Final

  We are in the midst of an age of technology, and though we may feel like this has been so for a long time, in truth it has only been a couple of decades. We have been able to bridge amazing distances with the flick of our wrists, and the web has allowed anyone who wishes to publish their thoughts, opinions, and feelings do so as widely as they see fit. But we are far from understanding the manors of which technology can foster the distances, the ways it can hurt us as much as it helps. I am not, nor will I ever claim that the vast tools technology has allotted us have not lead to fruitful years, that is as undebatable as the fact that is will surely lead to many more fruitful years. But I will say that it is beginning to affect us in unpredicted ways, small tendencies that are turning into deep rooted social norms. Tendencies that hinder your social prowess and your mental clarity. Side effects of technology that lead to more restless sleep, lack of creativity and problem solving skills, stress, and a less effective memory. All of these “side effects” can be almost completely eradicated simply through awareness, which is what I wish to stress. Awareness of the effects technology has on your mind and emotional state that can hinder your mental clarity. When I say “technology,” I mean the ones we use day to day, the most commonly used, unavoidable technology. I mean cellphones, computers, the GPS in your car, the increasingly ubiquitous tools that we are beginning to forget how to go a day without relying upon.            

     

   At the end of the day, settling down to sleep, are there any of us who do not check our phone a last time or browse the internet for a few minutes, or something to that effect? Maybe a few. I will admit, I am not one of them. But the glow of our screens subtlely stimulates our brain activity. It is slight; you will not be left feeling wide awake, but it will obstruct your sleep, making it more difficult to reach the deeper levels of sleep, and more difficult to drift into the first stages as well. It can leave you with a sleeping disorder, and can also lead to depressive symptoms and stress. But most of us already know that this is true.  An article from tidally.com contains this more technical explanation; “Our study shows that a two-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 percent,” says associate professor Mariana Figueiro. “Stimulating the human circadian system to this level may affect sleep in those using the devices prior to bedtime.” It messes with your circadian rhythm (which is just an ominous way to say “sleep schedule”) by suppressing the energy you get from The Sun. A much less perturbing but no less fascinating side effect of routine use of technology is how it can affect your memory. Browsing through Facebook, Twitter, Pintrist or something like it can become something of an information overload, and make it harder to file away the important information. Your brain tends to have a difficult time knowing what to store and what to disregard, essentially. As stated here by Dr. Anthony Wagner, an associate professor of psychology at Stanford; “’When they’re in situations where there are multiple sources of information coming from the external world or emerging out of memory, they’re not able to filter out what’s not relevant to their current goal. That failure to filter means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information.’ Dr. Anthony Wagner, an associate professor of psychology at Stanford, said in a written statement. “That failure to filter means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information.The brain is deeply complicated in the way it processes and stores information, and, apparently, it is a relatively fragile equation. As stated above, the screen itself can overstimulate and mess with your sleep schedule. The information itself though, the wide variety of content on the most commonly visited sites of the internet, can negatively impact your ability to recall a piece of the information from this wave of it. This perpetuates by our ability to so easily return to those pages and pick out the specific piece of information, leading our brain to believe that we do not need to store it. A dependance is built by this “spoon feeding,” as it has been nicknamed. Decades ago, if you wanted to research a question thoroughly, you would go to the library and comb through the plethora of books until you found the piece of information you are looking for. I am not denying the wonderful help it is to just google the question and find the answer that way, but I will confidently claim that you are much more likely to remember and be able to effectively recall the information if you had to pursue it in a more long winded manor. Psychologically, this is leading us to believe that things like this are easy, leading to the likelihood of emotional unpreparedness to increase. Another reaction spoon feeding can illicit is the weakening of ones imagination. Now this is one issue that borders on heartbreaking in my opinion, or soon will if left unmonitored for a few years longer. With the ease of looking up what we want to know at the click of a mouse, we are getting more likely (though not everyone all the time, but certainly more often) to blindly accept facts rather than interpret them independently for ourselves. The internet can, in our own mind, inhibit the practicality our creative contributions. Children are more susceptible to this than adults, but the issue spans the generations exposing themselves to the tools. Children are more susceptible to all of the negative effects on technology;. they are likely to have their physical, cognitive, and social developments affected, but the effects on children are too vast to list, and a different topic altogether. Spoon feeding can affect adults and teenagers just as much, in different ways; with the older groups, it is not as deep set, for they are in not in early stages of development.  Now this is It is fascinating in a tragic kind of way, that such a helpful resource can hinder as much as it helps. I have an example for spoon feeding that may seem to specific to be relevant at first glace, but I assure that it epitomizes the way I see this issue. It is from an assigned reading of ours, called Personal Dynamic Media;“A composer could hear his composition while it was in progress, particularly if it were more complex than he was able to play. He could also bypass the incredibly tedious chore of redoing the score and producing the parts by hand. Learning to play music could be aided by being able to capture and hear one’s own attempts and compare them against expert renditions. The ability to express music in visual terms which could be filed and played means that the acts of composition and self-evaluation could be learned without having to wait for technical skill in playing.”   Now this is phrased as a positive development, but I see it as negative, and, as it happens to be in relation to a field I am somewhat practiced in, I feel the need to elaborate. It has taken me years to learn how to compose music, and the effort is the reason I cherish the ability. The charm of the accomplishment is substantially detracted from if it is easy to obtain. The enjoyment in striving for something is important to learn, but when the accomplishment is a few clicks away, the experience is reduced to the essence. Being able to compose music without reaching any notable semblance of technical skill is a beautiful metaphor for the dangers spoon feeding. It cheapens the accomplishment, it dilutes it, and, it denies the striver of an important lesson in perseverance. Spoon feeding, deterioration of imaginative capabilities, and a lack of clarity (it terms of ones memories) are all possible effects, happening to different degrees, and not always all three to everybody, or course, but the three together contribute to one possible outcome; a negative effect on a person’s problem solving capabilities. As (Engelbart)  says in Augmenting Human Intellect,First any possibility for improving the effective utilization of the intellectual power of society’s problem solvers warrants the most serious consideration.  This is because man’s problem-solving capability represents possibly the most important resource possessed by a society.  The other contenders for first importance are all critically dependent for their development and use upon this resource.  Any possibility for evolving an art or science that can couple directly and significantly to the continued development of that resource should warrant doubly serious consideration.”  Problem solving is a capacity that has a direct effect on the development of almost every other subset of mental prowess in an individual, making it doubly important to cultivate in a society as a whole. Without this resource, our generations skill sets will quickly be rendered just about obsolete. True, the tools are at the disposal of most of our society, developed by few and dispersed to the masses. But if those tools solve only specific problems, leaving some unsolved but drastically subtracting from our collective ability to solve a new problem, where are we left? How well off are we, fostering our Achilles heel while focusing on our shiny new tool? I do not mean to bash the amazing, truly stunning advances in technological development over the last decade and a half. But I will say that in a manor of speaking, some of them have led us one step forwards and two steps back.              I would like to speak of another “one step forwards, two steps back” situation that is unique to our day and age.  I am as guilty of it as the rest of us; when we are not “connected,” we get a little pang in our heart, a little worry developed, forming our incessant habits of checking our email and/or our phone. FOMO, The Fear of Missing Out sensation, or the “is everyone having fun without me?” disease. With the increasing unavoidability of social media sites, or, more so, the fact that they have become a crucial hub of information and conversation, everyone from middle schoolers to the middle aged are experiencing this new set of paranoias. We feel the pressure to attend every event and share every happening, and it perpetuates itself; it could maybe be described as peer pressure, but its not so much that as it is adhering to a social norm. It is perfectly socially acceptable to check Twitter or your email on a date, or interrupt someone in the room to answer a phone call, or, though it is thankfully becoming less socially acceptable, many of us (myself included) have no problem checking our phones while driving, risking our very lives to check and make sure that we are not becoming less connected.  There is a blog on psychcentral.com  that asks, The question is — will we ever settle for what we have, rather than cling to the fear that we may be missing out on something better?” Social media, with the potential to bring us closer together as a specie than ever possible (by a long shot, I might add) is to many of us cultivating an odd kind of distance. We did not foresee this effect. Our relationship with technology is still, in the grand scheme, quite new. Our relationship will mature in time, and we will become less dependent, but, do to human nature, it is unlikely that we will not be curious about what is happening elsewhere when the present moment fails to capture entirely. FOMO will most likely follow us as long as social media is so prominent, but I am hoping that it will shift to a less hindering level. Another term for the above mentioned phenomenon is “Facebook depression.” An article from the Huffington Post, claims; A study conducted jointly by two German universities found rampant envy on Facebook, the world’s largest social network that now has over one billion users and has produced an unprecedented platform for social comparison. The researchers found that one in three people felt worse after visiting the site and more dissatisfied with their lives, while people who browsed without contributing were affected the most. ‘We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry,” researcher Hanna Krasnova from the Institute of Information Systems at Berlin’s Humboldt University told Reuters.’”  Most of us have heard the expression, “Compare and Despair.” More elaborately phrased, if you examine your life by comparing it to a detailed description of another life, you will undoubtably be immensely disappointed. This in itself is far from a new social development. I am sure that people have been doing just this for hundreds of years,  longer, since the dawn of civilized man. But with the gift that is social media, it becomes almost impossible to not fall into the afore mentioned tendency. Not only that, but the “detailed life” we end up comparing ours to is one that has been careful crafted by another, inadvertently or otherwise, to reflect a specific version of that person, which may not be altogether dishonest, but is unlikely to be anywhere close to completely honestly one hundred percent accurate. We display our best-of moments on social media, the best days, the wittiest comments, the most beautiful pictures, until what we have is a highlight reel for our friends to look over and approve. What we end up with is a breeding ground for insecurity. Even the more emotionally sound individuals will surely find themselves feeling those quiet pangs of anxiety, how could they not? We only see what they want to show (for the most part), their highlight reel and compare it to our full product. It is not a fair comparison, but it is one that is hard not to make without actively resisting it. So resist! Let social media be the wonderful tool it can be, promoting communication and not insecurity. It is possible, I assure, and in time it will hopefully shift to the best version it can be, if we are aware of what is between us and that best version.                 But the problem is not just with the devices themselves, it often lies in the ways we combine them. Multitasking is something we all partake in every day, be it texting while driving, sending an email while watching T.V., pursuing social media while talking to a friend, or any of the infinite combinations we explore, we the pioneers of multitasking. In the moment, it feels more efficient, but as explained biologically in this article,  “Doing multiple tasks overstimulates and fatigues the frontal lobe, the part of our brains which regulates problem-solving and decision-making. Unsurprisingly, this slows down our efficiency and ultimately takes its toll on our overall performance. Multi-tasking also leads to the build-up of cortisol, the predominant stress hormone. And stress, as we all know, can reap havoc on the immune system, leaving us open to all kinds of infections and illnesses. The science is clear – we can only focus on one thing at a time. When we try to undertake another task at the same time, we must ‘switch’ attention, directly impacting our concentration levels and performance.” Stress, we all feel it. It is almost unavoidable in this day of multitasking. I thought it an emotional effect, but I learned upon my research that it has to do with the release of hormones that lead to the emotional shift. It can not be felt with in a way other than slowing down and focusing on one thing at a time. It is not as easy endeavor. The pace of our generation is rapidly increasing as we strive to remain connected and in contact all the time. But we cannot evade this biological reaction to it, it is simply not possible. If you try and complete a number of tasks at once, than it will cause a release of cortical, the predominant stress hormone, and you will end up doing a worse job on each of the jobs that you wished to complete at one time, it an effort to increase efficiency. Multitasking makes stress unavoidable, and stress is one of the greatest hinderers of mental clarity that there is. As stated before, I do not in anyway feel that the variety of stunning accomplishments technology has let us achieve should be denied, not at all. My goal is to promote awareness of the ways technology can cause mental fogginess, that lack of clarity that most of us feel and do not know what to blame it on. None of these effects are deep set yet, not one of them it etched in stone. All of them are, essentially, reversible and avoidable through simple awareness. It may not seem a drastic tragic inconvenience to lose a bit of sleep, for example, from the overuse of technology before bed. By this I mean, looking at one effect alone it may seem to be not a widespread issue at all, but a small price to pay for a luxury. This is invalid for two reasons; one, examining one effect does not illustrate the potential severity of the combined effects, and two, this shift is still in its first stages. That is why it is so important to promote thoughtful awareness about these effects; the issue is not yet emotionally or socially crippling. If we keep in mind what the potential outcome could be, then we are doing all we need to to insure that technology will continue to be the thought expanding life altering resource that it is meant to be. I would like to conclude with my favorite quote, an optimistic but grounded one,  from Computer Lib / Dream Machines, about how technology (or “the media”) remains malleable, we can shape it how we want to to be, avoiding the opposite; “It matters because we live in media, as fish live in water. But today, at this moment, we can and must design the media, design the molecules of our new water, and I believe the details of this design matter very deeply. They will be with us for a very long time, perhaps as long as man has left; perhaps if they are as good as they can be, man may buy even more time— or the open-ended future most suppose remains.”

Taylor, Kate. “Why Screen Use Keeps You Awake.” Tgdaily.com. N.p., 28 Aug. 2012. Web. 22 July 2014.
“How The Internet Is Rewiring Your Brain.” Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, N.p., 30 Oct. 2013. Web. 20 July 2014.
“1 Introduction.” Personal Dynamic Media.  N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2014.
“I. INTRODUCTION1.” Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2014.
Grohol, John M., Psy.D. “FOMO Addiction: The Fear of Missing Out.” Web log post. Psychcentral.com. N.p., 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 July 2014.
Grandoni, Dino. “Facebook Study Says Envy Is Rampant On The Social Network.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 22 Jan. 2013. Web. 28 July 2014.
“Multitasking Leads To Stress and Fatigue.” Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, N.p., 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 25 July 2014.
Nelson, Theodor H. Computer Lib ; Dream Machines. Redmond, WA: Tempus of Microsoft, 1987. Print.

Inquiry Project

I am heading out of internet reception tomorrow, and am not as far on my paper as I was hoping to be, but I would welcome any and all peer reviews! Here it is;

          We are in the midst of an age of technology, and though we may feel like this has been so for a long time, in truth it has only been a couple of decades. We have been able to bridge amazing distances with the flick of out wrist, and the web has aloud anyone who wishes to publish there thoughts, opinions, and feelings as widely as they see fir. But we are far from understanding the manors on which technology can foster the distances, the ways it can breed apathy and indifference when left uncheck. These are two traits all societies should actively avoid; apathy and indifference. Both of with are spawned by anxiety, isolation, and incivility. I am not and will never claim that the vast tools technology has allotted us have not lead to fruitful years, that is undebatable. But, is a social and emotional sense, it has lead to an increasingly barren season. All of these tendencies can be almost completely eradicated simply through awareness, which is what I wish to stress in writing this. None of the following issues are irreversibly written in stone, all of them can be remedied in time. I wish to stress how pressing I find the issue, and the specific subsets of the ways our technology has effected us emotionally, and in doing so, shifted our cultures accepted cultural norms.
            I would like to start with writing about one of the biggest effects technology has on us that we may not realize; how much it can alter our sleep schedules. At the end of the day, settling down to sleep, are there any of us who do not check our phone a last time or browse the internet for a few minutes, or something to that affect? Maybe a few. I will admit, I am not one of them. But the glow of our screens subtitling stimulates our brain activity. It is slight; you will not be left feeling wide awake, but it will obstruct your sleep, making it more difficult to reach the deeper levels of sleep, and more difficult to drift into the first stages as well. It can leave you with a sleeping disorder, and can also lead to depressive symptoms and stress. But most of us already know that this is true.  An article from tidally.com contains this more technical explanation; “Our study shows that a two-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 percent,” says associate professor Mariana Figueiro. “Stimulating the human circadian system to this level may affect sleep in those using the devices prior to bedtime.” It messes with your circadian rhythm (which is just an ominous way to say “sleep schedule”) by suppressing the energy you get from The Sun. I personally find this as fascinating as it is terrifying.
                A much less terrifying but no less fascinating side effect of routine use of technology is how it can affect your memory. Browsing through Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest or something like it can become something on an information overload, and make it harder to file away the important information. Your brain tends to have a difficult time knowing what to store and what to disregard, essentially. As stated here by Dr. Anthony Wagner, an associate professor of psychology at Stanford; “When they’re in situations where there are multiple sources of information coming from the external world or emerging out of memory, they’re not able to filter out what’s not relevant to their current goal. That failure to filter means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information.” The brain is deeply complicated in the way it processes and stores information, and, apparently, it is a relatively fragile equation. As stated above, the screen itself can overstimulate and mess with your sleep schedule. The information itself though, the wide variety of content on the most commonly visited sites of the internet, can negatively impact your ability to recall a piece of the information from this wave of it. This perpetuates by our ability to so easily return to those pages and pick out the specific piece of information, leading our brain to believe that we do not need to store it. A dependance is built by this “spoon feeding,” as it has been nicknamed. Decades ago, if you wanted to research a question thoroughly, you would go to the library and comb through the plethora of books until you found the piece of information you are looking for. I am not denying the wonderful help it is to just google the question and find the answer that way, but I will confidently claim that you are much more likely to remember and be able to effectively recall the information if you had to pursue it in a more long winded manor. Psychologically, this is leading us to believe that things like this are easy, leading to the likelihood of emotional unpreparedness to increase.
             Another reaction spoon feeding can illicit is the weakening of ones imagination. Now this is one issue that borders on heartbreaking in my opinion, or soon will if left unmonitored for a few years longer. With the ease of looking up what we want to know at the click of a mouse, we are getting more likely (though not everyone all the time, but certainly more often) to blindly accept facts rather than interpret them independently for ourselves. The internet can, in our own mind, inhibit the practicality our creative contributions. Children are more susceptible to this than adults, but the issue spans the generations exposing themselves to the tools. Children are more susceptible to all of the negative effects on technology, in fact. They are likely to have their physical, cognitive, and social developments affected! But the effects on children are too vast to list, and a different topic all together. Spoon feeding effects adults and teenagers as much, in different ways; with the older groups, it is not as deep set, for they are in not in early stages of development.  It is fascinating in a tragic kind of way, that such a helpful resource can hinder as much as it helps.
                 Overuse of technology can lead to anxiety and insecurity, which I will elaborate on later, but the most recent development in this area is FOMO, The Fear of Missing Out sensation, or the “is everyone having fun without me?” disease. With the increasing unavoidability of social media sites, or, more so, the fact that they have become a crucial hub of information and conversation, everyone from middle schoolers to the middle aged are experiencing this new set of paranoias. We feel the pressure to attend every event and share every happening, and it perpetuates itself; it could maybe be described as peer pressure, but its not so much that as it is adhering to a social norm. It is perfectly socially acceptable to check Twitter or your email on a date, or interrupt someone in the room to answer a phone call, or, though it is thankfully becoming less socially acceptable, many of us (myself included) have no problem checking our phones while driving, risking our very lives to check and make sure that we are not becoming less connected. There is a blog on psychcentral.com that asks, “The question is — will we ever settle for what we have, rather than cling to the fear that we may be missing out on something better?” Our relationship with technology is still, in the grand scheme, quite new. Our relationship will mature in time, and we will become less dependent, but, do to human nature, it is unlikely that we will not be curious about what is happening elsewhere when the present moment fails to capture entirely. FOMO will most likely follow us as long as social media is so prominent, but I am hoping that it will shift to a less hindering level. 
                There is another anxiety blooming for the first time in our day and age that I would like to describe, while the subject of social media is the focus. Most of us have heard the expression, “Compare and Despair.” More elaborately phrased, if you examine your life by comparing it to a detailed description of anthers life, you will undoubtably be immensely disappointed. This in itself is far from a new social development, I am sure that people have been doing just this for hundreds of years,  longer, since the dawn of civilized man. But with the gift that is sisal media, it becomes almost impossible to not fall into the afore mentioned tendency. Not only that, but the “detailed life” we end up comparing ours to is one that has been careful crafted by another, inadvertently or otherwise, to reflect a specific version of that person, which may not be altogether dishonest, but is unlikely to be anywhere close to completely honestly one hundred percent accurate. We display our best-of moments on social media, the best days, the wittiest comments, the most beautiful pictures, until what we have is a highlight reel for our friends to look over and approve. What we end up with is a breeding ground for insecurity. Even the more emotionally sound individuals will surely find themselves feeling those quiet pangs of anxiety, how could they not? We only see what they want to show (for the most part), their highlight reel and compare it to our full product. It is not a fair comparison, but it is one that is hard not to make without actively resisting it. So resist! Let social media be the wonderful tool it can be, promoting communication and not insecurity. It is possible, I assure, and in time it will hopefully shift to the best version it can be, if we are aware of what is between us and that best version.
Whats left;
I need to write the conclusion, first off,  but also add in the rest of my sources, and post my bibliography.

Future Thoughts

The focus of my topic is the emotional effects of technology, specifically the negative effects, which I settled for; the amount of positive effects written about and published were so few that a list of the two would be skewed. I think over the next ten years, this will change and there will be a lot more published on these ideas, and, hopefully, on both ends of the spectrum. In time, there will be more research done, instead of just theory and speculation, which is a large portion of the literature on the matter today. But the research will be difficult to gather, because the changes are subtle and over time, not to mention, often relatively unconscious. And even once the data is gather and processed, none of it will apply to everyone, for technology effects us all differently. But I do think the coming decade will expand upon this issue, for I feel it will become more and more prominent with the further growth of technology at our disposal.

EDIT:

The Internet has not been in widespread use for as long as we may feel like it has. Cell phones haven’t been popularly embraced for very long either. These are the main two technological waves of the last stretch of tim that have effected us the most, socially, and so I infer that they will be the two/are the two to cause the most significant emotional shift. As a society, we are beginning to feel the shifts, but it hasn’t really been long enough yet to predict what will happen next, or to confidently explain what has happened already. These are some things I want to write about a bit in my final project, but it will not be easy to find writings on the matters, because I truly believe that it will take more time to understand the topic fully. My paper will not so much argue a side of an issue as it will argue there is an issue. The negative qualities are the ones most readily available, so they will be examined and elaborated on by me, but it would be wonderful is someone were to happen across what I wrote, disagree completely and write about the opposing view. Thats what we need, is more people actively thinking about this topic, learning more about the effects our technology has on our psyche that we don’t know are taking place/may not like very much.

Personal Dynamic Media

A composer could hear his composition while it was in progress, particularly if it were more complex than he was able to play. He could also bypass the incredibly tedious chore of redoing the score and producing the parts by hand. Learning to play music could be aided by being able to capture and hear one’s own attempts and compare them against expert renditions. The ability to express music in visual terms which could be filed and played means that the acts of composition and self-evaluation could be learned without having to wait for technical skill in playing.”

All of the other nuggets from readings that I have chosen for my posts are because they were my favorite part from that given reading assignment. I enjoyed Personal Dynamic Media, but I choose this part of it because I feel I have an insight into what it is saying, and an opinion that does not line up with the one expressed. I have been learning and playing music for 8 years, and writing music for 2. My two brothers have been making music as much as I have, and writing even more than I have (they study music, so they have more time for it in their schedule). I can attest that it is pretty unlikely to be able to compose music beyond your technical skill level. For the most part, your technical skill level will be the most accurate summation of what you currently understand about the instrument. Being able to apply theoretical knowledge that you cannot work out technically may make sense in other fields, but as far as in music, it would be like using a word outside of your vocabulary. True, as said, you may learn more rapidly being able to hear all of your attempts and compare them, and more visual learners will surely flourish by use of this tool. But I have not met anyone who is writing music more complicated than they themselves have the ability to perform. In my experience, the mind does not really work that way, in terms of creative composition. Perhaps they are out there, a few geniuses here and there who this comes easy to, but it was said in a broad sense, and I felt the need to state that I find it a falsehood.

Prospectus

I have been pursuing information about the emotional effects of technology. For the first few stages of my research, my topic was more broad, and so some of the information I have accumulated will not be of use to be in my final paper, although all of it was informative and interesting, and some of it is directly relevant. Much of it was about the change in the way we process information, which naturally effects how we process our emotions/react to our surroundings in an emotional sense. I am sure there are positive effects as well as negative in this regard, but of the small amount of writings I have found on the subject, next to none of them have included the positive side of the issue. And so, I will end up focusing on the potential harmful effects, in hopes that they will inform on how to avoid/lessen the emotionally hindering reactions to excessive use of technology.

I have found that the use of technology an average to above average amount can make you feel more self conscious, can make you much more forgetful, and increase the odds of a restless nights sleep. All of this leads to a potential lack of mental clarity and emotional health. I think it is important to understand these possibilities because they are as easy to let get out of hand as they are to avoid entirely. The effects will not ruin your life, I do not mean to make it sound so dramatic, but I feel the unpleasant effects most days, and am learning that they are easily remedied.

And that is what I want to show upon my complete investigation. What the negative emotional effects of technology are, what causes them, and how to avoid them. The goal being to avoid these undesirable developments while still being able to utilize the amazing tools our day and age allows us.

Nugget Curation

As We May Think (Bush):
“If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get far in our understanding of the physical world. One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability.”

Man Computer Symbiosis (Licklider):                                                                  “The first thing to face is that we shall not store all the technical and scientific papers in computer memory. We may store the parts that can be summarized most succinctly-the quantitative parts and the reference citations-but not the whole. Books are among the most beautifully engineered, and human-engineered, components in existence, and they will continue to be functionally important within the context of man-computer symbiosis. Hopefully, the computer will expedite the finding, delivering, and returning of books.”

Augmenting Human Intellect (Engelbart):

First any possibility for improving the effective utilization of the intellectual power of society’s problem solvers warrants the most serious consideration.  This is because man’s problem-solving capability represents possibly the most important resource possessed by a society.  The other contenders for first importance are all critically dependent for their development and use upon this resource.  Any possibility for evolving an art or science that can couple directly and significantly to the continued development of that resource should warrant doubly serious consideration.

Computer Lib/Dream Machines (Nelson):
The system of tensions and defenses it creates in the student’s personality are unrelated to the subject or the way people might relate to the subject. An exploitive attitude is fostered. Not becoming involved with the subject, the student grabs for rote payoff rather than insight.”
There were not as many similarities between these four nuggets as I had hoped there would be, but I did find several differences that I can write about. Three of them have a lot to do with technologies effect on society, and although they do not touch on the emotional aspect (which is what I want to write about), they are still quite relevant. Two of them also have to do with mental health and sociology, which are two other tags I have been using on my Diigo account.
(#technologyseffectonsociety). The second nugget, by Licklider from Man-Computer Symbiosis indirectly says a lot about the effect technology has had upon our intellectual priorities since the time the writing was first published. At that time, it was stresses that not everything would be digitalized, only  “ …the parts that can be summarized most succinctly-the quantitative parts and the reference citations-but not the whole.” This has certainly shifted. Almost everything is becoming digitalized these days! But that is because science and technology have progressed, solving past problems, making it so much easier to record the information that way.
Which brings me to the other nugget about the effects of technology, Augmenting Human Intellect by Engelbart.  Engelbart stresses that our mental prowess is directly related to our problem solving abilities. But we have gotten to the point where our problem solving abilities are directly related to the amount of technology we have at our disposal. It is not us straining our intellects anymore, it is the creations of another that are doing the grunt work.
The third nugget I will connect to this thought, the one by Nelson, Computer Lib/Dream Machines. Nelson claims, we are “Not becoming involved with the subject, the student grabs for rote payoff rather than insight.” When we look up a piece of information we need, we are not embracing the subject, we are sifting through the subject for the answer we are looking for. This ties into my #mentalhealth tag, but even more so, into  #sociology. This right here  is exactly what I want to write my paper on, the social and emotional effects of technology society/a person.
 #NuggetCuration  #ConnectingIdeas.

Panning For Nuggets 2

Social media may make it easier to connect with others, but recent research by German scientists suggests that constantly viewing images of others’ vacation photos, personal achievements, etc. can trigger strong feelings of envy, even sadness. Researchers have even described the phenomenon as “Facebook depression.” “We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry,” Hanna Krasnova, a researcher at Berlin’s Humboldt University, told Reuters.” 

Shocking-ways-internet-rewires-brain

Fascinating the emerging terminology, “Facebook Depression.” Even more interesting is the fact that no one will need a definition for that term, upon simply reading the two words we know exactly the feelings the scholar who composed the term is referring to. That fear of missing out that is specific to this day and age, the new paranoia we have developed inadvertently.

Even when we’re all careful to use the Internet only to exchange information, problems can still arise. People tend to delay answering emails when they don’t have what they consider to be good answers or when they want to avoid whatever responsibility the email demands of them. But this is like being asked a question in person and rather than responding, “I don’t know” or “I’ll have to think about it,” turning on your heels and walking away in silence. It’s far easier to ignore an email sender’s request than a request from someone made in person because an email sender’s hope to get a response or frustration in not receiving one remains mostly invisible. But it’s every bit as rude. Our “emotional invisibility” on the Internet perhaps also explains so much of the vitriol we see on so many websites. People clearly have a penchant for saying things in the electronic world they’d never say to people in person because the person to whom they’re saying it isn’t physically present to display their emotional reaction. It’s as if the part of our nervous system that registers the feelings of others has been paralyzed or removed when we’re communicating electronically, as if we’re drunk and don’t realize or don’t care that our words are hurting others.”

The-Effect-of-technology-on-relationships

We are all guilty of this, utilizing the simple “emotional invisibility” (another term crafted for this emotional shift) that our technology allows us. Originally, I wanted my topic to be about how technology has changed the way we process information, and how has that affected the way we learn. But, upon further research, I want it to be more so about how it has effected us emotionally. There is not as much published work about it, but it is a topic I am much more passionate about.

Moreover, we have become excessively dependent on technology. Is so much of dependency good? Is it right to rely on machines to such an extent? Is it right to depend on computers rather than relying on human intellect? Computer technology and robotics are trying to substitute for human intellect. With the fast advancing technology, we have started harnessing artificial intelligence in many fields. Where is the digital divide going to take us? How is our ‘tomorrow’ going to be? ‘Machines replacing human beings’ does not portray a rosy picture, does it? 

I think that this is a bit of a dramatic way to phrase a set of ideas that I have been looking to find in a scholarly source, but as I hadn’t found them mentioned in another, I thought they should be included. The tools are amazing, but we are relying on them more and more, at alarming rates. Your phone dies and you are socially shipwrecked. The progress is undeniable, but the dependency is dangerous.

#panningfornuggets  #portablethought

Panning for Nuggets

“The Internet is an amazing tool. But even as it’s shrunk the world and brought us closer together, it’s threatened to push us further apart. Like any useful tool, to make technology serve us well requires the exercise of good judgment. For whatever reason, the restraints that stop most of us from blurting out things in public we know we shouldn’t seem far weaker when our mode of communication is typing. Unfortunately, typed messages often wound even more gravely, while electronic messages of remorse paradoxically have little power to heal. Perhaps we just don’t think such messages have the same power to harm as when we we say them in person. Perhaps in the heat of the moment without another’s physical presence to hold us back, we just don’t care. Whatever the reason, it’s clearly far easier for us to be meaner to one another online. “

The usefulness of the array of tools technology has added to our disposal is not debatable. But like any tool, used foolishly, it can unravel progress that has been made. We think all the time about how computers effect us intellectually, but not nearly as often do we stop and reflect on the varying emotional effects that we may not be feeling as much, but they are certainly present. I did not pick this nugget because I completely agree, it was chosen for its inclusion of the afore mentioned emotional effects. It is from an article on psychologytoday.com, called “The Effect Of Technology On Relationships.”

An excessive use of machines in every field can result in an under-utilization of human brains.  The impact of technology on society is deep. It is both positive and negative. Technology has largely influenced every aspect of living. It has made life easy, but so easy that it may lose its charm one day. One can cherish an accomplishment only if it comes after effort. But everything has become so easily available due to technology that it has lost its value. There is a certain kind of enjoyment in achieving things after striving for them. But with everything a few clicks away, there is no striving, there’s only striking. With the developments in technology, we may be able to enjoy all the pricey luxuries in life but at the cost of losing its priceless joys.”

This is another writing on the dangers of the powerful tool we are embracing, but I like it more than the first, for it realizes and states that the effects are both positive and negative, but deep. There are not nearly as many scholarly articles on the emotional effects of technology on society (which is currently how I’d phrase what I’d like to eventually write about for this class). To some it is an asset, to some it can be an undoing. What a powerful force, to have the ability to drastically change in either direction! But I get ahead of myself, the issue is not so black and white, nor are the stakes always that high.

 

Computer Lib / Dream Machines

I really enjoyed this reading, and had a hard time choosing what to write about for that reason, which is a wonderful problem to have! I ended up relating the most with the quote, “The system of tensions and defenses it creates in the student’s personality are unrelated to the subject or the way people might relate to the subject. An exploitive attitude is fostered. Not becoming involved with the subject, the student grabs for rote payoff rather than insight.”  In the supposed pursuit of knowledge, we end up pursuing the reward for the knowing of it, instead of the will to expand our minds. It is not about the subject anymore, be it math, science, history, any of them, it is about the end goal. LEarning should not be about the end goal, learning is a process that can never end by its nature! Not the most uplifting quote, the one I picked, but I loved the way it was articulated. An exploitive attitude is fostered, that is so well put and simply. This way of teaching has become commonplace, and it is not entirely the teachers faults, but it is their duty to change it. And, hopefully, we as students can aide in that shift as well.

I read an article a while back called Bird by Bird that I wanted to include. Some of it is about writing, and though that part is masterfully crafted as well, the segment about how perfectionism kills creativity is the one I deem most relevant. It brings the whole public school system to mind in the way it describes.

***

There is a line in a post by ewingjm2, quoting Nadeem Aslam (who I looked up and learned he is a prize-winning British Pakistani novelist).  “Pull a thread here and you’ll find it’s attached to the rest of the world.” There were a couple of lines in the reading, about how teachers separate information into sections, subjects, and how they should not, because it is limiting. Those sections were not included in the post, but the quote above brought them back to mind. I wish I had had Nadeem Aslams quote in my head, for I would have used it and written about those afore mentioned sections. 

shabanm had a particularly good post about the “information revolution.” We truly are in the midst of one. There has never been so much information at our disposal, to the point that the “internet titans,” as she puts it, of Google and Facebook emerged as we adapted to find ways to maneuver the mazes of the web, to find what is useful and cast aside the inconsequential. That whole train of thought was mapped out beautifully in the post.

tariktilahun had a paragraph so profound I cannot resist posting its entirety here; “What is very compelling is to wonder how far we can go in dissecting problems to their core and whether or not it is inevitably in our fate that we cannot unravel all of the world’s mysteries. Surely, we strive to make new and efficient progresses as we transition from one era of human intelligence to another. The essence of human existence is that we are in a race to improve. But with whom is the race? The natural world?” I have been thinking about this all day. We will always strive to solve, and we will always make progress, but contentment in this endeavor is impossible to reach. We cannot solve it all, and, there will always be more emerging, more unanswered questions will come to be then I could ever know. This sent me into a wonderful philosophical spiral, and I am truly grateful. “With whom is the race?” Who knows, but I doubt the race will ever end.

Reflection/Comparison

It is a wide variety of topics we have to sift through for articles to add to our Diigo libraries! With such a plethora of research being done, I’m sure it was not too difficult for all of us to find tree or more students with some research overlap. One researcher in particular, Maryam Kaymanesh, had several articles that I loved to read. Teacher beliefs and technology integration was the most helpful, but she had several others that I will remember to reread before writing a first draft on y topic. Another who posted a few that were helpful was kahn_artist, sharing Technology’s Toll – Impatience and Forgetfulness, and This Is How The Internet Is Rewiring Your Brain, both of  which really helped me round out the other part of my research question.  Lastly,  mjminutoli posted an article called  Visual Culture Is Taking Over, about how the internet is shaping the way we process information in all parts of our lives. 

In m original nugget post, I could have picked an article that elaborated on more than one example, and thoroughly, as all of the above do. But more importantly, I should have broadened my topic earlier on.