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I find the rash of stories raising alarms we're headed to ruin in conversation, privacy, loneliness, intelligence are essentially condescending regarding our judgment in the face of change and new opportunities. Won't we ever learn that we see these cries in any period of change? Won't we ever give sufficient respect to our fellow humans to think they can adapt? Note, too, the danger of decrying technology and the disruption it brings: That opens the door to those who would try to control that technology and forestall the change and opportunity it brings.
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TRENT PALMER's profile photoJen Wickham's profile photoFlorian Behr's profile photoBob Kosovsky's profile photo
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Well put. I imagine that the same types of critiques were said about the telephone and even the telegraph.
 
It doesn't matter what the field is: technology, globalisation, politics, change always leads to scaremongering and conservatism. It's understandable. Fear of loss is hardwired in us and it can be a powerful motivator... but at the same time, so are curiosity and hope. Ultimately, whatever any of us do there will always be naysayers and people who'd rather see us fail than succeed - usually the people with the most to lose.

But those that really care step up and try to make sure that any change is steered in the right direction. People respond to fear but they also respond to a hopeful future. We just need to make sure we keep spreading our optimism.
 
The key is balance but balance doesn't sell in the media world and balance isn't simple to understand in a world of black and white thinking.
 
Those who don't fear change but run to embrace it are usually those who history remembers.. I'm not worried about it, less competition for those of us trying to figure things out.
 
In Germany we call this "Den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht sehen" ("Not seeing the forest because of all the trees"). It's just very hard to see change when you're part of it. Accepting it is even harder.
Most of the "normal" people my age don't even seem to be aware that there's change happening.
 
I think we're stuck in a constant state of alarm now with the amount of media we have coming on way on a minute-by-minute basis. I notice that my friends and family who aren't as plugged-in as some of us have moved to the point of ignoring all of it of it out of confusion, fear, and sometimes willful ignorance. There seems to be a growing gap between those who embrace change and those who are "change-averse" as my wife likes to call herself. :) The change-happy folks are moving faster and faster as the tech nudges us all along, and the rest are going to stagnate.

Overall I see paranoia growing, religious belief spreading (correlation? I don't know...), and a distrust of science and education increasing. It doesn't make me feel all that hopeful unfortunately.
 
I agree, although there are some diabolical applications of technology, and some technologies seem more negative or potentially dangerous than others (GMO, nuclear plants, weapons tech, surveillance, etc.)
 
Yeah... Of the many, many things that worry me in the world today, technology is not one of them.
 
On surveillance: we the people are far more equipped to survey those who survey us thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, etc.
 
+Thom Stricklin I get it - but its the technology today at the forefront of every single innovation that will benefit the human kind in the future. If you allow the governments to stop that flow of information for their own benefits, you will see the effects of it in future.
 
To bring this back to Gutenberg, +Jeff Jarvis. Do we know what kinds of critics there were and what timescale was involved in this change?
Was printing also blamed for the things mentioned by you above? (I imagine a situation like today would have been hard without mass media)
 
I agree totally Jeff, there seems to be a lot of pessimism and anti-human sentiment out there of late. Those of us who see a positive future need to try and get the message across as best we can.
 
I agree 100% that technology is not going to bring us down. But technology and the way we use it is not going to save us either. The most serious problem problem we have in the US is the crippling economic inequality -- not just haves and have nots but major, crushing inequality on the middle class as we try to just find half decent jobs and decent places to live -- and maybe squeeze in some fun along the way. For people like you +Jeff Jarvis, you are in good financial shape (and enjoying your renown too, which I don't blame you for at all). You have your success to live off of in spite of recent social and economic problems because you grew up during a particularly prosperous time. These things make it easy for you to remain detached from real human problems to speculate about how sometime, eventually, some of the technologies we have can contribute to advancing us towards solutions to some of our social problems.

Indeed, It's misguided for anyone to turn around and say that technology is disrupting our world in ways that wholly hurt us and you are right to correct people who say this. But you seem to have a particular optimism about you that technology and how we use it is some kind of salvation for us -- it is this that strikes as b.s. to me and this is the real reason why, I think, you are often getting people recoiling at a lot of your musings. They aren't mad at technology really -- they don't know what they're mad at but they direct frustration at people who suggest that technology is doing great things for society. Technology is not ruining us, but it's not the wonderful savior of humanity that some of what you write seems to suggest.
 
It suggests that change and adaptation is much more more difficult for some people/corporations/institutions. I sometimes see these cries as personal alarms: the authors recognize the change is/has taken place but have not yet figured out a way to cope or adapt.
 
Well said +Jeff Jarvis often the nay sayers do not take into account evolution and the ways in which a new generation adapts to the technology environment in which they are brought up.

I remember some research carried out by Prof Stephen Heppell who demonstrated the ability of young people to concentrate on 4 different TV/computer screens at the same time. It really made you think about telling your daughter to do her homework away from the TV!
 
What separates us from all the other animals is technology (also knowledge and learning which is the basis for technology advancements). Really, but for humans inventing things like the wheel, like how to make fire, like how to make irrigation, like how to make engines, like how to harness and use electricity, etc., we would be just like all the other creatures on the planent, doing the exact same thing in about the same way for eons. But think about this: The planet is 5 billion years old, and modern man is just a few thousand years in the making. That means modern man has been around for .0000004 of the life of the planet. And in our small snapshot of existence, we have progressed from living in caves and scavenging for plants and fruit to going to the moon, communicating by all sorts of internet means, and other cool things. 100 years ago there was no radio or tv. All of that has come in 100 years. So we are on a wild ride and I agree with Jeff that too many people are freaked out about technology and the future. But if one thing is clear, technology and progress is what is the meaning of being a human, rather than a bear, or an owl or any other animal. I am constantly amazed by new technology, and particularly how if you think of something, it will ultimately be realized.
 
The highest use of technology is to unlock the resolutely generalized computational power of the underlying hardware and use it to disrupt and disintermediate the forces that are simultaneously trying to use that same technology to exploit us and program us with their encryption and spyware.

So yes: moral panic vs change and disruption.
 
"resolutely generalized . . ." what are you smoking?
 
Embracing technology with no critique is how we got nuclear weapons and global warming and toxins in our food and Monsanto and etc. etc.
 
So far no, we won't learn. We continue to go kicking and screaming into the future. 
 
I hait to say it but it is hard to expect people to adapt to change when a large percentage of the earths population believes evaluation is not real. Ok i will say it if you believe that words in books written 2000 years ago are immutable facts. expecting them to believe that the way society worked only 20 years ago have changed, is asking to much.
 
+Robert Paxton You mean "theory of evolution" not "evaluation", right?

And do you believe every word in a science textbook? Do you know why they are revised periodically? Do you know that scientists quarrel amongst themselves on many issues and ideas?
 
Wise words +Jeff Jarvis! I hope we do learn and very quickly at that. It's unfortunate how many people let fear of change dictate their actions, especially in the face of the overwhelmingly positive opportunities many new technologies provide.
 
So true! "We are today as far into the electric age as the Elizabethans had advanced into the typographical and mechanical age. And we are experiencing the same confusions and indecisions which they had felt when living simultaneously in two contrasted forms of society and experience." -Marshall McLuhan
James Gleick's newest book, The Information says this has been going on for all of history; even the Greeks thought the written word meant the end of memory.
 
Resistance to nuclear weapons, GMO, cell phone radiation, TSA scanners, and other technology is not "fear of change".
 
+Steven Streight all of the technologies you mentioned, nuclear energy, genetic modification, mobile communications, etc., are not inherently bad. In fact no technology is inherently good or bad. Now what people could do with that technology is a completely different matter. All of these technologies have applications that society would deem very good and others that would be considered bad. Just because I can do something bad with some object or idea doesn't mean it should be outlawed. Some people can do some pretty vicious things with a hammer, but I still want hammers around. I agree nuclear weapons are dangerous but nuclear energy is a very viable source of energy. TSA scanners are a major invasion on civil liberties. The problem is not the technology but how people are using it. Cell phone radiation and GMO's . . . well peer reviewed research is at worst inconclusive about any dangers and at best state there is no danger at all.
 
"Peer reviewed" is one of the most absurd concepts ever devised allegedly to keep all in fair check. All it guarantees is that the most aggressive, common-interest bound minority at the top will occupy that rarefied top tier of decision-makers most eligible to see to it that theirs is the place of the exclusive funding. In truth, a "good ol' boys' club" but much, much better -- for them.
 
+Sam Sager Torture chamber technology is inherently bad. Nuclear weapons are inherently bad. Many forms of technology are devised by diabolical jerks and intended for nefarious purposes. Neutral technology can be diverted to totalitarian and misanthropic aims, which requires resistance and dissent.
 
I agree with both +Sam Sager & +Steven Streight. How can that be? The world is not black & white. I find studies that are conducted are usually paid for by the company who is trying to sell me something. That, I find highly suspect. I also agree that those with suspect motives (the military, government, corporations, etc.) are usually the ones paying for a lot of the research that has gone into the things that we take for granted every day (the Internet says high). So technological advance is not what people are afraid of, people are afraid of other people & how they will use said technology. Because if one thing has been an unfortunate reality through out human history, it is that people like to harm other people and are very quick to adopt new ways of doing so.

To make myself (and perhaps others) concerns more clear, technology is not bad, but many that use are. "Power tends to corrupt, absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely."

One the topic of the Internet being able to stay out of the hands of the government, perhaps a little historical perspective. When the radio was invented, it was believed it would give a voice to the people, then the F.C.C. stepped in & took away your first amendment right to freedom of speech. When T.V. came on the seen, the same occurred once again. Why does anyone think it will be different with Internet?
 
As predicted, robots and automation are greatly reducing the jobs available for humans. We are outmoded and being deleted.
 
I find myself in a somewhat paradoxical position. I am by nature a skeptical person. I question everything and take almost nothing for granted. On the other hand I am excited and hopeful about the future and its new technologies. I don't feel these positions are mutually exclusive.
When I hear a new technological claim, breakthrough, etc. I always question methodology, source of funding, and conflicts of interest that can lead to bias. I also tend to question the motives of those who have a vested interest in using tech to suppress the rights and lives of others.
But I am also very excited about the potential that tech has to excel society to greater heights, and love when it does happen. (I can't wait for my self-driving car.)
Unfortunately there will always be people who use technology for nefarious or selfish purposes, but I do not believe we should stop the innovating because of this.
 
I completely agree. If only I could have put it that well! Thank you +Sam Sager
 
The Technological Imperative: humans must submit to new technology and not evaluate its moral implications. Technocrats are the new priests and their faith must not be questioned.
 
No matter what time you live in you will always hear the universal complaint that, "Never have we lived in such bizarre, intemperate, inhumane era!" but a historical timeline does show that certain times are more clement and forgiving than others.
Alexandrian Greece or the Dark Ages? The Ottoman Empire or Medieval Europe? In fact, it's not as clear cut as we might believe from a contemporary standpoint. The modern "age of technology" will give rise to those who adapt to its changes and find no fault with them while those on the cusp will be terrified of the theoretical possibilities.
Well, hasn't change accelerated over a short period of time?
An unimpressive motor-powered flight of a machine too heavy to fly by air currents did so in 1903 when the Wright Bros. thought to create air currents by on board machines creating air currents. 66 years later on July 20,1969 a manned vehicle -- Apollo 11 -- landed safely on the Moon. Not much time between those events, easily within a lifetime for one to have seen both but only the second was possible to be seen everywhere on earth via "television waves".
But to what ill-use could this "audio/video" be put to? More than I can list here!
The "techno-maniacs" are carrying this and other, far more highly refined technologies further and all we can hope for is the unlikely event that cooler heads will prevail, not the power-mad.
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