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Dirk Hermann

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Is modern technology reducing our critical thinking by "just" affirming or confirming our preferences?

In a world where most of everything is automated I fear that my opinion is more and more streamlined not only because of media spinning but also because controversial opinions, statements, books, articles etc. are simply not provided (strange word... or rather recommended) any more... Amazon will show plenty of books or music similar to my last choices and seeming preferences... Facebook is filtering out non-conform friends.

Are we oversimplifying our live using modern technology, are we actually outsourcing our opinion making?


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  • Apr 24 2014: Good question Dirk,
    I'll be taking a bit of a different direction.

    I've wondered for some time, why foreign publications are not being translated and made available in print,
    those containing controversial opinions, statements, books, articles etc., seldom see the light of day in the
    English speaking world. Who knows the pioneering thoughts of an eastern African writer, or a Chinese, or
    Manchurian, a Finn, a Swede, or a Chilean. We have this wonderful internet, but it hasn't really opened
    many avenues to bring us all together. Instead, we find Corporations selling operating systems and selling,
    selling, selling. A one way street, ending in your driveway, or at your front door.

    I am a critical thinking person, that's true. But, there is so much we could be learning instead of
    Netflick, and Amazon. There is market enough. We just need to find it, and use it to share.

    If government's can have their own hidden internets, and hidden agenda's, why not we?
    Intellectual's have banded together before, just to hide their knowledge in cave, etc. .
    Perhaps they need to now share to bring the World's ideas to the World's peoples,
    not governments, not greedy corporations, just us.

    Did any of this make sense? I hope so.
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      Apr 24 2014: I like the way you think!

      In this case technology actually may be able to help, I must admit I never really tried google translate, but this may help to overcome the confusion of babel. :-)

      And you are right, we do not hear much from other countries... Potentially TED is one of this roads that connect people believing in the same principles or vision. I read a book called the night circus where the attached followers wore red scarfs to recognize themselves... since then I own one. ;-)

      You may also check out the books from Cory Doktorow (little brother, homeland) where the concept of us against them is put into action in an interesting way. It is written for young adults, but I loved it.

      The sharing of information in science and the arts has always been the glue between nations regardless of the political system... why? Because this is a passion that should not know national boundaries, moral limits yes, but not geographic ones.

      I for my example have not yet had the chance to participate at a TED event... but it is high up my wish list.

      Regarding the sharing of information, this media is already an excellent way, but the question is also which network to choose, which platform to use? Is the information digestible for e.g. non-experts?

      Sharing information to ensure common growth? I like it!
      • Apr 24 2014: Canada doesn't seem to want to share with the lower 48 United States.
        They refuse to allow their programing to be sent to Americans. It just
        causes more and more use of pirate torrents to watch Canadian programs.

        I believe they have some sort of "crisis of identity". And feel that the
        US media and Hollywood's produce is overwhelming their own.
        But they probably have forgotten that the internet has that as it's prime
        purpose, to homogenize and pasteurize the internet's milk of human

        It is time for us all to integrate. We should be trying to download and
        watch programming from all nations. We surely don't want them to
        exclude us or anyone else. Open programming world-wide is going
        to be necessary for us to eliminate the War mongers, and bring peace
        and harmony to all. Babel should go the way of the parasite tax man.
        Getting rid of both would be a boon to all of us.

        Sharing information to ensure common growth? I like it too.
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          Apr 28 2014: One danger here is however that the discussion of the information shared needs to take place... sadly enough I have tons of studies on my desktop which are waiting to be discovered and I just move it to tomorrow... but once read... where to discuss them, where to applaud them?

          Reading without talking about it seems lacking. What do you think?
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      May 1 2014: What a great comment, Frank, great thinking. It seems that we see more and more garbage "delivered" by technology, but it makes harder to get through it to find something valuable...

      We spend great amount of time handling, seting up and fixing our tech devices wasting precious time...

      Only the thought of spending my whole day on fixing and adjusting some programs makes me depressed..

      Another problem we must face that tech gadgets are constantly "advanced" but in the majority of cases are not at all really improved - it is only a cheap sale trick - we see some design/icons changed (for no good reason) , switches and keys are replaced and even that on/off tiny thing impossible to find!! and your program becomes more unhandy... but all that is involving new "learning" All the tricks to sell you things you do not need - and the industries make you buy them by disabling, disconnecting your recent programs you're using successfully!!!!

      No wonder that recently my friend has purchased a 25 yearold synthesizer(keyboard) and insainly happy - it is so easy to use! and the results/sound are fantastic.
      • May 1 2014: Vera, I got a brand new computer for Christmas.

        This is my late night harangue, 11:48pm

        I am sure you realize that we all are bombarded day and night with commercials.
        No matter, I get up each morning, and attempt to work on my Excel spreadsheet program. Sometimes I get all the way to my email, and before I can read anything, some odd thing
        called ccc.exe replaces my email and wants to know if I want ccc.exe to be able to use
        my computer to do something. If I click yes, or no, it goes away until the next morning.
        I received this ccc.exe compliments of a Microsoft error when they placed a Banner across
        my screen, and forced me to go to their Store and download Windows 8.1, and look at
        Microsoft's advertisement's for 50 or 60 APPs. At that point I downloaded Win 8.1, and
        Microsoft gave me the little virus called ccc.exe. My daughter stopped by, took ccc.exe
        and disposed of it. A couple weeks later Microsoft's Banner appeared and we went through
        the same procedure, and I downloaded Win 8.1 again thinking it was what they were calling
        an update. Hello ccc.exe. Back again, and again, and again, etc... I suppose I have to
        call my daughter again.

        I've yelled and screamed at Bill Gates, and his Corporation, but nothing happened until I got
        an answer from a Microsoft Help in Australia. After going back and forth with my problem
        for two weeks, the guy said to call an 800 number inside the United States and try again.

        I purchased every operating system Microsoft has ever made. XP was God.
        The rest were CRAP. Pardon me... I know Bill Gates is part of TED's wealth, and he
        may have some influence on their site. But dammit, Greed is Greed. Why is it so so
        important that Microsoft continue to make money. Bill Gates cannot spend it all.
        Microsoft needs to go the path that Kodak and Gen. McArthur trod, just fade away..
    • May 4 2014: What doe'sn't make 'sen'se i's your u'se of apo'strophe's.
      • May 4 2014: Bryan, once again you see beyond the great out there.
        That that that that.

        Using an apostrophe coupled with an “s” to make a noun plural is undoubtedly
        one of the most heinous and unforgivable blasphemous grammatical error's.

        You add an “-s.” Sometimes you have to add an “-es” if the singular noun already
        ends in “-s” or change a “-y” to “-ies.” It’s usually as simple as that.

        I just feel the need to sneak in an apostrophe. When I do that, I'm not pluralizing —
        I am indicating possession.

        I had a problem as a child, hiding an i, to shorten two short words, It is.
        Then there was a confounding you’re, which is short for you are, hiding an a.
        Of course I cannot forget who’s, which is short for who is, hiding an i.
        All of them, “It’s,” “you’re” and “who’s,” therefore, are contractions.

        “Its,” “your” and “whose,” on the other hand, are possessives.
        It may seem counterintuitive that words without apostrophes are sometimes possessive,
        but the grammar world is strange that way.

        Please forgive greedy me.

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