Sunday, July 22, 2012

Keep thy head holy.

On our train ride from Oxford to Holyhead this weekend, I had one of the most unsettling and thought provoking conversations with a social theorist about the implications of social media in the future. We began by talking about the differences between America and Ireland and the effects of the transit system (or lack thereof in America’s case). Conversation took a few turns and somehow we started talking about technology and I was explaining the concept of Google Goggles to him. Up until this point, the overarching theme of our conversation was about the maintenance of natural human interaction. Clearly as a social theorist he was a big advocate for this and had shown a considerable amount of unrest to find out that the average American spends two hours a day in a car. So naturally, when I told him about this device that will release sometime next year, he all but turned into a puddle of melancholy and helpless disappointment.  This seemed really strange to me because the average person I have spoken about Project Glass with either seems excited by the flash and futurism of it (no hands technology, can't beat that!), while others simply shake their heads. This man was affected much more and nervously laughed saying that this time period would be considered “B.G.G.”.
It made me question a lot about my role in the media. Although I had considered the social implications of the future of the Internet, for the first time ever I considered the possibility of a change for the worse. I started understanding how disgusting it would feel to play an integral part in a kind of social genocide where humans could look right at each other and be in completely different worlds. What do you guys think? Will devices like google goggles be the death of social interaction or bring a second life (no pun intended) to it? Why do you think so?

 Photo 1 2


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Incredibly interesting topic. I had that same realization at some point this year that, if our professions include working with digital and social forms of media on the internet, we must ensure that this boom of technology will have a positive impact on society. I think my realization came when I was watching "Dazed and Confused." Everyone in that movie met up at the Moon Tower that night to party and that was it. No cell phones. I feel generationally displaced. The line between the negative effects of new media technology and the positive, fiscal effects is hard to draw, especially in a culture like that of Silicon Valley where innovation is king and free lance, venture capitalism drives every facet of the economy. When will a rebellion ignite against this pressure to live our lives increasingly through this lens of the internet?

  3. I wonder too if we're just in sort of an unregulated, disorganized primitive time of the digital age. I thought about it in respect to the Industrial Revolution. I'm sure at the time the people living in grimy cities either pined for the untainted countryside they once had or for those who only knew the city life were unaware that there was another option. Like you said, I think at some point it will become too much and we'll adapt the content we're taking in to be more palateable for the mind. Hopefully we'll be unimpeded in human interaction as well.

  4. I often think about how digital technology is affecting the way we interact face to face. It’s really difficult to say whether it’s having a positive or negative impact on our communicative and interactive abilities. In my New Media classes, we have very briefly touched on the topic. My professor teaching the class was gung-ho about digital technology’s ability to bring people together, but obviously as a professor of new media and a game developer, his opinion was a little biased. In my opinion, we won’t know what kind of impact it’s going to have for a long while. The technology is still so brand new, and it’s still changing so quickly. It’s definitely a difficult concept to grasp. So much has changed in the past five years – not to mention the changes that occurred in the three short decades before that. I get overwhelmed just thinking about it! But I think that people are aware of the potential harms the technology has for face-to-face interaction. As long as we stay aware of the dangers, the technology can continue to enhance interaction between people, rather than hinder it.