Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Techno Monster

During the fifties and early sixties motion pictures were filled with mad scientists who created mechanical people and technology theme movies with talking computers. Shows like the Jetsons and Star Trex showed us a future with flying cars and robots that could live and work as humans do. Few could not have imagined back then technology could or would have advance the way it has. We now write in text language, a non- verbal method of expression or communication. Any day now we might be able to have a full functioning robot! Technology’s advancement can be seen through a dual lens as being good and bad. The good news is we now have smaller and interacting computers that can fit in the palm of your hand, new technology based language, emerging medical technologies and news circling the globe in minutes via social media Internet sites. All these things have served humanity and made life easier and the world more accessible. For all the good news in business and society there has been some bad news. The bad news is the rise in Internet criminal activity, child pornography, the pervasive misuse of identity, and the monopoly of big telecommunication companies like AT&T. In The Future of Ideas, Lawrence Lessig writes, “ What was good for AT&T is not necessarily good for America” (p.32). AT&T is one the largest telecommunications company in the world and has a firm hold on the telecommunication market in American. Perhaps, it’s when innovation and invention had move beyond everyone’s imagination that AT&T’s strangle hold was seen as blocking real progress and fair trade. It is always important to explore the potential benefits and possible problems with big business monopoly and our growing dependence on techno language.

Technology’s impact on communication is evident in all our lives; we only need to look at the twelve-year-old texting her friends joyfully waiting a response to know how important texting has become. Most people are not aware of the problems associated with technology-based conversation. One of the major benefits of face-to- face discussions is what ones gain by social interaction. In the video The Language of the Future, Laurie Anderson said, “Suddenly I realized she was speaking an entirely different language. Computerese. A kind of high – tech lingo”. Today, we write and talk in a new language, a technology-based language, a sort of “techno- speak”. It is our way of having dialogue with another without really speaking to them. Technology is the virtual third party; it is always present and is only interactive in response to another person’s knowledge or counter response. According to Anderson, she was looking “for a passenger to talk to”. The lack of human interaction is decreasing with technology. The essence of the socially negotiated conversation is fading and it is being replace by a technology- mediated correspondence.

Frustrating as I might appeared I do not think Anderson would have received anything more from a teenage flying with a stuff animal. Ok, really did she think they were going to discuss world politics? There are those who find it isolating and dehumanizing and think the immediacy of texting corrupts our need for human interaction. The immediate feedback or response people received from instance messages and texting can be exciting. But anyone who tells you it has not hurt the cognitive capabilities or the written communication skills of some is misinformed. Face book, twitter and im’s are the way to go, I find myself using at least one of the thing every hour. I’m curious, I want to know what people are doing while I am in class. But I find it hard to write in “tech” short hand, I am afraid to admit it, but I find I must call my fourteen-year-old niece for an explanation sometimes. And who can tell which is the better phone to go with, Sprint, Verizon or AT&T. Well, if you want an iphone you have to go with the giant AT&T.

AT&T has had a hold on the telecommunication market and is not about to relinquish it to anyone. AT&T have been transmitting messages over the air -waves for years. In fact, if ask they would boast that the drumbeats and smoke signals were the fist free calls. Lessig was right. AT&T will protect what belongs to them and their stockholders and if this means controlling wires and markets then so be it. I guess the real question, is it fair for America or its consumers? Yes. If I had a business that could fuel the world, It would be up to me when, where and how I would use or share it. I don’t have to like AT&T and I do not, that’s why I have a Blackberry instead of a iphone. But the principles in which this country was founded on free trade is the right of all it citizens. So, AT&T do what you must, though I believe we only get better in the face of true competition.

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