Sunday, January 30, 2011

If you can read this, you are a cyborg.

Well, not in the traditional sense, sadly. We are surrounded by a web of technological wonders at all times that connects us while giving us the ability to stand apart from one another.

Amber Case had a thought-provoking TED talk recently concerning 'Cyborg Anthropology', a field of study that concerns the relationships between humans and technology. She touched on really neat concepts and a lot of optimism.

I am by no means a luddite, but my view of the man/machine state of affairs is a little darker. I agree, technology is awesome. Seriously. If I had to give up broadband internet, computers, my phone, or any of the technological advances that have made my life infinitely more convenient or easy for the past ten years, I would lose my mind.

This isn't a good thing.

Technology, since the wheel, and goddamn fire, was to make life more livable, to keep us safe and alive. Now, it's to make simple lives even simpler, and to make us a comfortable as possible.

The upside is that we have unprecedented time freed up by automation, the downside, however, is the human laziness factor. The more connected that we are, the less we connect with one another. We stop talking to one another. We stop having conversations, and we exchange catchphrases and buzzwords, competing for attention and never actually listening. We farm one another for information while texting someone else.

From the outside, it's at the best, annoying, and at worst, dangerous. How many people have died, or killed someone because they were on their phone and not paying attention? We have infinite potential, but instead, we use this wealth of tech to update Facebook about how much we love American Idol. I don't see it improving. We used to think that more technology would make us gods, but it just makes us worse.

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