September 20

Lecture notes and comments

Week #4

Date: September 20

Outline: Today our lecture was lead by my professor, Bill Kuykendall. Here are my notes from the lecture. Journal for September 20

The lecture today was different than we usually have. We started off class by Bill introducing a term for us to consider and to comment upon. The term was auto amputation, which is defined as technology’s hindering of humanities development. An example of this auto amputation would be Global Positioning Devices (GPS’), which harms our ability to intuit our orientation and direction in a foreign place. Another would be texting, which some would say decreases the need for face-to-face interaction and therefore hindering humanities ability to properly communicate with each other in face-to-face situations.

Comments: This is an interesting topic to me, because I see the issue from both sides. Yes, technology can hinder certain aspects of human growth or human nature, such as intuitive direction. Technology takes away the need to rely on that instinct that ancient man had to depend on everyday to stay alive in the world. But is this a bad thing? Overall, I would argue no.

Just because we are losing the instinct of past generations doesn’t mean we have totally lost it, at least not yet. Every human still has a base understanding of how to conceptualize where they are in relation to their surroundings, some worse than others, but nevertheless still there. What technology has done is give us the option of letting the machine do the work instead of us. The technology itself is neither good nor bad, it just gives us another way of living our lives. And most people that I know would agree that choices are good.

When you hit the stage of reliance however, you’re in a different realm. You no longer see the technology as a choice, but rather as a necessity. This is where the problems can occur. When human beings start to rely on machines to do the thinking for them all the time, this is when the brain’s ability to think clearly and efficiently is compromised for convenience. This is the darker side of the technology, but is still dependent on how humans choose to use the technology that is available to them.

Why is this topic so important to new media? As our society becomes more and more integrated with the technology all around us, we begin to take it for granted. As students of this very technology, some of us will be the pioneers of this future technology. We will create the next machine that allows us to live our lives a little easier. This is why it is so imperative we think about these things and others as we study new media, and are acutely aware of the possibilities we are opening to the public and the risks we are taking with every new invention. For this very reason I am here at the University of Maine studying new media, and why I chose to be an informed and conscious learner as I continue my career.

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