Technology is like air; we live and breathe it and would ‘die’ without it. In modern times, technology infiltrates our lives. I witnessed an example of this today at Subway. While waiting in the line to order, an eight year old paid for his Subway with a debit card before answering a call on his iPhone. I don’t know why, but this terrifies me. This very action caused me to reflect upon what I was doing when I was 8 – and it certainly was not that.
It seems that our reliance on these global communication networks, particularly through the growth of the Internet and cyberspace, has developed a type of infatuation with technology itself. In my eyes, it could be portrayed as a romantic novel, where the internet promised it’s user to end individual isolation and foster inter-societal understanding – how romantic. Similar to the idea underlying the dream of global harmony and world peace, the idea underlying the dream of mediated proximity is that the availability of more communication contributes to the enhancement of social relations. But does this novel have the ‘happily ever after’ ending that we romantics are really looking for?
Kelly (1999) iterates that one by one, each of the things that we care about in life is touched by science and then altered. Human expression, thought, communication, and even human life have been infiltrated by high technology. But can this romanitically infatuated embryonic dependence (as seen in today’s subway situation) be deemed as healthy for society? If communication is the foundation of society, of our culture, of our humanity, of our own individual identity, and of all economic systems, yet all of these aspects are now focused online, can they be considered as part of our physical reality, or are they merely virtual reality?
Barlow, J.P. (1996) A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace [URL: https://projects.eff.org/~barlow/Declaration-Final.html%5D.
Dyson, E., Gilder, G., Keyworth, G., Toffler, A. (1994) Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age [URL: http://www.pff.org/issues-pubs/futureinsights/fi1.2magnacarta.html%5D.
Mitew, T 2012, The Network Scoiety, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 6 August.