Poch Peralta

Freelance Writer / Blogger,


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Is Your Personal Autonomy Evaporating?

Is Technology turning us into robots?
'Personal tech is just the shiny edge of a broader change. We are heading quickly toward an "Other Knows Best" world, in which everything and everybody second-guesses you for your own good. That may be a world of easier shopping and friction-free government, better health and safer lives (thank you, surveillance cameras). It will certainly be a world of sharply reduced personal autonomy.

'Autonomy is often described as personal self-government, or "the condition of being self-directed," as the philosopher Marina Oshana has put it. But after your car drives itself, your refrigerator tracks the milk and egg supply, City Hall imperceptibly nudges you towards the "right choice," your favorite stores tell you what you want to buy, and you have outsourced your willpower to apps and wearable gadgets that tell you to eat salad and go to the gym—what is left for you to direct? The scope of self-government is shrinking, and that is going to alter people's relationship with the state, with business, and with each other...'

  • Feb 17 2014: So if we want to have greater self government then isn't the choice to reduce our technological involvement? If we do not participate, or limit our participatation in available technology, do you think we can retain our personal autonomy?
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      Feb 17 2014: 'If we do not participate, or limit our participation in available technology, do you think we can retain our personal autonomy?'

      Yes Ronnae, I think so. If Tech is controlling us because we are letting it do so, and if we can't control Tech, then we better leave the Tech world. There's nothing unhealthy about doing that.
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    Feb 17 2014: No Poch, I do not believe autonomy ("self-directing freedom and esp. moral independence") evaporates or separates from our "self" in any way. As thinking, feeling, intelligent, multi-sensory, multi-dimensional, multi-faceted humans, we have many choices and decisions in the life adventure.

    We have the option to balance technology with other aspects of our life experiences. The external factors, which you mention like "outsourced your willpower to apps and wearable gadgets" are choices we make as individuals. If one chooses to give up his/her ability to self-direct as s/he wishes, that demonstrates freedom of choice. If we don't make choices for ourselves....someone else will make the choices for us. Technology is a tool, and cannot turn us into robots unless that is what we choose for our self. I do not give up my ability to choose, or responsibility for the choices I make.
  • Jan 25 2014: Poch,

    Hate to say this but look at the fables we are read when we are children, the look your parents give you when you are about to make a decision, aren't being nudged to do what is considered the right thing for the given society we are living in from the beginning?
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      Jan 25 2014: Definitely, childhood training should be main focus since it will affect anything we do in the future.
      It's really a huge handicap for persons who didn't get efficient or proper childhood training. How many
      parents do you think trained their children about decision-making Wayne? I'll bet it wouldn't even reach 15%.
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    Feb 17 2014: Today, as far as I know, an option is available for an individual to shut out outside world, and think thoughts about how they relate to the world.
    It is up to the individual to search for ways of living that balance technology use. Exercise helps me. Vids at youtube and me blog.
    Since you pose this question, maybe technology use is not balanced by other ways of living within your life.
    As far as world is concerned, it appears to me when technology is forced on others; ways of living that balance technology use are not included.
    Tomorrow, who knows, maybe option no longer available for an individual to shut out outside world, and think thoughts about how they relate to the world.
  • Jan 27 2014: We are deceiving ourselves , personal self autonomy is an illusion in any sense, social, cultural, biological, environmental ...spacial ...
    What do you think is evaporating ? :)
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      Jan 27 2014: So why do you think personal self autonomy is an illusion Natasha?
      If that's the case---and I like your tease question---I think what's evaporating is DWYL (doing what you love);
      or doing what WE love.
      • Jan 29 2014: Each of our DWYL makes its own space, but no DWYL can function in isolation.
        So, DWWL sounds more realistic, i think.

        BTW. Doing what you love is the only thing worth doing :)
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      Jan 26 2014: Great to see you here Lilly!
      We can prevent Tech from turning us into zombies or robots. And one sure way is to be a recluse
      and many have done that being disgusted with society. Of course it's difficult since you have to be a
      survivalist in the wilds. Being a total recluse now is virtually impossible though. Spies can always track
      them with various spy drones. So in a way you're right in saying 'no human will ever acquire independence from the group.'
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          Jan 28 2014: Ahh mother Nature. What an irony that while amoral land devs are continually destroying natural habitats and the living things in it, the recluse who loves nature and defends it could also be
          a victim of vicious natural disasters.
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          Jan 28 2014: 'Ask yourself what does one need to know to live and die? where more die before ever knowing world and universe...'

          Words of wisdom again. There are only a few who knows how to die gracefully because it's harder to know and only acquired with experience and wisdom.
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    Jan 23 2014: Hello? I'm still alive. Where is everybody?
    For about a week now, my TED convos were idle. Then today, I found out that TED has created a new TED.com:

    We're creating a new TED.com
    It's faster, it's mobile-friendly, it offers an enhanced video experience — and we'd love you to have early access.

    Then TED asks you if you want to switch to the new site or wait for the Alpha version. I took a peek
    at the beta version and it looks good.
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      Jan 24 2014: It isn't a different site in the sense in which you are interpreting it. It is more like seeing the same thing through a different lens.

      Regardless of which version you use, any comment you post is equally accessible to users regardless of whether they use the old version or new. Said differently, one doesn't choose on which site to post- it all goes to both.

      There is no connection between the level of activity in your threads and the fact that there are two different lenses through which you can see the site material. The new ted.com came up in late October- not this week.
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        Jan 24 2014: Huh...what a coincidence. I got informed of a new TED when there was no traffic with my convos
        for about a week and the news of the new TED came very late for me.

        Yes sir. I was judging the new TED just by its looks and I didn't even know still how to use its new
        commenting tool. Thank you for confirming that there is no connection between the level of activity
        in my threads---just as I thought.
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      Jan 25 2014: I've noticed that when you start a conversation it says it will be reviewed and posted within 24 hours but for my last one it took 3 or 4 days I think. When this platform first released, there was no such review.
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        Jan 25 2014: I'm wondering about that too Farrukh and that was a surprise coming from an associate! lol.
        I'm an avid convo starter and I start new ones
        almost daily. I never get posted within 24 hours but instead takes it more than 4 days
        most of the time! Anyway, I don't mind except that about 40% of my submissions are
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        Jan 25 2014: Oh...thanks for the info Farrukh. The title seems higher than being a translator.
        Btw, are you Yugoslavian?