The most important and urgent problems of the technology of today are no longer the satisfactions of the primary needs or of archetypal wishes, but the reparation of the evils and damages by the technology of yesterday. ~Dennis Gabor, Innovations: Scientific, Technological and Social, 1970
Category: 01. 2/7 What is STS? (Page 2 of 2)
~Alan M. Eddison
“It is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.” -T.S. Eliot
In this quote Eliot is talking about the technology that is the radio. Though the statement in question was made approximately half a century ago, it is still, at its core, relevant even today in 2018. Technology that enables millions to view/hear the same thing simultaneously has progressed far past the simple radio. We now have vast networks of social media platforms and streaming services that give pretty much anyone with access to a smartphone or computer the ability to tune in to the same program or viewing as millions of others around the world. In a way, it brings people together: individuals that may have nothing else in common except for a shared interest in a certain streamed event or podcast can view the same thing from the comfort of their own respective homes. However, these people still remain separated from actual human interaction by using these streaming services and social media. They are technically still alone, just occupied by watching what someone else far away is streaming themselves doing. Every party in this situation is “remaining lonesome.” Reading this quote reminded me of one point addressed by comedian Tom Segura in a recent standup comedy act. He claimed that soon we will be able to live completely without leaving our houses. If we need something like food, amazon will be there to have our back by dropping it off right on our doorstep. In a sense, this is completely true. It’s not impossible to work from home and maintain financial stability, and the main issue one would run into if they chose this lifestyle would be those regarding physical health and fitness, all things that can be fixed by ordering a good old treadmill off of eBay. If we want to see other people like our friends and family, we can easily FaceTime, snapchat, or Skype them to get full face to face interaction without even leaving the chair we’re sitting in. If we would rather not have face to face interaction, texting, emailing, or another form of contact will suffice. Entertainment of every kind is right at our fingertips, be it Netflix, youtube, Hulu, you name it. It would be a very dull and unexciting way to live, but it is certainly not impossible with the technology we have in our world today. This fact is somewhat disturbing and mind-blowing at the same time, giving a whole new meaning to what a social life can look like. If you can have hundreds of “friends” and technically maintain many friendships at once without leaving your bed or couch, can you actually call yourself social? Advances in technology are seeming to make the answer to that question lean more towards yes. Off the top of my head, I can even name a few people that I have only ever interacted with through social media and nothing else, though I would not consider us close friends. I do not intend to live this lifestyle, but just the thought that it is possible is enough to make me wonder where we’re headed.
This is my first post
Technology: “the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.” ~Max Frisch, c.1960s
Max Frisch speaks of a tragic reality that I, as well as many others, face everyday.