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We need to think seriously about what comprises a healthy technological diet.

We are surrounded by technology. We sleep with our phones, leave the TV on during dinner, genetically engineer our food, fight our wars with drones and travel any distance over 100 feet by car.

In the same way that we scrutinize the food that we eat, so, too should we think seriously about the technology we use.

I have a tin of organic, shade-grown, free trade coffee on a shelf in my kitchen. Why not hold my car to a similarly rigorous standard? I make an effort to eat fast food as infrequently as possible, so why shouldn’t I also try to cut down on the number of hours I spend parked in front of my TV each day? If I don’t want to buy beef that comes from cows raised on atrocious factory farms, why would I want to buy a cell phone made of pebbles wrought from the earth by people working in atrocious mining operations overseas?

It’s time to think about what comprises a healthy technological diet. Which of our devices belong at the bottom of the technological food pyramid, and which at the top? Which should we consume regularly for good health, and which should be used sparingly? Are there some which should not be used at all?

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    Oct 19 2012: diet is what you eat.... not what you dont eat
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    Oct 17 2012: Sherry Turkle's 'Connected but alone' talk talk really got me questioned and got me and 2 friends developing a mobile app in order to facilitate face-to-face interactions so we can increase the quality of relationships we have with people.
    I'm looking for early evangelists that share the vision to get as much feedback as possible on it! If you feel like being a part of it, join http://bit.ly/TEDpeople so we can get in touch and talk about it more!
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    Oct 15 2012: It is easy to assume sometimes that what members of our small peer group do are universal habits. The assumption is usually false.

    I don't know anyone, for example, who sleeps with a phone, leaves the TV on during dinner, or travels any distance over one hundred feet by car.

    But maybe you do and maybe your friends do.

    You sound like you know what you want to stop doing. So go ahead and leave your phone elsewhere when you turn in, don't eat near the TV, and walk whenever it's practical.

    In those habits you will be joining millions of people.
    In fact, you will, I think, be joining the vast majority of people.
    • Oct 15 2012: My point is simply that in today's world, people are increasingly surrounded by technology in all that they do. So, in much the same way that many people make a conscious effort to stick to a healthy diet, I think it would be prudent for us all to think critically about the technological choices that are available to us.

      I am heartened to read that you don't know anyone who sleeps with a phone or leaves the TV on during dinner. Those aren't habits of mine, either, but the fact of the matter is that this is a world in which most people never leave their cell phones out of arm's reach and the average American watches five hours of TV per day. Spending a bit more time reflecting on the role that technology plays in each of our lives couldn't hurt.

      You seem to be a person who follows what I might call a healthy technological diet, not being overly dependent on your phone or car, or overly mesmerized by your TV. But do you really think that you are in the majority?
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        Oct 15 2012: I think people do think about how much technology comes into their lives and strive to find a balance that works for them. In fact, I would guess this is as much a subject on people's minds as what they eat and where it comes from- maybe a larger subject of thought for most people in an income demographic to own technological devices.

        I don't think the majority live like the picture you painted in your statement.

        And sorry for my misunderstanding- I always assume when someone says "we," he includes himself and those around him.
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    Oct 15 2012: Who are the "we" in your topic?

    If you are just trying to spread an awareness of hazards of what a "healthy technological diet" is, then I am forced to ask where did you get the awareness of those hazards to begin with? Seems "somebody" has already been seriously considering them already. Unless you are the first one to consider them and came up with them all on your own.

    Your narrative states a lot of hazards that seem personal to you. They may not be considered hazards to everybody else. You stated, "If I don’t want to buy beef that comes from cows raised on atrocious factory farms". That's OK with me if you choose not to buy your beef that way. But I like steaks, so I'm going to keep eating them and buying them, 'cos I don't think all those farms are "atrocious". And I will use a totally different criteria to determine if my buying a cell phone is justified, too. Comparing a cell phone purchase to beef farms is unrelated. The only relationship you presented about both of them is that you think the beef farm and the pebble mine are both "atrocious". How did you draw that conclusion?

    I'm not trying to say your topic is wrong in any way. Yes, we may need to periodically consider the "way things are". But choices are personal to each individual. I could not support all of your personal beliefs that the things you stated in your topic narrative are "hazards" to everybody.
    • Oct 15 2012: I think toward the end of your comment you hit the nail on the head. Each of us should think critically about what a healthy technological diet would be for ourselves. Of course no two people are the same, so everyone will end up reaching their own conclusions about what's best for them. My point is just that I think everyone should be asking themselves the same kinds of questions. How is my cell phone affecting my relationships? Should I spend as much time as I do watching TV? Should I own a TV at all? Would it be better if I drove my car less and walked more?

      In mentioning the coffee, fast food and beef, I am simply trying to point out that a lot of people put a lot of thought into the food they eat and how their food choices affect their health and the health of the world. We don't, on the other hand, seem to be similarly scrutinizing our choices and habits with regard to technology, even though the effects of an unhealthy technological diet might end up being just as serious as the effects of an unhealthy eating regimen.
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    Oct 15 2012: Yes.
    Human bio-evolution rate can never catch up with today's extraordinary fast rate of tech development.
    Human is in danger caused by INVALID HAPPINESS!