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Humans Being, Technology's Impact

Holding place for insights, supporting research and potential executions
by

Drew Wehrle

on 19 February 2013

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Transcript of Humans Being, Technology's Impact

Humans Being Faster & Faster We Go There seemed to be a keen sense of uncertainty when it came to technologies and the change it has on basic human interactions with others and self. Even when we seem certain, we speak in conflicting emotional extremes. Horrible. Lonely. Brilliant. Lifting. This uncertainty seems to create a tension with integration of technology too quickly or too deeply.

We're not exactly sure when it became "okay" to text people instead of calling them - and we're not exactly sure it IS "okay." Now that these behaviors in common usage, are we better, worse, or just different? It seems like an open question at this point - which is interesting considering these are questions about the very ways we communicate and interact with our fellow man. Phones Get Smarter,
We Get Dumber We've become incredibly dependent on technology and our devices. They store phone numbers. They calculate tip. They tell us where and when we need to be places and how to get there. They help us remember that one actor in that one movie that came out a few years ago. So while we have access to more information than ever, we don't remember much of it because we don't have to. We can joke about becoming "dumber", but it is important to remember that knowledge is not intelligence. Technology has not replaced human intelligence, at least not yet! Beep beep boop. 1 There seemed to be a keen sense of uncertainty when it came to technologies and the change it has on basic human interactions with others and self. Even when we seem certain, we speak in conflicting emotional extremes. Horrible. Lonely. Brilliant. Lifting. This uncertainty seems to create a tension with integration of technology too quickly or too deeply.

We're not exactly sure when it became "okay" to text people instead of calling them - and we're not exactly sure it is "okay." Now that these behaviors in common usage, are we better, worse, or just different? It seems like an open question at this point - which is interesting considering these are questions about the very ways we communicate and interact with our fellow man. 3 2 4 6 5 If It Is Not On Social Media,
Did It Really Happen? Technology has made it so easy to document and share our lives. As a result when something isn't on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, it's almost like it didn't happen.

People are getting more of their news, information, inspiration and gossip on social media first. Almost inevitably it heard about first on social media. Best. Plague. Ever.
(Technology is Viral) Although no one overtly stated it, there was a sense of inevitability in all responses. Technology seems to be a plague. Unrelenting, never-ceasing, absorbing everything in its path. Technology is marching forward, almost on it's own. Humans are a sideshow. There's almost a sense of helplessness about what technology will influence next and how deep the digital integrations will go into our lives. Everything's A Celebration
(or a Complaint) Technology and social media have led to over- sharing. People want connect with friends of course, but they also want to be validated with likes and comments. As a result, everything becomes a celebration (watching a TV show, doing laundry, eating breakfast, especially when it's described with a little humor or wittiness) or a complaint (DVR failed to record a show, traffic on the freeway, sold out concert). Sometimes it feels as though social media news feeds have become a stream of mundane accomplishments and first world problems. When Did This Happen
And Is It Good? Technology's Impact Six Insights Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In eu pretium enim. Mauris dictum scelerisque feugiat. Curabitur velit nulla, iaculis sit amet dictum sit amet, elementum at quam. Vivamus id eros ut sem dictum bibendum ac eu diam. Etiam tincidunt, felis non volutpat consequat, arcu quam dapibus lacus, ut bibendum magna diam ut dui. Suspendisse gravida urna in erat vehicula pretium aliquam mi auctor. Nulla in arcu magna, a gravida eros. Donec ut sapien id massa venenatis rhoncus. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum blandit turpis eget enim fringilla in cursus velit fringilla. Fusce sed lorem eu magna rutrum rhoncus. Morbi sed interdum ligula. Duis nisi erat, ullamcorper a interdum sit amet, placerat molestie risus. “What's more human than waffling over whether you can live with or without something?" — male, late 20s This quote seems to sum up the role of technology in our lives. It is a paradoxical relationship. While it is making us faster, more listened to and more informed it; technology is also making us more confused, more detached from each other and frankly a little bit dumber. However, we enjoy, tolerate and crave technology because it is human. It is human by the mere fact we created to help us be more productive, more connected, more informed and more entertained. In the end, we are in control of it. It can help us on our journey to self-actualization or it can rob us of some of our soul. It is all how you perceive it. Table of Contents, Issue 1 Humans Being Like other themed publications, Beings Human would group topics (findings) and use supporting research to create different executions against each. Faster & Faster We Go Phones Get Smarter,
We Get Dumber When Did This Happen
And Is It Good? Everything's A Celebration
(or a Complaint) Best. Plague. Ever.
(Technology is Viral) If It Is Not On Social Media,
Did It Really Happen? Supporting Ideas How often do we talk with colleagues and immediately have to 'look something up' to solve a debate. What did we do without Google at our fingertips? — Diane Danielson, Chief Platform Officer, Sperry Van Ness International Corp
Hurry Sickness, Segen's Medical Dictionary (1950s): A malaise in which a person feels chronically short of time, and so tends to perform every task faster and to get flustered when encountering any kind of delay.
Our culture drives the need for speed... We demand speed from technology, and when it delivers, it alters our perception of fast and slow and what is good or bad about each. It alters our concept of patience, endurance and perseverance. — Dr Gregory Jantz
Gigabit speeds open up entirely new possibilities for the future of the Web: interactive, global online education; doctors' appointments by video with 3D imaging; intantaneous cloud storage and new applications we haven't even thought of.
You can log onto JetBlue Airways' website through your smartphone in an average of 4.237 seconds. Log onto United Airlines, and it'll take you 18.284 seconds to load the page. Researchers at Compuware, a company that monitors website and application performance, say those 14.047 seconds might as well be hours.
The 21-Day Challenge - No Phone in the Company of Others — Naomi Simson
The pace of technology is upending the rules and assumptions for relationships. Relationships that begin online, Jacob finds, move quickly. — 'A Million First Dates,' the Atlantic, Dan Slater
ROI research: 36% percent of those surveyed who send texts expect a response to a text either immediately or within five minutes. Faster & Faster We Go | Supporting Pieces A malaise in which a person feels chronically short of time, and so tends to perform every task faster and to get flustered when encountering any kind of delay. The term hurry sickness was coined back in the 1950s when the cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman were researching personality types. By 1959 they had refined this to the now-classic Type A personality, a key element of which was a "harrying sense of time urgency."
Our expectations about time have become warped. Our culture drives the need for speed, and the need for speed drives our culture. Technology fuels this circular momentum. We demand speed from technology, and when it delivers, it alters our perception of fast and slow and what is good or bad about each. It alters our concept of patience, endurance, and perseverance; it alters our perception of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. The benchmarks have been moved; in fact, the benchmarks themselves are moving at a very fast pace, and our perceptions can barely keep up.Today’s equivalent of the “walking miles in the snow” complaint is now “we used to have to wait on a dial-up modem.” I already talked about how strange it must be to this youngest generation that you had to wait to make a phone call until you found a phone because you didn’t happen to carry one around in your back pocket. You even had to wait to find a phone book just to know where to go. You had to wait to get to a place where the information waited because you didn’t carry around a device that brought information to you. The startling, disturbing constant in all those scenarios is “you had to wait.” You had to take time. It was slow. The perceived hardship is not getting what you wanted as fast as you can get it now. How did we ever survive? Faster & Faster We Go | Execution • Can we do an infographic that dives into the speed of conversation, illustrating how long it’s taken over the years to connect?

• Can we profile a family — or other relationship — that’s dependent on technology? Business travelers connected to their family via Skype? What this means for maintaining relationships?

• Can we examine the downsides of this? Interview about the expectations people feel in this ‘always-on’ environment? The pressures and obligations to be available that technology has enabled?

• Can we look at some of the future-facing technologies we expect in the next few years and, taking into account some of the responses, project a hypothetical sci-fi scenario on what they might mean for relationships?

• Is this where we bring in the client/brand implications? Examine how the proximity collapse has led to a need for brands to respond immediately and meet these expectations? Is there an expert in the building we can talk to about what this means for our clients?

• Similarly, can we take how we’re using qualitative insights like the need for speed and using them for clients w/regard to building experiences that deliver that speed? Is there someone in Leo Burnett Interactive who can speak to how we build accordingly? Supporting Ideas Boyce said a growing number of people are suffering from what he described as “constant partial attention,” where people are unable to focus because their minds are overwhelmed with too many other things. — new Mindful magazine
While technology has allowed us some means of social connection that would have never been possible before, and has allowed us to maintain long-distance friendships that would have otherwise probably fallen by the wayside, the fact remains that it is causing us to spread ourselves too thin, as well as slowly ruining the quality of social interaction that we all need as human beings. — Technology is Destroying the Quality of Human Interaction, Melissa Nilles
Now, in the Age of the Internet, computer word processing, social networking, and the text message, the spoken word is in decline and at risk of disappearing if we do not react to this evolution, which is quite rapidly disconnecting us from each other as well as from ourselves and the rich inner resources that we all possess. — Effects of Technology on People: Living F2F Conversation and Social Interaction, Jane R. Thiebaud
Technology promises to let us do anything from anywhere with anyone. But it also drains us as we try to do everything everywhere. We begin to feel overwhelmed and depleted by the lives technology makes possible. We may be free to work from anywhere, but we are also prone to being lonely everywhere. In a surprising twist, relentless connection leads to a new solitude. We turn to new technology to fill the void,but as technology ramps up, our emotional lives ramp down. — Sherry Turkle, author 'Alone Together,' TED Talk Supporting Ideas The results of four studies suggest that when faced with difficult questions, people are primed to think about computers and that when people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it. — Google Effect on Memory, Science Magazine
'So is technology making our brains lazy? No, I would suggest that it is making us more efficient. Instead of having to fill up our mental 'space' with lots of information, this space is now freed up to focuse on other things.' — Is Technology Making our Brains Lazy?, Tracy Packiam, Director of the center for Memory & Learning in the Lifespan
The pioneering neuroscientist Michael Merzenich believes our brains are being 'massively remodeled' by our ever-intensifying use of the web and related media ... in a conversation late last year, he said that he was profoundly worried about the cognitive consequences of the constant distractions and interruptions the internet bombards us with. — Nicholas Carr, How the Internet is Making Us Stupid
Our growing use of screen-based media has strengthened visual-spacial intelligence which can strengthen the ability to do jobs that involve keeping track of lots of rapidly changing signals, like piloting a plane or monitoring a patient during surgery. but that has been accompanied by 'new weaknesses in higher-order cognitive processes,' including 'abstract vocabulary, mindfulness, reflection, inductive problem solving, critical thinking and imagination.' — Patricia Greenfield, developmental psychologist
What's disurbing is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of thought. Once a means to an end, a way to identify information for further study, it's becoming an end in itself — our preferred mehtod of both learning and analysis. Dazzled by the net's treasures, we have been blind to the damage we may be doing to our intellectual lives and even our culture Supporting Ideas ROI Research examining reasons why people hide or un-friend on Facebook... most common are 'I don't want to know every detail about them' and 'They post too often in general'
Mashable 'Annoying Facebook Posts' lead with 'too much information' Supporting Ideas Plato objected to the pencil. He said the written word would lead us to losing our memories. Unlike conversation, written words were not interactive; words were mere shadows of things. ... The printing press was originally faulted for disrupting the natural, almost spiritual connection between the writer and the page. ... The typewriter – now held up as emblematic of the artistry of writing – was seen as a dangerous machine that would destroy the writer’s relationship to the words. (etc.) — Dennis Brown, 'A Better Pencil'
The older generation warns against a new technology and bemoans that society is abandoning the 'wholesome' media it grew up with, seemingly unaware that this same technology was considered to be harmful when first introduced. — Vaughan Bell, clinical psychologist/neuropsychologist
We tie ourselves in intellectual knots arguing why books are superior to e-books and why LPs are better than MP3s, but beneath the verbiage lies an uncomfortable truth: We are just grumpy old folk complaining that they don't make them like they used to ... While the future of technology is wide open, one thing is sure: In 50 years, our children will write their own elegies as they are confronted with the specter of technological innovation — Luke Allnutt, San Francisco Chronicle
As group size grows, a dizzying amount of data must be processed. A group of five has a total of 10 bilateral relationships between its members ... Such a social life requires a big neocortex, the layers of neurons on the surface of the brain, where conscious thought takes place. In his 1992 paper, (Robin) Dunbar plotted the size of the neocortex of each type of primate against the size of the group it lived in: The bigger the neocortex, the larger the group a primate could handle. At the same time, even the smartest primate—us—doesn’t have the processing power to live in an infinitely large group. To come up with a predicted human group size, Dunbar plugged our neocortex ratio into his graph and got 147.8. Supporting Ideas One in three people felt worse after visiting Facebook and more dissatisfied with their lives, while people who browsed without contributing were affected the most. ... We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry," (Hanna Krasnova)
These feelings of envy were found to prompt some users to boast more about their achievements on Facebook. Envy can frequently lead to users embellishing their Facebook profiles, which, in turn, provokes envy among other users, a phenomenon that the researchers have termed “envy spiral.”
“There's an unnerving stigma in cyberspace that says if I don't express that I have a certain taste or interest, or wear a certain outfit, do I even like it at all? Why is it that the Internet is the end all, be all for validation? ... It's more about the fact that since I've joined the Internet, I feel really protective over which tastes I share -- which is sad, because really, the Internet is supposed to be a place of democracy. And sure, it may sound shallow, but I am always secretly afraid that if I don't write online that I like a certain start-up company, or television show, or person, before anyone else, then I never really did.” — Emma Orlow, HuffPost Teen
New Era of the Digital Revolution // Pew Research // The Role of Mobile Devices and Social Media in News Consumption: http://roymorejon.com/wpcontent/uploads/2012/03/digital-revolution-social-media.png Phones Get Smarter... | Execution • Can we people to go without data for a week and keep a written (or video-recorded) diary? Compile the most interesting behavior changes into a collection exploring how they cope without access to information?

• Can we send someone on a ‘mission’ within the city — without a phone — to see how they cope? Follow via camera/s?

• Can we do a video interview, written Q&A or Google Hangout with Michael Merzenich or Nicholas Carr on what we’re seeing with regards to behaviors technology is causing/changing?

• Can we do man-the-street collection asking what people what they’d least be willing to give up and why?

• Can we sit and go through a chat history with someone and see how they recall information they’ve searched for?

• Infographic or illustration of common text shortcodes and misspellings. When Did This Happen? | Execution • ‘Style guide’ or glossary/index of new behaviors… names and what they mean. [Print or design-driven piece.]

• Q&A, either written interview, video interview (Skype conversation) or a Google Hangout conversation with Sherry Turkle (MIT) on what she’s learned from her 15 years of research about the way technology has shaped relationships.

• Man-on-the-street short documentary in which we interview people about specific behaviors and how acceptable they are. For instance, how long is too long to reschedule a set appointment time via text?

• Can we capture two representative people — one on each end of the extreme — in conversation about the better/worse, the wonderful/horrible, lonely/connected, etc.? Captured on film or via a conversation email thread?

• Can we find two examples of families with different approaches and explore how they differ? For instance, we’d follow a hyper-connected family and contrast with a family closer to living off-the-grid.

• Can we talk with — via Skype — or host a Hangout with the Yaniv Shulman, director of ‘Catfish,’ about ways in which the internet is shaping young relationships? Everything's A Celebration... | Execution • Can we do some sort of man-on-the-street and ask how people filter on social media? How they deal with the onslaught of everything and anything showing up in their feeds?

• Can we source a collection of the most extremes posted/shared on Facebook? Or place examples into some sort of pyramid of gravity illustration?

• Can we look at how people shared before social media empowered them? Can we see how this behavior has changed vis a vis old methods of sharing news? Or how they connect with tried-and-true impulses (i.e. venting stress, bragging, expressing joy?) Best. Plague. Ever. | Execution • Explore the ‘inevitability’ through the ages… perhaps a design-driven piece with quotes expressing fear of new technologies. Showing how the typewriter, the telephone, etc., were considered threatening?

• Is there an interesting profile we can do of someone who’s effectively ‘switched off’? What about profiling those people who are making small, incremental changes to the way they’re managing technology one step at a time?

• Can we offer expertise — chat with an expert on how to manage this feeling of lack of control over technology? How does one unplug?

• Can we do a Spotify playlist (curated by Gabe, perhaps) on classic songs speaking to anxiety about technology?
If it isn't on social media... | Execution • Can we have this HuffPo blogger interviewed about how she curates her ‘tastes’ to public perception? Can we explore — via written/video piece — how people are sharing based around what’s cool or how they want to be perceived?

• How can we explore the feelings of depression/envy that Facebook seems to invoke?

• Is there a way to break down and illustrate different behaviors seen? (i.e. sharing extravagant meals, the ‘i-was-there’ aspect, the logging of places/experiences for one’s own personal memory?)

• Can we look into Clive Thompson’s ‘ambient awareness’ idea? Maybe through a written Q&A?

• Can we ask about the reverse? Example, showcase examples of how trust in social media can easily lead into hoaxes? Insight Support Execution Testing this with different typefaces.

Going to see if we can’t make more room for text.

And use Futura.

We shall see.
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