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View Diary: Your iPhone may be killing people (271 comments)

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  •  How is a smart phone a toy? (1+ / 0-)
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    Sparhawk

    And even so, why shouldn't we have toys?  How is austerity a virtue?  We should protect the environment, but we can do that and still have toys.

    •  Very good question! (1+ / 0-)
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      songsparrow

      Why, indeed. Ok, here's how I see it:

      Toys and entertainments are distractions and easy passtimes wherein we can avoid doing other things that keep humanity intact as follows:

      1. socializing and creating community without which no political changes can come;
      1. we are facing stunningly powerful problems that are unprecedented in human history--climate change, for example, could (not will that we don't know) cause dramatic feedback loops that could signal major environmental degradation and not only mass die-offs of animals (already occuring) but human die-off. In addition, we are still facing the issues of war and very dangerous weapons that could devastate all live on earth.

      The more we look at these issues the more we want to avoid dealing with them and thus spend enormous amounts of time online on cable and on phone. If you feel comfortable with that then what can I say. Having lived in places where techonology was barely available I saw the quality of human interaction increase. In other words, less technology, more high bandwidth interation with people and the natural world which is, to me, endlessly engaging.

      If I can assign one thing that is keeping us from dealing with life realistically and rationally it is that we are way too distracted to think straight.

      •  I completely disagree! :) (2+ / 0-)
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        Sparhawk, tari

        I guess I am a tech optmist.  I think tech brings people together in a powerful way.  I don't believe, nor do studies suggest, that social media and tech toys weaken our communities.  They strengthen and enlarge them.  I think that learning forward technologies are emblematic of our desire to learn and engage, not hide.  So I completely disagree.

        •  Thanks for your honesty (0+ / 0-)

          Don't see the strengthening and enlarging bit. I see that communities are less strong and less engaged. Witness the increasing dominance of oligarchies in our society.

          It is far harder to make social/politial change now than it was 30-40 years ago because people lack the sense of giving up personal comforts for a greater good since technology is able to give them more instant gratification and virtual interactions that don't demand commitment and can be stopped at any time they become uncomfortable.

          Despite the advancement of climate science there is less likelihood today of doing anything significant about climate change than there was 20 years ago. What happened? I say it is mass entertainment and the internet that has disabled a certain part of us that interacts with the real world.

          BTW, I do like technology and machines and work in the IT field--so I'm not a technophobe.

          •  I'm glad. (0+ / 0-)

            "Don't see the strengthening and enlarging bit. I see that communities are less strong and less engaged. Witness the increasing dominance of oligarchies in our society."
            I think the opposite is happening.  15 and 20 years ago our highly mobile work force and the trend of strengthening exurbs tore our communities apart.  As young professionals and families return to the cities, communities are growing back to.  And technology makes it easier to do that even within our hectic work life.

            "It is far harder to make social/politial change now than it was 30-40 years ago because people lack the sense of giving up personal comforts for a greater good since technology is able to give them more instant gratification and virtual interactions that don't demand commitment and can be stopped at any time they become uncomfortable."  Again I disagree.  Most of the social change that happened was changed that benefited a much poorer, mostly white middle class.  And what they got were real material benefits.  Most of the social change that needs to happen now is either based on environmental problems or the needs of the a mostly minority underclass.  The same white working, middle class voters who fought for change before are now against it, fearing costs they will have to bear but "those people" won't.  Status anxiety is much more a driver, imo, than smart phones for the difficulty of social change.

            I'm sure you aren't a technophobe.  But I think you only see the down side of tech, a downside that imo applies much more to television than online.  People who are "entertained" on the net are much more likely to support claimate and social action than the TV viewers, I'd bet.

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