Paula Cano

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HOW IS TECHNOLOGY CHANGING THE WAY WE THINK?

How much are we relying on technology?
Are we underestimating the value and the capacities of our own brain?
Or is technology an extension of our own intelligence?
Are we solving problems or creating greater ones?


These are questions that arise from the daily observations of our habits driven by new technology. I wonder if it really is as good as it seems.

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    Apr 22 2011: technology is used just to save some time and effort of our brain.. .. its for the convinience of humans....maybe it have some some side effects.. and definitly, its effecting our habbits because we largely depend on them for our lifes..
    the point is.... we should run along side the fastly changing world. if we stays back in the yesterdays, the world will run as fast as its now and we will be left back...alone. we will be isolated from rest of the world.
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    Sky F

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    Apr 22 2011: I'll have to dig up a book for the quote, or I could just paraphrase:

    An anthropologist wrote about the introduction of the watch to society. He said that it forever reshaped the way our minds worked. For the first time in history, time was quantifiable and dividable. It was possible to actually be *late*. Can you imagine not living by a clock? It's become an important part of every single person's lives now a day.

    I cited that in my research proposal paper I wrote last year for my neuroscience class. My theory actually was that revolutions in technology actually *DO* change how are minds work forever-after. I hypothesized that the internet is as significant of a revolution as the watch was and will forever change how are minds work. There has already been research on it to suggest that our attention span is shrinking because of it. This makes sense when you consider how quickly accessible the internet is, how we can bounce around from site to site, collecting information and filtering out what is mostly useless to us. It's become the 'fastfood' of information, it's cheap, dangerous to our health, quick, and for a lot of people, more preferable.

    Long story short, I predict it will be dangerous. But that's only if we want to maintain our values of 'taking the scenic route' when it comes to acquiring knowledge and beauty. Hell, there's a generation of kids using the website tumblr who stare at pretty pictures of pretty places and pretty things all day. The irony is that they spend all day in their basement with bedhair, letting the actual beautiful world happen unnoticed outside. It's sad really, but tumblr provides quick and cheap access to such beauty.

    Technology also brings us closer while keeping us apart. I think this was one of the main themes of the movie Up In the Air. Very cool movie.
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      Apr 23 2011: This is interesting, I had compared it to the beginning of written information, when our brain was no longer responsible for holding massive amounts of information. It was the creation of what some call "extensions" of our brain.
      And although technology could be used to expand our knowledge, very few of us are asking the right questions and inquiring things that will actually contribute to one's individual growth..
      I wonder, accepting that technology is our reality now, if nothing will reverse its effects, if there are ways to warn future generations or to motivate current ones to change the course we are inevitably taking..
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        Sky F

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        Apr 23 2011: I think the solution is simple: with all things moderation. There are many people who I believe need to 'get a(n offline) life!'

        I use the internet a LOT, but I'm also very outdoor inclined. The fact that I believe this is such an issue is why I value conservation of the environment. While I use the internet a lot, I always try to make this quote an important part of my life:

        "Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast... a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards."
        -Edward Abbey

        Technology is solving the worlds problems. But it's also removing us from the world. The solution is simple, go outside :)
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        Sky F

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        Apr 23 2011: Please do! :D
        Tape it to your bathroom mirror! You'll look at it every day. That's what I do with the things I need to keep in mind.
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    Apr 20 2011: Technology has definitely changed the way I think and work and live!
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    Apr 27 2011: This is the focal question of the book, The Shallows: What the internet is doing to our brains http://www.slate.com/id/2255923/. The quick summary is that because of brain plasticity, our brain is literally changing with newer technologies. Our brain "rewires" itself with new technology. Our brain works differently than a human brain 100 years ago primarily using books, which is different than a human brain 1000's of years ago before books. His concern is a recent shift away from an ability to focus in depth on problems.
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    Apr 22 2011: If you don't mind, please look at it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUCpuaqlISQ
    Technology is good thing that could extend our understanding of nature and help our vision realize. But that's it.

    It might bring us crisis of underestimating the value of human life and seem to solve every problem we are facing now. But technology alone is not enough. To deal with these problems, we really need something more like liberal arts: humanities, ethics, morals, and so on.

    I want to say it again "Technology alone is not enough"
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    Apr 22 2011: seems like technology is just a result of what we want, freedom. Internet, cell phones, wi-fi.
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      Sky F

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      Apr 23 2011: It's much more than that! It's what makes America richer than Russia. Before the technology boom, whichever country had the most physical resources was considered the wealthiest, which usually meant the country with the most land. (Hence why imperialism was always pretty cool.)

      Now wealth is based on technology. Sure, we still need oil, but if we use *technology* to create an alternative fuel to 'lower our dependence on foreign oil', voila, physical resources mean a whole lot less.

      So yeah, I mean, I guess it's all just 'more of what we want', but it's much greater than just internet, cell phones, and wifi.
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    Apr 22 2011: My mother thinks that because I have a cell phone I am never not available.
  • Apr 21 2011: There are two sides to just about every story it seems, and so far most of the comments appear to focus on the average consumer, and okay there will always be downsides like mobile phones being so disposable, but technology is many things, communication, vast stores of information, computing power... the list goes on

    I think tech has changed the way a lot of us think for the better, just as everyone does not look alike, we are not all the same in way of intelligence, memory, or willpower or anything you wish to measure; being able to remember vast amounts of information is a skill that not everyone has and arguably isn't as important as it once was. That’s not to say that such skills are unimportant, only that new technology & communication can expand some people’s capabilities and that connections as a skill is becoming more essential.
    We use search engines more and more to look up the information on the web, or for something more complex or unusual, having good connections allows communication & collaborating knowledge with someone specialised in that field for help.

    This however is looking at tech in jobs/industry/corporations etc rather than on everyday use, communication improvements are generally positive, but as other comments mention over-reliance, and poor applications of use are some big issues!
  • Apr 21 2011: Definitely.

    When human ancesters picked a wooden stick and used it as weapon, it starts to change their minds. So did technology.
    Guess you are worrying that human is losing the freedom or independency from using technology, which is true, esp. when technology became the contributors to disasters. There is no precise answer i think. We can't live without it.
  • Apr 21 2011: first ask:
    do we think?

    we just work and media think for us.
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    Apr 21 2011: Interesting conversation. I definitely perceive technology as an extension of our own intelligence. i definitely see that all technology has the potential to enhance our lives as well as create new problems that we never thought of in it's pre-existence state.

    for a great read that furthers this particular conversation, pick up the book "What Technology Wants". I can't recall the author, but, for me, it has been a mind expanding book. if you have a kindle, you can have it tonight!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
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    Apr 20 2011: I think the fact most people (in America) feel technology as something to be expected and not award/result of intelligence that we under mind it constantly. Phones are the best example. There is a new one every 3 months, nay every month. Do you really need a phone that often? 20 years ago people were just fine with land lines or going to see there friends, now those same people expect something from technology as if it owes them something. Technology can never be the problem of course that is not my point. The point is we present technology as a consumer good and not as a tool to benefit society, sometimes that is the case but not with the younger generations.

    I tutor children and when I pulled out my old flip phone with no camera on it, they laughed and said they expected a blackberry of iphone. Technology means almost nothing if it is being presented as a luxury and not as tool to be mastered.

    We rely on technology in America without knowing it, so it isn't changing the way we think, because not many educators challenge us to think outside the box in terms of technology. Also "we" in this debate is limited to those countries who use technology as a daily need (with or without knowing it) and can only excel in the countries who use technology as a luxury and never consider it a need just a want.

    “If you use your laptops and iPhones not as toys but as tools, you can change the world,” - Jones
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      Sky F

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      Apr 23 2011: Your example about the phone illustrates how fast technology is moving. What once took an entire lifetime now occurs in about four years.

      In regards to phones and ipods and such, it's funny what's happening. Technology is moving so fast that we actually get the same thing we got last year 20% cheaper. However, this doesn't translate well into making a lot of money. What this means is that instead of actually getting something 20% cheaper every year, we pay the same price and get 20% MORE.

      This is kind of offtopic. But I'd expect a big booming business to occur in the next... four years that begins to produce things CHEAPER rather than BETTER. We have the power to make probably like... $1 cellphones that are durable and have the function of being able to make phone calls. That's what a lot of people need, not phones with the internet.

      This industry will be HUGE in the next coming years as these cheap technologies will begin spreading around the world.

      I guess I'll bridge it back to the mainpoint. But what I talked about in my other main post on this discussion will likely start occurring around the world. Hence why this actually is a pretty significant issue!

      Technology is pretty awesome though. I'm excited for the future. It's a great time to live.
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    Apr 20 2011: I'm not sure about that. Maybe we are all starting to think more like machines (is that logical, Captain?) or we may begin to visualise things in ways similar to the way they are presented to us in web and game formats.

    Tools definitely affect how we live our lives.

    I don't think any fundamental human issues will change. It won't create shortcuts to knowing who we are or what it's all about (just check out how many pointless religion vs science 'discussions' there are on TED).

    Maybe the only real outcome will be anxiety from trying to assimilate the huge amount of everything that's now so easily viewable. Maybe it will just shorten attention spans and that's all. Maybe it will increase concentration powers.

    Probably it will get used to further the goals of commerce and circulate the same old myths and stereotypes we all know and love (cynical, eh).
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      Apr 23 2011: Hi Scott,
      You touched on a very good point. "Knowing who we are".
      I am kind of a solitary person, I have few friends, and I like to spend time alone doing the things that express and explore who I am. Sadly, I don't have much in common with my generation. I would like to talk about new projects and to work on relevant issues that I feel everyone should be talking about. But I get little support because I am not on facebook, or I cant tweet my every thought.. Well, I choose not to.
      And this choice is in the effort of having true conversations where my body language, expressions, my voice and my tone make up the character of my words, and people get to know my personalty, and we have instant gratification in our interaction.
      This is getting lost in social networking. I fear for the future of communication.
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        Sky F

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        Apr 23 2011: Luckily you're not alone. The hard part is finding those who share your values.