Is technology making us less human?

Guardian story Social networking under fresh attack as tide of cyber-scepticism sweeps US where a number of academics have done studies which conclude that Twitter and Facebook don’t connect people, but on the contrary they isolate them from reality got me thinking about this and wonder if Technology is making us less human!

MIT professor Sherry Turkle’s new book Alone Together (which seems interesting and is something I have not had the bandwidth to check out), is leading an attack on the information age. It does seem to agree with the recent articles like Is Google making us Stupid? I don’t quite understand Facebook (even though I have been more on it recently); my views on Facebook are quite well known, especially in the context of privacy and security. If I talk to a friend who could be in Delhi or San Francisco, I don’t feel as connected having a dialogue with him or her over Facebook as I do when talking on the phone, IM or even email. Often people thing just because they have posted something on Facebook, that is the end of it – it almost seems at times, I am too lazy and can’t be bothered, so will post a message and get it over with – or as they say in Punjabi – “syapa mukao”. 🙂

In a related note, but a little different context I do think the vast information available to us is making us more stupid and we are forgetting the ability to learn, grasp, understand and appreciate the basics and fundamentals. When something is a quick Bing or Google away it makes us all very complacent. It also means that for us sitting down and reading something which is more than a few paragraphs is getting very difficult. I know I can also see this happening first hand. And I notice it every day at work – especially as the newer and younger generation joins the workforce; things that I would take for granted or appreciate does not seem to be the same. Of course and sites like LMBTFY and LMGTFY don’t help.

I was quite stuck by this paragraph from the article Is Google Making Us Stupid?

The process of adapting to new intellectual technologies is reflected in the changing metaphors we use to explain ourselves to ourselves. When the mechanical clock arrived, people began thinking of their brains as operating “like clockwork.” Today, in the age of software, we have come to think of them as operating “like computers.” But the changes, neuroscience tells us, go much deeper than metaphor. Thanks to our brain’s plasticity, the adaptation occurs also at a biological level.

I think it would be good for me to get a copy of Alone Together and then maybe post something back (feel free to comment below if you have read the book and got any feedback). Of course I do see the irony in the fact a geek like me talking about possibly to using less Technology.

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Amit Bahree

This blog is my personal blog and while it does reflect my experiences in my professional life, this is just my thoughts. Most of the entries are technical though sometimes they can vary from the wacky to even political – however that is quite rare. Quite often, I have been asked what’s up with the “gibberish” and the funny title of the blog? Some people even going the extra step to say that, this is a virus that infected their system (ahem) well. [:D] It actually is quite simple, and if you have still not figured out then check out this link – whats in a name?

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