Lecture Four titled, ‘Have We Lost Ourselves To Technology?’, is focused on ‘life in the digital now’ (a reference to Abha Dawesar’s TED talk, the ‘rewiring’ of our mental circuits by technology, in particular by the internet, the ‘Frankenstein’ of social media, the idea that appearances can be deceiving, the importance of physical connection, and the very real chance that we are ‘losing ourselves to technology’. I also want to make sure you keep an open mind here – and remember that it is super easy to write off social media. To make sure you keep an open mind one of the videos I want you to check out, ‘The Conditioned’ – the story of homeless poet Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho from São Paulo, Brazil – which paints a more human side to social networking platforms. I will also provide you with another personal piece of writing titled, ‘On Social Media And Being Human’, that will argue that it is not the platforms themselves that reduce us or dehumanize us it is the way we use them. All this will lead us nicely into Lecture Five titled, ‘The End Of Everything’. Everything you need is on this page guys.
Last week I left you with this quote from Havelock Elis;
“The greatest task before civilisation at present is to make machines what they ought to be, the slaves, instead of the masters of men”.
Do you guys think we still have a chance?
On Social Media And Being Human – Jason Harding
It is very easy to write of social media as a platform designed to leverage narcissism and invade cognitive surplus in order to generate profit – all under the guise of providing us with enhanced reach, connection, freedom, and power. It is also easy to write it off as a dehumanizing technology – forcing us to reduce our concept of personhood and friendship so that it fits within the limitations of the software. However, social media only exists because we do. Without us it is just code. Empty. And unconscious. So for all the negative arguments you could throw at social media we are the ones who actually breathe life into them. We are the ones at fault. Not the platform – not the code. And in that context we are not without choice here. We are not without power. In fact we are in complete control. We do not have to fuel the machine with narcissism, mundane descriptions of trivial external events, or updates that are more for the sake of form than feeling. We can easily remove the pervasive view that people are just “its” online – simple objects to navigate around and leverage for whatever purpose we deem important at the time. We can make social media human. And it might be easier to do than we think. We just have to be brave enough accept the risk, the vulnerability, and the nerve required for real conversation. Some advice from Lanier’s book ‘You Are Not A Gadget’ (2010, p. 21) on how to actually do this … “post a video once in a while that took you one hundred times more time to create than it takes to view, write a post or an update that took weeks of reflection before you heard the inner voice that it needed to come out, innovate and find a way to describe your internal state instead of meaningless peripheral events.” Take the time to position yourself outside the relentless and fleeting white noise that social media’s status quo.
“The self as we once knew it no longer exists, and I think that an abstract, digital universe has become part of our identity”
“By archiving everything, we think that we can store it, but time is not data. It cannot be stored. You and I know exactly what it means like to be truly present in a moment. …”
Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho
“Hope / Is the heaviest weight / A man can carry / It is the bane of the idealist”