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Christina Sanders

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Is technology really helping us or hurting us?

Now while I agree that technological advancements have empowered us in many ways to create a better way of life, I believe that it can also be detrimental to us.

If you’re an avid user of technology, including smartphones, digital cameras, smart TV’s, mobile apps, computers, the internet and the like, they capture information about individuals that leave them extremely vulnerable to a lack of privacy.

Now a days, private information is just a blanket term for public information as far as I am concerned. What’s really private anymore? Digital footprints are captured in most anything we do.

We are empowered in many ways through technology, but have lost our power on the same note.

The question is have we gone too far?

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  • Nov 8 2013: Pencils and paper are technology. The printing press is technology. Socrates supposedly refused to learn to read and write because he said it would weaken the mind by making it unnecessary to actually learn anything if you could simply have it on hand to read it.

    Have we now gone too far? As life becomes more complex we need more complex tools to solve the problems it presents. As we develop more complex tools we create a more complex world with more complex problems requiring more complex tools. We have now reached the point, however, that we create complex tools to solve simple problems, then look for more ways to use them, so the tools predate their usefulness. Technology for technology's sake.
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      Dec 4 2013: I agree with you, that what we choose to implement can be viewed as a tool of technology. Like you said "Pencils and paper are technology". I seem to often be asking myself "is this tool I am using truly helpful to get the job done?". I find that sometimes implementing lower tech tools, the results can be highly effective by standing out a in a sea of new fangled gadgetry, to which many of us have grown habituated.
  • Dec 5 2013: Technology can be both a good and bad thing. On one hand, as mentioned above, it does improve the standard of living for many people. Is this necessarily synonymous with happiness? Technology can also create feelings of inequality and loneliness as more and more people become connected in social networking. There are sacrifices we have made (consciously or not) to become a more connected, faster reacting society. In some cases we have given up privacy, we have sacrificed our first hand authentic experiences with nature for more abstract ones.
  • Nov 11 2013: The fact is that you are going to die. technology is how you matter to the world. it gives you a global face for whatever you stand for.
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    Nov 9 2013: Hi Christina, and welcome to TED conversations:>)

    I agree with Keith....technology is a tool, and we can use it in many different ways. You're right, in that technology may challenge our privacy, and as you insightfully say...."What's really private anymore? Digital footprints are captured in most anything we do." We need to be mindfully aware of how we are using it.

    You ask..."have we gone too far"? What, in your perception is too far? If you decide we have gone too far, what are you going to do about it? I honestly do not think technology is going to back up.....I believe it will continue to improve.

    BTW, have you checked out the many conversations on this topic?
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/topics
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    Nov 9 2013: I'm sure some people thought the same thing when Columbus sailed right off the edge of the flat world and when the caveman learned to use fire or other tools. Tools are just tools, it is up to us to use them to our advantage or disadvantage. You can talk on an iphone or you can throw it at your sister, it up to you. On the same note you can start a war with an iphone or you can bring unimaginable joy to little child or long forgotten relative or friend.

    Christina the beauty is we have a choice and I guess the question you will have to ask yourself is "am I going to do the right thing with the tools I have been given?"

    You have discovered a wonderful tool right here with TED, I hope you use it wisely. Welcome to TED:)

    You will probably meet Colleen and a lot of the wonderful women in here soon... Show her where the bear sleeps Colleen....
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      Nov 9 2013: You are funny Keith.....the bears around here are all in hibernation now....it's getting cold, and they hunker down in their caves for the winter:>)
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        Nov 9 2013: If you ever get lost in a snow storm a bear cave is a nice place to stay for a couple of nights. The heat from the bear will keep you warm and they seldom wake up, however you do not want to be there in the spring when they are done hibernating because they wake up really hungry and guess who's coming for dinner? Speaking of tools...
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          Nov 9 2013: LOL! I used to live near a ridge where bears hibernated, so I'm well aware of HOW they come out of hibernation....we could hear them growling!!!
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    Nov 8 2013: .

    Technology makes invalid (harmful) happines and self-extinction for us .
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    Nov 7 2013: it's my opinion that the technology you mention above is nothing but the technology of convenience.

    george orwell was right on all counts except having the spy tech forced on us. people have happily clicked their privacy away and on top of that, pay for the 'privelege'.

    but you also must keep in mind that most of the data collected is not accurate. it's the new economy but it's a false economy.
  • Nov 7 2013: Looking at the opposite extreme, life with no technology at all, is a short, brutal and miserable affair. Life expectancy in the thirties, sky high infant mortality, no running water, artificial lighting or a million other things we take for granted nowadays...
    The problem isn't technology in general.

    Concerning the lack of privacy... I suppose that's just something you have to learn to live with in our modern age. Or go down the Luddite route and avoid digital mediums and all the advantages they bring like the plague.
    Doesn't seem worth it really. While I don't like being spied on, the benefits of digital mediums is simply too great to ignore. I don't have anything truly worth hiding anyhow.
  • Nov 7 2013: I think everything is a two-edged sword. So is technology. Mobile phones keep people connected friends tightly and improve the efficiency and at the same time, viral videos entertain and amuse netizens. However, on the other hand, technology also hurts us and there is an excellent Ted Talks video showed that people are isolated because of the exsistence of mobile phones. People would rather socialize on internet than talk to real friends. A piece of news shocked people all over the world: A Canadian teenage girl Ammanda Todd suicided because bullies posted her video that she showed her breasts, which deeply harmed her dignity. People are becoming fickle. We could even not remember those days we held a book and cup of tea to spend an peaceful afternoon. People have started to rush since computers mobile phones got popular. We pursue fast reading experience and people yearn for spying other' privacy. Technology is still helping us; however, as it develops some inevitable problems were brought to human. To answer your question, one would claim that we have gone too far.