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Slaves to Technology

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Jeremiah Young

on 22 March 2013

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Transcript of Slaves to Technology

Is society being manipulated by technology? As you sit there in front of the screen, are you using the computer or is it using you? Is technology changing us? As an aspiring UCSD student, these are some of the many questions that have plagued me this quarter. Well, what exactly is technology? technology noun (plural technologies)
[mass noun]

the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry: advances in computer technology http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/technology So what aspects of technology are controlling us? Awareness Attention According to Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, authors of Immediate Giving users an immersive or transparent feeling Immediate aspects of technology have given us virtual realities that have altered our perception of what’s real and have affected our social and cultural behavior. However, technology is not only changing what we see and that of which we are aware, but also changing how we think and act. According to Katherine Hayles, author of “Hyper and Deep Attention: The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes,” the world is undergoing a change in cognitive thinking, which is affecting the behavior of the younger generation in particular. Hyper Attention The inability to focus and tolerate boredom in addition to wanting high levels of stimulation Technology is drawing youth towards It is changing the way they operate in school and their daily lives by splitting their attention across multiple streams of information. Attention Television Computers Musical Media This shift towards hyper attention, in addition to technology’s immediate aspects, indicates its control over us by altering our perspective on the world, as well as changing how we think and act. Technology is changing our relationship with it, from “users of technology” to “those used by technology”. Remediation: Understanding New Media , technology can be described as Technology has become so advanced that it can modify our perception of reality, controlling the way we think and what we consider as real. Technology can immerse us in a virtual reality, which Bolter and Grusin suggest is a “medium whose purpose is to disappear” and mimic our daily visual experience (21). Once immersed in a virtual reality, our perception of the world can become distorted, which, in turn, is reflected in our beliefs. For example, the video game industry has become very successful over the past decade due to its ability to provide users with other-worldly and out-of-body experiences through their use of virtual realities. Technological advancement has allowed this industry to continue to thrive because of how life-like the graphics have become. Users can become immersed into these games to the point where they forget that they’re even playing the game. This may have been the case for Devin Moore in 2005 when he was convicted of killing three people. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-678261.html Moore supposedly was a frequent player of the video game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and acted as if he was in the virtual reality of Grand Theft Auto by killing two police officers and another man. After his capture, Moore was reported to have said, "Life is like a video game. Everybody's got to die sometime." Although Moore’s case is extreme, technology can alter our view of the world through its immersive aspects. It has the ability to manipulate what we see as real and virtual because we have given technology this power. Our desire for technological development and increased dependency on electronic media intensifies technology’s hold on us. Another example of technology’s influence on how we think is through digital graphics and photography and the perspective that they present. Bolter and Grusin suggest that computer-generated images are “mathematically perfect” (26). However, these “perfect images” affect what we individually and socially think is ideal. For example, Photoshop and other methods of photo editing have brought up serious social issues. This form of immersive technology has manipulated people to believe looking a certain way or having certain body features makes one look more attractive. This can lead people into believing something is real when it is really computer-generated and may result in a change in thinking and behavior. Both males and females may feel inadequate when looking at super models on the covers of magazines and go to extremes to mimic what they see. This is yet another way technology can change our outlook on what’s real and control us. Technology is also affecting our behavior through its increasing role in our daily lives because it heavily contributes to its control of our attention. Hayles has noted that the younger generation is shifting towards hyper attention, or what she defines as “switching focus rapidly among different tasks, preferring multiple information streams, seeking a high level of stimulation, and having a low tolerance for boredom” (187). As a result of this attention deficit, youth have allocated most of their free time to tasks pertaining to electronic media instead of reading books. In the Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18-Year-Olds survey of about 2,000 young people, the average leisure time spent per day watching TV and DVD movies accounted for 3.51 hours, musical media accounted for 1.44 hours, and Web surfing accounted for 1.02 hours while reading accounted for the least amount of time with 0.43 hours (Hayles, 189). The stimulation from the multitudes of available electronic media in our daily lives greatly outweighs that of reading and older technologies. Technology has the ability to constantly provide new material to keep users content, such as new television shows or frequently updated internet websites. It is no surprise then that youth choose to spend most of their time flipping through television channels over flipping through pages of a book. This common pattern of behavior among a fairly large number of young people hints at technology’s power over the next generation to control their wants and sequentially their actions. Technologies were also created with a purpose to increase efficiency, which in turn taught users to behave the same way. Although we may think that we are taking advantage of technology by being able to multitask by using five different apps at the same time on our smartphones, in actuality we have learned such hyper attentive skills from the technology that we use. Because we use technology every day, these skills have essentially become a part our normal behavior. Ultimately, technology has the power to control us because of developed desire by youth and users of modern technology for stimulation. Although controversial, there may be a correlation between increased aggression and violent video games. Technology, through its ability to mimic reality and constantly stimulate us, has been able to control how we think, feel, and behave. Whether it is the feeling of inadequacy, the beginnings of violent behavior, or the inability to focus, technology works us over in multiple aspects of our lives. Technology was created with the intention that the user would be the master in control; however this relationship has changed and now we are slaves to technology. We have let technology take over almost every aspect of our lives yet we continue to be dependent on it. Through the use of Prezi, I aimed to create a piece that portrayed society’s hyper attentive way of thinking. I wanted to showcase a hyper attentive person’s scattered thought process and inability to focus through Prezi’s zoom effects to focus in and out of frames but also incorporate bigger ideas (literally and figuratively). The addition of images and videos was to compliment the text while displaying the multiple streams of information a person with a desire for stimulation might have. Also, Prezi’s autoplay feature is a great addition to my project because it allows the medium to be immediate and immersive as the user does not have to click any buttons to view the presentation (however the autoplay feature limits the YouTube videos to 20 sec because that’s the max time for autoplay, which is a design flaw on Prezi’s part). I was hoping to add background music to the entire presentation; however Prezi has not developed that for their presentations yet so I was quite disappointed to figure that out. Slaves to Technology By: Jeremiah Young
PID A10773107 CAT 2 – Prof. Pressman
Section A04 – Allison
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