Ally Hammond - Manifesto

1) Technology should enhance our lives to make them easier, not control them and add an extra burden to day-to-day life.
Technology should not be the controlling drive of our lives. We should not be constantly attached to our Crackberrys (guilty) but rather be able to incorporate what the Blackberry can offer into our lives to improve them: using the calendar to sync all of our activities into one nifty hand-held gadget. I think that a lot of the time I overlook this principle. If I get a text I will most likely drop whatever I’m doing to see what the text message says. Is it important? Most of the time, definitely not; however, I think it’s an important mantra to remember that you control the technology and let it do things for you, and it does not monitor you. I think that this is an important aspect to consider because, especially in today’s always moving society we forget to slow down, unplug, and put down the phone (ipad, whatever). Sometimes it is hard to realize that we created these devises to help us be more efficient. By taking the time to realize this, we could stop being overwhelmed by our technology, and use it to its full, effective, potential.
In her study, Emily Hase-Raney discsses both the advantages and disadvantages of not constantly using technology at all times. Today, nobody really understands how to be “unplugged” they don’t know how to ignore the blinking red light staring them in the face. By learning to use technology for our own good, and not be tied to the beck and call of everybody else, would be incredibly beneficial as well as allow ample real life communication (which I think is what we all strive for).

2) Technology should improve humans’ technological standard of living: nothing should be made with no exact purpose in mind nor without the usability considered.

Technology, as invented for humans by humans, should be here strictly to improve our standard of living. I see no point in developing something that will not help further the human race either medically or technologically. I think it is important not to waste resources on flat-line projects, or any technological endeavor that does not directly improve our lives. Society may have a problem with this principle strictly because people like new things, and may wish to invent new technologies just to have them (ie: the ipad. What exactly is it’s purpose? not too sure yet...). Doesn't creating technologies that do not have a specific purpose seem like a waste of time and resources? To rag on ipad again, there are tons of articles, blogs, and even ehow pages that ask the same question: what is this for? It may look cool, but why have it? Why create something with brain power and money that could be used to go somewhere else? However, I think that people, in general, would agree that technology should not be made which is complicated or cannot be used efficiently or to everybody’s best interest. By creating streamline technology which is (relatively) easy to use and understand, technological advancements will surely enhance everybody’s standards of life.

3) The line between humans and virtual humanity should not be blurred by technology.
In Turkle’s Alone Together there was a section speaking about how the high school student’s online personas were different than their in real life personas. I believe that technology should not be used explicitly for trying to improve your view of yourself to others. (I would like to now point out a difference between detagging pictures where you look like a drunken mess/beached whale/dumb, because that is acceptable. People saw you at that time, there’s just no need for it to be documented on the internet. I am strictly discussing actions such as stretching your picture so you appear thinner, or pretending to like a certain band on Facebook because you think that’s cool—basically altering something about yourself online to come off in a certain light.) Teenagers on Facebook are too concerned with being cool online, why wouldn’t you focus your efforts into being cool in real life? I think that society could benefit from this ideal as a whole: falsehood would be diminished, self esteem possibly rise in teenagers, and overall creating a more realistic internet.
Turkle speaks specifically to teens uploading images to be a “fantasy of who we want to be. Distinctions blur” (Turkle 158). By blurring distinctions between real life representations, and online representations, nothing is true, nothing is real until it is seen in person.

(Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York: Basic, 2010.)

4) All children should be using technology from elementary years onwards in school.
In today’s society there is no excuse for all children not to know how to use technology—especially if it furthers their educational experiences. By integrating technology into classrooms in schools, under-privileged children will not be left out of today’s society making it impossible for them to function. I think this is important to acclimate children to technology because it is such a big part of everybody’s lives. Toady none of us go anywhere without our cell phones or laptops, I have a usb-drive with me at all times just in case, and use different forms of technology everyday. Without fundamental skills learned early in life, children might fall behind: even as simple as a basic typing class in the younger grades of elementary school would help children to excel. Children's ability to pick up on technology quickly allows them to be able to grasp a prevalent aspect of society, while learning or expanding on what they have learned in the classroom.
I think that all children should have the opportunity to excel in their technology-driven society.

5) Technology should still respect the privacy of the individual.
When I Google myself, there are tons of websites that come up saying “find Ally Hammond’s personal information: telephone numbers, street address…” et cetera. The internet provides such a vast majority of information at anybody’s finger tips right away, however I feel as though privacy should be a fundamental right for every person. Personal information should not be for sale on the internet, and should be able to be protected for every person. In class, it was briefly discussed that in the future privacy may be privatized and you will have to buy how much privacy you would like to have. I don’t find that fair at all: for an example, my grandparents don’t own a computer and never access the internet; if unfavorable information is circulating about them (doubtful, but potentially possible), they have no way of knowing how much privacy they need to purchase. For underprivileged households, the same idea applies. Just because the information is out there, does not mean it should be made totally accessible to the public. In addition to my grandparent's situation, Katherine David's study talks about websites such as VTnopants and People of Walmart in where people featured on these websites have no idea that they are becoming an instant internet sensation. Is that fair, that just because the internet is there, we can abuse people's privacy for our own entertainment? Technology should still strive to respect and protect the privacy of individuals.

6) Technology should be meaningfully used in classes, when appropriate.
As per our e-portfolio discussion on considered replies, technology used in class is not always a good thing. However, using technology in classes to improve the standards of learning, or how the students learn, would be completely beneficial and should be used. Laptops given to students in high school are mainly used for games and browsing Facebook in class (much like the Enginerds who get ipads for their senior design projects). However incorporating tools like learning html coding or using Photoshop to design projects is completely beneficial to the students, actually aiding them in the long run. The use of technology purely for the use of technology—like the e-portfolio or providing ipods for all Duke students—normally ends up a waste, and does not contribute anything positive to anybody. In society this would probably save schools a lot of money in the technology department which they could put towards advancing other departments: avoiding the use of technology just to use it, and benefiting others.