Andrea Long: Manifesto

Andrea Long

“We should accept the idea that technology’s advancement is inevitable and utilize all it has to offer.”
This idea comes from Kelly’s “What Technology Wants” on pages 139-140. The principle states that technology will advance regardless of humanity’s wants and needs, and is highly controversial due to the feelings of surrender it brings. The idea of this principle, however, is not that we cannot shape or change the course of this advancement, but simply emphasizes that the advancement will happen whether we want it to or not. This principle was chosen because it is one that we discussed multiple times in class and it was one of the main points of Kelly’s book. I adopted this principle, not because I think it is really a positive thing, but rather because I feel that the opposite would end in catastrophe. If we were to slow down the advancement of technology, many would see this as moving backward in our evolution because as the saying goes, “if you are not moving forward you are moving backward.” If others were to adopt this principle as well, there might be a surge in technological output and our evolution might even “speed up,” if you will. The adoption of this principle would also imply that rules and regulations regarding the development of technology might need to be changed since the focus would shift to full utilization of technology. In addition, it would increase the amount of jobs in the industry due to less restrictions and an increased urge for development and utilization. This principle should be considered because it is far reaching and extends far beyond a simple piece of technology to encompass technology and our future as a whole. It integrates ideas of technology as inevitable while at the same time suggesting we utilize it in every possible facet to decrease feelings of vulnerability and surrender.

“Technology makes us 'better' humans, so we should integrate it into our lives.”
This idea comes from Turkle’s “Alone Together” on page 152, where she is explaining that many people feel like “better” humans with technology and they feel “lesser” or not as good without it. This comes in the section where she is discussing cyborgs and how humans are becoming much like, or even early versions of, cyborgs. Her argument is against this integration; but I believe that in many ways technology does make us “better” humans, though the term “better” can be debated all day (i.e. what is better?). So the main idea here is that technology expands our minds and gives us abilities and things that were seen as unreachable or impossible before, which ultimately makes us “better” humans, in my opinion. I adopted this principle because I think that the more people are willing to accept technology as something ultimately good and a tool for betterment, the more technology will advance and become a part of human life; perhaps even a tool to help sustain humanity itself in the future. If other people adopt this idea, it would mean that perhaps humanity would become less personable, but we would become more knowledgeable and see things in a way never thought possible before (for instance, the man who hears color). This would ultimately expand our universe and the unknowns in the world, making them more reachable and knowable. This idea should be taken seriously because it almost has less to do with the technology itself and more to do with humanity and bettering ourselves. Humans are always looking for the next best thing or the next way to improve and for many people, technology is a way to do this. The ability to improve in all areas and aspects of life is something many people work their whole lives for and sparks interest in those still unsure of the true nature of technology, or rather if it makes us “better” or “worse” people.

“We should not have real relationships with technology, but should view it as more of a tool.”
This idea comes from Turkle’s “Alone Together” in chapter two where she discusses children’s relationships to and attachment with Furbies. The principle is that while technology serves as a great tool to be utilized for betterment and expanding knowledge, it should not be relied on as something to have a relationship with because it is not “alive enough” as Turkle argues. Wile it can give you computed responses, it lacks what makes us human and what makes a dog a dog. For now, there are major differences in interacting with a human and interacting with a robot (on both the surface and deeper levels). Thus, relying on relationships with technology instead of real relationships can lead to serious problems. I adopted this principle because I am a communication major who has been told that relationships are the building blocks of life as we know it, of democracy, of business, basically of everything. These relationships are identified as something only to be had between living things and a robot girl is not “alive enough” to have the same affect on a person (right now) as a human girl. If this idea were to be adopted by society, then perhaps we would spend less time with online friends, playing games, building fake relationships, and more time with other people creating memories and friendships to last a lifetime. While some would argue that this can be done with a robot, relationships with robots cannot grow stronger from arguments, adapting and making changes for each other is obsolete, and growing together as individuals and together is implausible. This idea should be adopted because while everything I mentioned is currently the case now (as far as I know), in the near future many of my claims will be incorrect because of the evolving technology. Therefore, this could serve as a way to sort of reflect on where technology has come and how the relational problems that once existed are no longer.

“We should think of technology as our friend and ally as opposed to our enemy.”
This argument ultimately comes from Kelly and Turkle, where Kelly argues technology is more of a friend and Turkle argues that it is our enemy. As the cover of Kelly’s book notes, technology is “a living force that can expand our individual potential;” therefore, it is our friend and we should see it as an ally that works with us to better society and humanity as a whole. I adopted this principle because if technology’s advancement is indeed inevitable as Kelly states, then we should take full advantage of its advancement and use it for everything it is worth. This in turn could end up saving humanity as we know it and could help us reach our full potential. We should fight for technology’s well being just as we fight for our friends, and we should encourage its advancement like we work to help improve our friends and friendships. If people accepted this principle then technology would not be seen as a negative or something to be fought against or scared of, but it would be embraced and therefore accepted as a positive. This would increase the pace of its development because there would be less pushback and negative feedback, and we would be better off in the long run. In addition, this should be taken seriously for the manifesto because it is something that people all over the world are thinking about, especially with the media’s portrayal of the evils of technology in movies like The Terminator. This paints a bad picture of technology and may cause technology to carry negative connotations, when in reality, it is a great tool and something that can be used for the betterment of humanity.

“We should sacrifice some privacy for increased safety.”
This idea comes from Kelly’s “What Technology Wants” on page 247. This principle applies mostly to the Internet and computer privacy which some would readily partially sacrifice for their personal and their country’s safety. Many people, even terrorists communicate via the Internet and websites, and if the U.S. government feels that national security is at risk, it should protect our safety to the best of our abilities. If this includes invading our privacy, to an extent, we should be willing to sacrifice part of our security for that safety. I adopted this mainly for two reasons. The first reason is that the government already does this, so people should accept it and know that it is for the greater good, which if you have nothing to hide, should not be an issue anyway. The second reason I adopted this is because I would rather the government catch a terrorist planning to kill thousands than worry about them seeing which websites I have visited. Other people should also adopt this because it will end with a safer society and national security could be more easily managed. I know this idea probably scares a lot of people and there would have to be regulations on what information can be accessed, but if done right, this might be able to save the lives of innocent people. Not all of our privacy should be sacrificed, but partial “invasion of privacy” would be worth saving hundreds of people in my opinion. I know that terrorists use other ways to communicate as well but with the internet growing and information coming more readily available, it is a current issue that is of high importance. It should be taken seriously for inclusion in the manifesto, even if it needs to be changed a little due to its controversial nature. It is an issue that has been in the news many times and it is only going to become a larger issue in the future.

“Technology makes us expect less from people, so we should recognize this and work to change it.”
This idea comes from Turkle’s “Alone Together,” specifically in our class’s discussion on chapter 12. In this section, she explains that technology is taking away from our relationships, and makes us have lower expectations when interacting and communicating with people. This inhibits and even restricts our ability to increase interpersonal skills and build meaningful relationships. Therefore, this principle states that though technology has the ability to make us expect less from people, we should have the urge and motivation to become aware of this change in expectation and deal with it accordingly as to change the actual affect it has. For instance, perhaps there is a way to embrace this technology, but figure out a way to change the way in which it affects us, maybe even using it to strengthen relationships and encourage interpersonal skill building. I have adopted this principle because I deal with this in my relationships every day. Whether it is when I’m out eating with a girlfriend, watching a movie with a relative, or even chatting with my significant other it seems that technology is always consuming most of their time, energy, and attention. This irks me because it was not an issue in the past and it is something that our generation is especially learning to cope with. However, the problem here lies in the fact that our generation is becoming immune to this negative affect, do not notice it, and do not really care about it at all. Instead, if everyone were to adopt this principle, it is my belief that relationships would grow stronger, people would be more invested in others and this reliability on technology might even decrease to some extent. This is why it needs to be taken seriously for inclusion in the collective manifesto.