Monday, January 30, 2012

will a new, more human like technology, take control of our lives?

Dear Sherry Turkle, 

Alone Together” was facinating and scary. You mention that "we are changed as technology offers us substitutes for connecting with each other .... We are offered...a world of machine-mediated relationships on networked devices." I have gone from not wanting a facebook to checking it every day various times a day, this is greatly due to the fact that I now own an Iphone. 

On Facebook, I find it much easier to make light conversation with people I know but would not constantly want to see . As you say," things that happen in 'real time' take too much time", it's not only impossible to keep up with my 400 so called facebook friends nor do I want to put in the effort. 

As a facebook user, I do agree that users take the time to create personae. I dislike the idea of creating an avatar and living a second life through it, but I never realized that I was doing it on facebook. Like you say we ¨give our selves new bodies, homes, jobs....¨I take the time to look for flattering profile pictures and carefully edit my about me. It makes it easy to make yourself look better online because, according to Nancy Bayam, of the lack of social cues that we experience face-to-face.

I believe that if we are able to freely create version of our selves, then we, not media and technology, are to blame for our problems: online affairs, shorter attentions span, etc. I believe that Social Construction of technology is more along the lines of what we do. People have the power, “human beings, not machines are the agents of change...” We can choose to live these technology and media filled lives or opt out.

This brings me to the point that I found scary, robots. Although I cannot imagine a life without technology so much so that I have become accustomed to, as Baym says, “engaging primarily with non-present partners despite the presence of flesh and blood people in our physical location,” I find it scary that a life where robots become our companions and the caretakers or our children and our parents horrible.

People who want this are living a life of technological determinism where they, as Baym says, “ are confused about what is virtual- that which seems real but is ultimately a mere simulation- and what is real.” They are allowing machines to change them and their worlds completely and so will loose control of their lives to these robots.

As much as I depend technology, I feel that I still hold a balance, social shaping of technology. I strongly believe that the presence of a human being could never be replaced by a machine that does not understand but only imitate emotions. People still make an important part of my life and are irreplaceable, machines are only to aide us, not replace people.

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