Monday, February 2, 2009

The Electronic Frontier

One idea I found to be interesting in this reading is that new technologies are creating new types of individuals and are changing the way that humans interact with each other. The relationship between humans and machines are becoming blurred and it is not very clear as to what could happen in the future. While we could work together with machines and increase the use of virtual reality for entertainment or communications purposes, this could create society to become more and more isolated towards the people closest to us. We would be able to talk to those who live far away, but the people in our very own homes would become strangers to us. For example, when I am home with my five other family members I have increasingly noticed that because of technology we are doing our own things in our own rooms. Instead of spending time with each other watching TV or just talking, we are each in our own rooms each on our own computers talking to others or watching a movie or just spending mindless, pointless hours surfing the internet. Even the dinner table is no longer a place where families can simply just talk. McLuhan was right when he said that "the machine is an extension of the body." We have become permanently attached to our cell phones; answering them at even the most inappropriate times.
Mead said that "Without experiencing the physical body a person cannot develop a sense of self." If we sit at our computers or televisions all the time messing around with cyberspace we are missing out on the experiences going on around us in real life and the things that make us real people. Yeah we could experience new things through some kind of intense virtual reality and "life-like" situations, but it simply could never ever be the same as experiencing something in real life. If technology gets so advanced that we are able to walk through the streets of Paris through VR, it could still not even compare to walking off of a plane, out of the airport and smelling the air of another country. Of course I'm thankful for all of the things that technology allows us to do today and am very excited for whatever the future brings, but I can't help but feel a little worried as to what is going to change.

1 comment:

  1. These are issues that have been brought up time and time again regarding these technologies, and are worthy of serious consideration. And I agree that there is something very important about actual physical presence, something that we can't afford to lose.