Annabeth Wonch - Manifesto

Humans should not live forever.

Even if the technology is developed, humans should not be able to live forever. Aside from the obvious concerns of overpopulation/depletion of resources, there is probably no way that this technology would be available to the majority of people on the planet. Only the super rich would be able to afford such treatment and there is no reason that one person deserves to live forever while another does not. People developing this sort of technology should focus more on creating cures for serious diseases that plague humans now, like cancer and AIDS, so that people may enjoy the time they are given on earth by being as healthy as possible. Yes, life expectancy has increased exponentially over the past few centuries, but there is absolutely no reason for someone to live forever; it is incredibly selfish to live longer than your given time on earth and to think that you deserve to live longer than someone else, just because you can afford it. What would happen to everyone’s concept of life if it never ended?

Children should be taught to read with traditional printed books.

Learning to read on a eReader that has moving pictures and sounds will only teach a child that traditional solitary reading is boring. Reading is an enjoyable activity on its own, and children should not be taught at such a young age that it is only possible with technology, because it is one of the few activities left that requires no batteries or electric source. eReaders will only make a child ADHD, which is already inevitable in a society so focused on multiple technologies and multitasking. Reading should be just that, reading; it should not be watching or listening (unless a child is being read to). Valuable qualities like patience can be learned from the simple act of reading a book and that option should never be taken away from children. Technology can be used to enhance a child’s learning experience, but should never replace traditional ways of learning. By replacing the real parent-child interaction of learning to read, parents are distancing themselves from a powerful bonding tool with their children. Parents should be the ones raising and teaching their children, not talking books and computers.

We should respect technology but not become its slave.

Technology is great. It makes certain tasks easier, it has revolutionized communication and it has definitely changed the way people these days live, whether or not it improves each life. But people should never rely on technology for every single aspect of their lives. People should not neglect their own families, children, to do something like harvest crops on Farmville. One should be able to walk down the street without having their eyes glued to a cell phone screen. Every action need not be tweeted about. People are too busy these days ensuring that what they are doing is being documented somewhere online, and therefore sacrifice simply enjoying any event. It should be socially acceptable to be sitting alone on a bus without being attached to an iPod, texting, or watching a movie on a cell phone. People have to accept that technology will continue to be developed and that there will always be a smaller, faster gadget in the works, but this should not control how you live your life. People forget that just ten years ago cell phones were state of the art and the only things you could do with them were make calls and play “snake.” People should be able to tolerate parts of the day that do not involve technology.

Technology and social media should never be priority over real relationships and live communication.

Texting is a way to communicate, but it is not a way to hold a conversation. Real interactions are not confined to 160 character responses back and forth. Facebook friends are different than real life friends, and Facebook should never be used to define a relationship. While the internet is a great place to meet people with similar interests, you can’t really say you have a relationship with someone you’ve never met. Talking with someone on Facebook chat could never replace actually meeting up with them and having a real time conversation. Technology has created tons of new ways to communicate: instant messaging, texting, talking on the phone, Skyping, and though these may come very close to real person-to-person conversation, in the end people are still communicating through a screen. Human interaction is something that people crave, you need to be around people and see real-time reactions. Seeing a text that says “lol” isn’t the same as actually hearing someone laugh in real life, and people should not be trying to avoid or replace these valuable interactions.

People should be able to customize privacy settings on social media websites, and delete personal information permanently if necessary.

Because Facebook is the only website of its kind (at least for now) people have succumbed to adhering by all its ridiculous rules because it is the only option. Not everyone can fit into a certain cookie-cutter of privacy settings. It should be simple to block people and hide certain photo albums if necessary. If I want all my photo albums to only be viewable to my friends, I should only have to click something once, not individually hide all 90 of my photo albums. If you untag yourself you should be able to stay untagged. Once a photo is deleted by a user, it should be deleted permanently, and no longer exist in the world of the internet, or be discoverable by any person or machine. People should not have to live in fear that an embarrassing photo or post that they deleted could be discovered by someone trying to use it negatively. When deleting Facebook, users should have the option of deactiving or permanently deleting the entire thing. I would feel more comfortable if I knew for a fact that when I wanted to delete something it would be gone forever.

Anonymity should be allowed but used sparingly only in certain forums.

Anonymity is somewhat of a privilege online, in any other form of communication you can be identified (whether it be a letter to the editor, a phone call, a conversation). Those in danger should be able to post anonymously for their own protection, but websites that allow anonymous posting but do not monitor the comments should be required to delete abusive posts. If people were required to login with a username to leave comments on certain websites, more thought would go into what they were posting because their name would be attached. There would be less trolling and I think people would be more comfortable to post their opinions online. Yes, there would still be those people that would be rude, but overall I think people would like that they could see who was saying what in the comments and keep track of certain people. Getting rid of anonymity online altogether would cause an uproar, so there would still need to be forums where people could go if they must post something anonymously. However, on things like newspaper stories and blog posts, a username would certainly deter many people from posting offensive or rude topics.