Monday, April 12, 2010

Tragedy in the Information Age

The advancement of technology has brought amazing convenience in people's lives. I used to dream of talking on the phone and looking at the speaker at the same time through a screen. Well, today I see MP3 players, cells phones with internet services, MSN, etc. These were devices and technology systems that I was only able to dream of during my childhood. Laptops? They were luxuries that only grown-ups-- wealthy grown-ups--can have the privilege of obtaining. Now these dream-devices of my childhood are rather common and essential tools dominating my life. I cannot believe I used to study those long, long hours without my MP3 player or laptop. I do appreciate the popularity and affordability of these amazing devices that govern my life today. However, it is also easy to realize the vices that entails these technological advancements. I blogged about game addiction previously. But for more general negative side effects people suffer, I say lowered concentration range definitely ranks the top five. We are simply overloaded with information today because obtaining information has become easier than ever. Going to the library has become quite unnecessary for many of us, because we can see the PDF files of books and research papers. Claire Evans posted an article about this matter. She mentioned that the plasticity of our brains will sooner or later adapt to the way our computer and technological devices work--fast, multifaceted, ever-changing. One of her concerns that I also agree with is how will this change the way we interact with people?
Now, "like a computer" represents something else entirely: a ceaseless flow of changing, multifaceted, immediately accessible information-particles -- and all the distraction that entails. It's possible that plasticity of our brains allows us to adapt to these factors, but how will that affect the way we think? Or relate to others?

Instead of spending time to talk with a person, we facebook-stalk our interest target. Instead of meeting together face-to-face to talk about a group project, we open a google-chat and maniacally type what we want to talk about without waiting for the other to respond. Meeting with people face-to-face have become time-consuming. Everything is about speed and ease. It is rather sad to realize that too much information, too much comfort, too much speed has brought loss in our ability to wait, ponder and concentrate.

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