TED Conversations

Stefan H. Farr


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Debate: Our culture isn't adapting to our rapidly progressing technology.

There is a lot of talk about the current economic crises. Projections, promises or just plain old confusion, everybody seems to have an opinion on when and how it will get resolved or on the contrary how it will not resolve, but rather bring about the end of us.

Personally, I believe that it "can" resolve, but not by traditional economic measures, because the cause of it is not purely economic in nature. I believe, that this crises stems from a profound conflict brought about by the increasing incompatibility of our cultural, social and economic values with the ever more advanced technological progress that we are accumulating. Our inability to culturally adapt to this rapid technological progress is like a dead weight that impedes our metamorphosis as a species altogether.

Consequently, I believe that the next giant leap in our evolution must be a cultural / spiritual / intellectual / social one and not a technological one. Technologically we are way beyond what we can culturally accommodate and so any more progress in this domain will only deepen the conflict rather than resolve it.

Thank you!


Closing Statement from Stefan H. Farr

It's been a pleasure reading your comments. Thank you very much everybody for the excellent insight.

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  • Oct 15 2012: Indeed, the TED community would seem to be a progressive one, however, technology, as a progressive tool for our future betterment, Hmmmm, really ???

    Those currently making money from it, i'd suggest, are those who are still advocating it's use in our progression, but, anything reflecting on technology & it's impact, be it factual, or, an artistic representation, seems to indicate a less than positive outcome.

    Technology is moving much faster than culture because in a great many ways, what it has done, has stunted cultural development. Cultural development surely resides in the physical interaction of people, be they of the same or different backgrounds, now assess how we travel, ipods in ears, psp's etc .... children who'd rather communicate via txt speak than REAL speak, aids to cultural advancements ?

    It's easy to criticize yes, as I sit on my macbook connecting, due to internet provision, but, after reading this, how many of you will actually make the effort to connect with me & build something in terms of inter-community building or otherwise huh ?

    How many of you will give me a thumbs up or down & say I want to communicate directly with this human being ahead of the next internet fix of whatever, that will satisfy your need for that quick net fix ....

    I think that Stefan is onto something, but, Giant Leaps now, are rarely made in the areas he specified. There is a great deal of rhetoric about spirituality etc, online, but who really takes the time to develop that side of themselves when e-mails are coming regarding the next sexual encounter or bit of business that's going to enable them to buy themselves the latest gadget that looks cool & gives them a sense of status due to it's perception in the public eye

    We have so far to go & technological methods, as useful as they've become, are not for the purpose of cultural development, if anything, technology, in terms of recent timescales & it's advancement, have coincided with our regression as people.
    • Oct 22 2012: Technology has changed so quickly over the last few decades and it is sometimes difficult to study and understand fully before it changes again.

      Current technology may have replaced many of the "face to face" and physical parts of communication, but it has also enhanced and promoted more communication. Live video chat, online forums (such as this one) instant video and picture streaming are just the beginning of the next wave in technology and communication.

      As information flows faster through our world, so does the interaction. It is not physical interaction, but a global connectivity of "online" interactions that will propel us in to the future. Here's a video from a Tedx showing a device that will allow for even more interaction with the world and other individuals:


      I know more about my planet and other cultures in thanks to the internet and phone than my great grandfather and that can be attributed to advancements in technology. Your voice and mine would have less of a chance being heard if it weren't for these advancements. Videos of cultures and traditions would be widely unknown had it not been for recent technological capabilities.

      I do agree that we are regressing in certain ways, but we are progressing in others. The manner in which we connect or communicate has changed, but cultures are still alive and well. There are even sub groups to online interaction.

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