Really interesting article recently shared on facebook covering the argument that cameraphones and technology leave patrons and technology users incapable of "deep engagement with anything". I guess one could also argue that by simply engaging in technology, we naturally forfeit valuable time that could be better spent focusing on really, anything and everything else that doesn't require one to be "plugged in".
One paragraph I felt kind of nailed some of my feelings on the sentiment:
"We have, as the Harvard academic and internet philosopher Lawrence Lessig puts it, shifted from a "read-only" culture to a "read/write" culture. To blame all of these changes on photography, to worry that the presence of a few cameras is the source of our inattention and self-obsession, is to confuse cause and effect."
I think until people really understand how to even quantify the true effects of technology, the question of whether technology has made everyone that uses it different degrees of stupefied, is going to remain open. Some people are obviously worse off than others. And even to render judgement, to determine who is truly a bigger self obsessed asshole, is not really anyone's job. There's way too many assholes. I feel the proposition of "technology leaving people incapable of deep engagement with anything" is surprisingly complex. The article uses the the National Gallery introducing wifi and camera phones as a specific example to elaborate that very concern.
Do I believe that we live in a world where personal technology invites users to openly interact with their environments in such a way where everything outside of us becomes an immediate opportunity to accessorize our personal narrative? Hell yes. I do it all the time. This blog is an ancient testament to that. Since the advent of photography, current nano technology has allowed cameras to be more accessible than ever before. Only very few people at one point could even afford to own a camera, and when you did take a photo everyone presently alive in your immediate family appeared together in their best dress. It just so happens that today, sharing your photos at breakneck speed, allows us to entertain those impulse curiosities we have with ourselves and others, when we have them, as we have them.
I think ultimately one the questions should be whether there is such thing as a balance to the inattention and self-obsession that technology brings out of us? And out of those who do share, who does it with more palatable discretion? With new apps and platforms created specifically to surpass the popularity of existing tools, engineered and advertised to be more convenient and fresh, do we by nature, become more self obsessed, more addicted?
Are we evolving with the technology or is it ultimately decreasing our true understanding of one another by replacing traditionally held truths and behaviors with new, uncharted ones? What are the boundaries and who sets them? Most of us are guilty of oscillating between inattention and self-obsession throughout a normal day- you don't need a camera phone and a share button to prove those shortcomings in human behavior. With social media and platforms like instagram, those once private and almost taboo character qualities we'd normally shy away from publicly, bask in the limelight of internet judgement for our children and our children's children. I guess only time well tell which direction we are headed. Some of you will read it in a newspaper, but I think most people will find out on instagram.