep the poor in segregated districts.  I think that the similarities in this movie and the recession are pressing.  One of the more important ones is that some people can work hard for a long time and still find themselves at the bottom of the economic ladder and unable to pay for enough food and not get access to health care.  What I found interesting about this movie was in the questions that it got me to ask such as, what if a person’s clock malfunctions, just like people have health problems, what happens to the person?  What happens when the rich get to live forever, as they only have to acquire more time?  Who keeps people honest and things fair in this type of society?

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