Posted by: Corina Paraschiv | March 30, 2009

How telecommunications change social interactions

I understand when people say technology has many perverse effects.  For one thing, they detract to moods — how many doctors, authors and therapists have warned the population again and again that watching Internet or television was a hobby that would make you feel down, not energized?  Another aspect of technology is it changed the conceptions of space — the public space used to be the place where we came together and gathered, exchanged information and reflected.  As Choamsky explains in Manufacturing conscent, this use of technology isolates us and makes us more and more impotent in front of reality.  Picture how, at the begining, people came together in the Plaza to hear the news.  As soon it was disseminated, people used to turn to their neighbors and discuss that news.  Nowdays, facing our little screen, we feel smaller and more powerless than ever while the television and internet bring us in front of more and more problems affecting the entire planet.  Technology can make us victims – they rob us of our freedom, by having us be tracked, easily, and accessible.  We no longer have the  privacy we had, as everyone expects us to be reachable.  A last point, too, that I have become aware of just today was how technology may also contirbute to this society’s sense of impatience.  We want everything fast, now.  A society of immediate gratification.

But if it is all this bad, why are we still all using it, right?  Well for one thing, the guy who wrote The World is Flat brings up the idea of the media being democracy : making information which was accessible only to a select few available to anyone who has access to a computer and who can read is democratizing the world slowly (starting in industrialized countries).  In fact researchers found that today, one week of national post (newspaper) contains more than the information a person would have bneen exposed to in a lifetime back in the 16th century.  Furthermore, technology makes us able to achieve more and saves us time.  I still believe dissimulation of information is the most important thing it has brought us, together with the ability to get in touch with people daily.

 

Perhaps the skill of the future will be learning how to master technology and not letting it master us.

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