Author Topic: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?  (Read 4089 times)

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Offline Kobuk

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Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« on: June 19, 2011, 06:20:01 pm »
Is technology overhyped and overrated?
Are humans obsessed too much with the newest fads and gizmos?
Are we losing our social skills, humanity, etc. by being obsessed with technology?
Are we setting ourselves up to be more of a lazy and complacent species in the future than we are now by letting technology do all the work for us?
Will technology be our downfall?

IMO, technology can be great when used in moderation, or used wisely, and in that it can help to bring the human race closer together (i.e. radio/tv). But are we weened on technology too much? Seems like technology is doing more and more for us nowadays. People can't seem to get enough of all the cool gadgets out there. We just want more, more, more. But never learn to do stuff on our own without the use of technology.

HDTV
CD's
DVD's
Blu-Ray
Cell phones
Smart phones
iPod, iTouch, iPad, etc., etc.
Video game systems
Email
Twitter
Social networking
..........and the list goes on and on.  :P

Back when I was a kid/teen, I never had all this stuff. All of it was mostly still on the drawing board or in the minds of a few imaginative engineers. I still remember how to write a letter on paper, Use a postal address/zip code, send Hallmark greeting cards, Actually shake someone's hand and meet them face to face, etc.
But now? Seems today, I see more and more people losing their "social skills" because they prefer network conferencing, Twittering, Texting, etc. IMO, when you do that, You're not getting to know the real person. Instead, you're just getting to know their image or text on a screen. Where's the fun in that?

I like all the new cool tech stuff out on the market just as much as the next person. But for me, I can't afford it. I still prefer doing some things the old fashioned way. And for those that say I'll be "left in the dust" because I can't keep up with all the new cool tech, then I say "So what? Do I really need to?"
Just because someone else has the iPad 5.7.8.9.xxxxx version, Does that mean I have to go out and buy it too? Hell no.

Sometimes, I sit back and look at the world with all the cool tech and I have to laugh. Because if there ever came a time when something happened when people lost all their fancy tech toys or something happened to the Internet, or who knows what; Then I'll be having the last laugh because I'll still remember how to do things the "old fashioned way" and the younger generations of people will come begging to me for help, advice, and support.  :D

So respect your elders, folks. ;) Because we've been there and done that. We're the ones with the greatest wisdom.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 06:37:20 pm by Kobuk »
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Offline Alsek

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2011, 06:40:21 pm »
Mm

I feel like i spend hours on my computer because i'm anti social... Not the other way around.

That being said,  i still have all those skills you listed...  I just don't get much of a chance to use them.

Offline Avan

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2011, 09:26:39 pm »
I just knew Kobuk posted this thread... XD

I'm with alsek here; I'm not socially pre-disposed. I'm very asocial by default, and would prefer to spend most of my time on a computer. Now I can avoid people physically and still have meaningful interactions!

I'm not really interested in any sort of fad or fashion statement; technology is a means to and end, and its my means to just about every end.

Personally, I think a lot of the stuff (especially apple-fad stuff & a lot of these social networking sites) is really quite silly and unnecessary. I pretty much use only forums (and fairly small ones at that), IRC, and email to communicate electronically. Maybe phone calls, and the occasional text.

But technology itself will be critical to my success.

I think technophobes are wrong to fear the technology. It is the USERS of said technology who should be feared, at least in the event they are IRRESPONSIBLE with said technology. With sadly many people are.
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Offline Ziel

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2011, 10:29:50 pm »
It's not limited to -just- gadgets and internet-based stuff.

I'm dealing with this sort of thing in the automotive industry at work every day. And to be honest, I worry about the future generations of drivers who will only ever know cars with these advanced systems in them.

I work on 'Driver Assistance' systems. Some features you see already include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, backup cameras, park-assist sensors, etc. These are all neat things on their own. However, I also see where things are going to be moving in the next few years, and I'm not sure I'm a fan. I can't say too much, but start looking out for more 'active' systems, as opposed to the mostly-passive systems that exist today.

It's moving to these more 'active' systems that bothers me. Sure, it'll help drivers avoid certain situations. But it will also let drivers get away with more dumb things. I fear that the systems may get so involved that they will begin replacing actual driving skills/ability.  And aside from that, I know that there will also always be bugs in these systems, which could cause major issues if they do fail and the driver isn't prepared for how to handle the situation on his/her own.

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Offline Emerald Blade

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2011, 12:59:43 am »
Anything in a car that gets between me and the road and my engine freaks me out. I don't even like traction control that much, but I understand it's needed in a car with 300+ hp. Power Steering I get, and that one doesn't bother me. My blazer would be impossible without it.

On to the more computery aspect.

As the internet gets faster and more reliable we see things like the Chrome books; laptops that do nothing but connect to the internet via google. This scares me more than the active systems of a car. Additionally we see more half finished products come out with plans to update them later, so people who can't afford a good internet connection get hosed when something like fallout las vegas comes out.

Now most youngsters are going to be growing up with the internet, a place where you can speak your mind anonymously. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because we have people who are more comfortable with themselves because they now know of others with similar interests and such. Bad because they get used to the anonymity and say these things in the real world, and then have to deal with real world consequences. Think about it; that troll you met on the forum the other day thinks he can get away with calling people a (horrible racial slur) and no one can do squat. At which point they find his body in a gutter.

We also have the issue of social skills

I have seen them improve dramatically thanks to online interaction, i have also seen them become far worse, personally. When I was at my first college I spent most of my time online, communicating to people via steam and facebook. This eventually led to an angry out burst at a friends dad over a name, and a good bit of drama all around. As for the improvement I had a friend in high school who was the definition of nerd. He is still a nerd, but he's a nerd with social skills.

Let's see what other problems does tech cause.. Ah! Companies love to push new toys.

Everybody wants to push out 3D which is rubish, you need glasses and stupid amounts of money for any 3d tv, as for the 3ds, it can't be up-scaled and is very limited. But people buy it because the commercials say it the new thing, and the neighbors down the street have it. We had this same problem with video game graphics for a while, and still do although it's slowed down. Everybody wanted to have each blade of grass be realistically rendered with 36x antialaising and blah blah blah. The sad part is that Half Life 2 is about as good as we need. High level of model and texture detail with plenty of graphics options to boost the look. With maxed out settings it looks great and it was released 6 years ago. Where as with the Call of duty series you have programmers just throwing the power of your pc at the graphics in the hopes of making it look better. What they achieve is coming very close to that Uncanny Valley where the graphics look just enough like a picture to make it creepy. Instead we could be using this power for bigger maps and better npcs more fun game mechanics like the portal gun. Additionally it would bring production costs down so you can get a bigger budget for writing, art and overall development.

Smart Phones and Tablets

These go right along with the Chrome books, they get you plugged in to the internet to the point at which if the internet goes you are basically useless. I actually own an IPad and it's very addicting but the second my router died I dropped it for my laptop. And while I don't have a smart phone I can tell you they are no replacement for a laptop and the majority that I've seen try and do everything and wind up doing it all poorly.
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Offline Sk Skunk

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2011, 02:15:32 am »
I'm not sure if it's obsession, but some people are sure slaves to their tech. That's not the way it should be.

If the networks go down, or an EMP event happens, there will be a number of people lost. Imagine the horror, people may have to sit down and talk to each other, IN PERSON. A greater nightmare, actually having to write a message on paper, and mail it to hear what is going on with their friends! :o The real nightmare will be those who die from the direct failure of tech, be it in hospitals, to diabetic instruments some rely on every day.

In some ways, I stay contact with more friends because of technology. I have met, and care about many more people, because of technology. I'll miss it when/if it's gone.

But can live without it.
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Offline Ziel

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2011, 11:00:18 am »
I don't think we're at the point yet that we rely too much on technology. Even if we were to lose the internet and wireless communications, we would be able to deal with it. There are still a lot of things that technology has't replaced for us yet.

It is getting a tad more frightening as we do start creating more and more things. But I think that in general, we aren't going to lose our social skills due to technology. We will always have to deal with people face-to-face.

I would be curious to see if people felt this same way back when the telephone became a standard item in homes. Were people talking about how it was going to ruin social skills of people, because they can talk to their neighbors without having to see them face-to-face?

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Offline Arbutus

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2011, 11:27:13 am »
I would be curious to see if people felt this same way back when the telephone became a standard item in homes. Were people talking about how it was going to ruin social skills of people, because they can talk to their neighbors without having to see them face-to-face?

Why, I'm glad you asked! :D David Malki, who does the webcomic Wondermark, makes a hobby out of finding angry missives from the past in which it is asserted that Basic Technological Advance X will ruin humanity forever. Among the best so far:

An 1889 rant against telephones and electricity
A 15th-century monk railing against the printing press
A Socratic dialogue from 379 BC in which it is posited that the written word will be the end of human memory

Offline Ziel

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2011, 10:11:27 pm »
Interesting reads there ^^
Especially the whole written-word thing.

It seems this is just something we're doomed to wonder about as long as we are still making technological advances. I don't see us reaching a Wall-E kind of world, ever.

I do agree with some of the potential degradation of social skills. But you could also look at is simply as a shift in social skills. With all the social networking on the internet now, handling interactions on the internet itself is becoming (has already become?) a valuable skill.

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Offline McMajik

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2011, 03:48:51 pm »
Is technology overhyped and overrated?


Technology gives us everything we have today, ever will have, and ever have had for many. Writing a letter is all well and good but how was that pen and paper you just used made?

So no, not really


Are humans obsessed too much with the newest fads and gizmos?


If we weren't, who would want to innovate? Demand for progress drives progress, without it we'd stall technologically. AAnd that would mess up the economy (no demand = no need for supply = money stalls, meaning higher taxes on what is moved or goverments collapse or lose power due to lack of funds). Thats a slightly extreme scenario, but you get the idea. You can't stop a plane in mid air just to admire this patch of land for a while.


Are we losing our social skills, humanity, etc. by being obsessed with technology?


I don't think so. People still interact, we're just changing in the way we do. To an extent, social skills are changing accordingly, which is nothing new. Now whether or not that's a good thing is a better question ;D


Are we setting ourselves up to be more of a lazy and complacent species in the future than we are now by letting technology do all the work for us?


Sort of, yes. I think. Natural selection has gone out of the window with humanity, the weak surviving just as well as the strong. (Of course, any attempts to correct this are "unethical").


Will technology be our downfall?


Nope. Not at all! No matter how far we could fall because of it, we're still at a higher place than we would be without it. (Short of global thermonuclear war, that is. But I don't think that's within the scope of this thread.)

Edit: I think Kobuk is a grumpy old man complaining about all the newfangled gizmos all the kids have and how it was better in the oden days. Get back in your box, gramps! <3
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 03:51:30 pm by McMajik »

Offline Kobuk

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2011, 03:55:32 pm »
Quote
Edit: I think Kobuk is a grumpy old man complaining about all the newfangled gizmos all the kids have and how it was better in the oden days. Get back in your box, gramps! <3

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Offline Sky Striker

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2011, 07:34:00 pm »
Well of course we're obsessed with technology, just like a cat is obsessed with hunting! Technology is how we live; there are hardly any professions left that don't involve at least one sort of computer at some point or another. It's simply because computers are an extremely efficient way to sort, organize and synchronize. Factories producing hundreds of products per minute, medical machines interpreting blood samples, even cash registers calculating totals are all examples of how humans have become integrated with technology.

Some people make the argument that "Well if all of a sudden all the computers in the world stopped working we'd have a global crisis on our hands." This is true, but there's one major flaw. That is never going to happen. A virus may be able to shut down a single computer, maybe even a large network of computers, but those are mainly targeted towards personal computers, not the machines that run factories or keep the cash registers running. Even then, someone would have a hard time infecting these because these are almost never connected to any sort of outside internet. Yes, a nuclear war could knock out all computerized devices but I'd think we'd have more pressing matters if something like that happened, say for example, the nuclear radiation turning us inside out.

So in short, yes we are obsessed with technology. Is it a bad thing? No. Yes, social skills in real life will degrade because we'll just have less experience, but at the same time people will start being less idiotic on Facebook or other forums and actually think before they post because it actually matters.
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Offline Avor

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2011, 12:47:28 am »
Technology will be our downfall, but the problem is people who don't see the importance of maintaining a working knowledge of old technology. It's important not only because it would be usefull in the post-apocalyptic world, but that it connects us to many aspects of the past.

To learning about the old ways we can gain a understanding of the previous generations, the people that build and defended our nation. If this knowledge is not in our youth, we're screwed.

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2011, 03:27:08 am »
Is technology overhyped and overrated?
No, not at all. In fact, if you stop and think of all that science and technology has done for us, it's astounding. And when I think about what the future will hold, I can't help but conclude that technology is the sole thing that gives us a future to look forward to.

So respect your elders, folks. ;) Because we've been there and done that. We're the ones with the greatest wisdom.
I'm gonna have to partially disagree with this. While life experience can definitely help to give someone more wisdom, people are extremely resistance to change and thus end up holding on to fault ideals holding back progress of society as a whole. And sadly, it's due to this that sometimes real improvement requires the people with the outdated ways of thinking to die off.

...learning about the old ways we can gain a understanding of the previous generations, the people that build and defended our nation. If this knowledge is not in our youth, we're screwed.
I don't see this as an issue. Our current knowledge is built upon the foundation of our knowledge in the past. Thus I don't see any real danger of us, as a whole, becoming too stupid to survive if we don't have our technology ( which is what it sounds like you are implying.)
« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 03:31:27 am by Vararam »

Offline Avan

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2011, 10:05:09 am »
Simply being older does not necessarily make you wiser than another person who is younger than you: it usually makes you wiser than yourself at a younger age, certain conditions exempted.

Raw biological age is really meaningless in situations that do not involve medicine or biology.

And yes, another real problem is that outmoded ways of thought often get carried along with older generations.
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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2011, 01:16:31 am »
I've thought of a few more comparisons that could help.  A lot of sci-fi writers have imagined an apocalypse because of technology.  For example, Forster's "The Machine Stops" shows a perfect world that ends in mass death because of the failure of technology when humans completely depended on it.  Anything based on nuclear disaster is the result of technology.

Some people fear this technological singularity which could be two things: 1)The point where technology and humanity start to blur, and humans no longer survive without technology, or 2)Where technology becomes more intelligent than humans.  While some feel fear, others would embrace this as a next step in evolution.

Personally, I don't really know what I would like to happen.  I doubt we as a species will want us to lose the ability to live without technology -- it's hard now, but it's possible.
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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2011, 03:04:06 pm »
Don't feel bad Kobuk, once the spinal implant is put in you'll learn to enjoy the tech world. :)    You can also think about this: just as you are reminicing about a world without so much fancy tech, todays generation will grow up to a world that is more advanced and they'll say things like "These kids today don't know how good they got it. In my day we only had touch screens on our i pads and you were lucky if you had 80 gigs of memory on it.
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Offline Ziel

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2011, 04:19:47 pm »
"These kids today don't know how good they got it. In my day we only had touch screens on our i pads and you were lucky if you had 80 gigs of memory on it.

Or even: When I grew up, there were no iPads or smartphones!

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2011, 10:16:26 am »
*Laughs maniacally*  You'll get my smartphone when you pry it from my dead cold hands.

Seriously though, technology is a tool and it can be good and it can be bad.  I love technology and technology is part of my career.  Gadgets are fun to have and play with, and I'm lucky enough to be able to afford some cool gadgets to use.  My smartphone makes things easier and even helps me get more fit.  Yesterday I was meeting some people I know from the Internet to have dinner and socialize (yes in real life) and needed to find an ATM from my bank.  I pulled out the handy smartphone and it showed me where the nearest ATM for my bank was and even provided me a map right to it.  There is no way I would have found that ATM without it, even though it was only 500 yards away.  As for helping me get more fit, I've been using an app on it train to run a 5k race.  I haven't run a race yet, but I regularly now run over 5k at a time on an indoor track (allergies have kept me from exercising outdoors this season). 

Could I live without this technology?  Sure, I'm in my 40s and spent most of my life without it, but I do like the convenience it brings.

As for social skills, my social skills have gone up from the connections I've made on the Internet.  For example, yesterday I went to dinner with people I met from a local skiing forum.  Several of these people I skied with for a weekend last year and I likely will be skiing with them more next season.  I was pretty much a loner for most of my life and now I'm socializing with people and finding that activities that I enjoy like skiing, are more fun when I do them with another person or a group.  So in my case the Internet helped open me up to be more social to others.

I understand technology can be a crutch that keeps people from interacting with others in meaningful ways in the real world.  But, I wonder how many of these people who use technology to avoid interacting with other people would interact with others in a meaningful way if the technology wasn't here?  Certainly, I was able to be a loner before the technology, so it wasn't using technology that made me avoid socializing.

I doubt technology will be the downfall of humanity or social interaction.  Somethings are just better in person and I believe people will realize this and spend time doing things in the real world.


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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2011, 11:22:02 pm »
I bet all those grumpy old people are just all subconsciously jealous that they had to do so many more thins manually. It usually is that way whenever technology advances.
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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2011, 02:25:59 am »
I pretty much knew what this thread would include in the replies, so I just kinda skimed over things and will simply say I enjoy new technology but am not that crazy about social media like Facebook and it's even more useless counter part, Twitter. One thing did catch my eye though:

I don't think we're at the point yet that we rely too much on technology. Even if we were to lose the internet and wireless communications, we would be able to deal with it.
Are you sure? Read about THIS STUDY that asked college students to go just one day without any technology. They could use land line phones and read books, but had to give up cell phones, tv, pda's, ipods, ect. Most all of them showed signs off addiction similar to drug addictions and many of them described the withdrawl symptoms as such in the diaries they had to keep during the day. Most of them couldn't go the entire 24 hours before having to "plug in" again.
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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2011, 02:55:10 am »
I pretty much knew what this thread would include in the replies, so I just kinda skimed over things and will simply say I enjoy new technology but am not that crazy about social media like Facebook and it's even more useless counter part, Twitter. One thing did catch my eye though:

I don't think we're at the point yet that we rely too much on technology. Even if we were to lose the internet and wireless communications, we would be able to deal with it.
Are you sure? Read about THIS STUDY that asked college students to go just one day without any technology. They could use land line phones and read books, but had to give up cell phones, tv, pda's, ipods, ect. Most all of them showed signs off addiction similar to drug addictions and many of them described the withdrawl symptoms as such in the diaries they had to keep during the day. Most of them couldn't go the entire 24 hours before having to "plug in" again.
Yeah, but this thread is about humans and that study is about college students. Two completely different species. :D All jokes aside, this is a serious sampling bias which may be skewing the results somewhat. ;)
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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2011, 02:57:59 am »
I pretty much knew what this thread would include in the replies, so I just kinda skimed over things and will simply say I enjoy new technology but am not that crazy about social media like Facebook and it's even more useless counter part, Twitter. One thing did catch my eye though:

I don't think we're at the point yet that we rely too much on technology. Even if we were to lose the internet and wireless communications, we would be able to deal with it.
Are you sure? Read about THIS STUDY that asked college students to go just one day without any technology. They could use land line phones and read books, but had to give up cell phones, tv, pda's, ipods, ect. Most all of them showed signs off addiction similar to drug addictions and many of them described the withdrawl symptoms as such in the diaries they had to keep during the day. Most of them couldn't go the entire 24 hours before having to "plug in" again.
Yeah, but this thread is about humans and that study is about college students. Two completely different species. :D All jokes aside, this is a serious sampling bias which may be skewing the results somewhat. ;)
Perhaps, but I think it is useful in showing what the coming generations are going to be like. It would make sense that older people aren't going to be as hooked in, and younger people are likely to be just as bad, if not worse when the next wave of tech hits. At least, that's me speaking from my own personal observations.
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Offline Avan

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Re: Technology: Are humans obsessed with it?
« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2011, 09:21:22 am »
But whos to say its even really a problem?
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