Augusta Dean | Manifesto

Parents ought to limit their children on how much time they spend using electronic devices.

As children continue to spend more and more of their free time on electronic devices, it seems that their attention spans and tempers get shorter while their lack of creativity and knowledge increase. One of the popular threads in our “Consider This” replies assignment was about our addiction to smartphones and the tendencies that some people have toward this technology that has seemed to overtake much of our time. Nowadays, children receive smartphones or similar technologies (take the iPod touch for instance) at around age 9, and are brought up with these technologies available to them all hours of the day. These technologies are capable of all kinds of things like playing games, music, searching the web, social media, and the list could go on indefinitely. With all of these capabilities, many children find it extremely difficult to put the devices down.

Children are missing out on playing sports and playing outside like I did when I was a kid. As if the television wasn't bad enough at sucking kids in, now there are iPods and video games to distract them from participating in engaging and active activities. There is a big difference between a child who sits around all day playing video games (even though they are not bothering anyone while doing it) and a child who is active and burning energy during daytime hours. I believe that in time, we may be able to see more psychological problems in adults who played primarily with electronic devices when they were children opposed to adults who played and participated in more actively-engaging activities, or at least maintained a healthy balance between the two when they were children. As we get older and have children of our own, this is a dilemma we will face when considering the affects that our childrens' activities have on them and their futures.

We ought to keep the print-book format dominant instead of transferring books into digital format.

Especially when it comes to middle school and high school levels, it seems very important that students have hard copies of books opposed to digital versions, that is if they are actually supposed to read the books. Even as a senior in college, I know that the likelihood of reading a book cover to finish is about 90% less likely if it is in digital form, simply because if I have the book open in one tab, Facebook is just one tab away, and spending just five minutes browsing through my news feed wont hurt. Oh, and I should check my email before I start this chapter anyway, and before I know it, I've wasted two hours of which I was supposed to have spent reading that text book. Douglas Rushkoff references the digital universe craze in Present Shock where he says, “Like an astronaut traveling at light speed for just a few seconds who returns to an earth on which ninety years have passed, our digital selves exist in a time unhinged from that of our bodies" (pg. 60).

I fear that I am not alone in this challenge and that it may be even more of a temptation to put off readings for school for kids who are still developing their work patterns in grade school. I know there are arguments that books in print are not environmentally friendly, but the digital take-over of books could have far more consequences than the destruction of a forest. If we are exposing children to this kind of technology even though we know they will have to either learn from their unproductive nature or pay the ultimate consequence, failure, then we are really no better than them. We should not be setting up our young people for failure. Why not just avoid the risk altogether and keep doing it like we have with proven success? Books in print are one of the best ways to keep track of progress. To this day I still feel enjoyment and feeling of productivity when I know I'm supposed to read eighty pages, and before I know it I've reached the sixtieth page. I know there are others like me, but in order to continue with what we've already seen success in, we must work to prevent the digital take-over of books.

We ought to attempt to eliminate the pull that technology creates.

One of the dominant topics of this course has been the pull of technology that humans feel. There seems to be an urge that can be irresistible to be connected to our social media sites, email, text messages, or some other application that can usually be accessed through our smartphones. If not controlled, this pull can be so strong that it can interrupt family dinners, classes, meetings at work, and this pull can even cause us to interrupt face-to-face conversations by pulling out the smartphone to make sure that no app feels neglected—all while neglecting the real person standing in front of you.

Although I refuse to claim that I'm addicted to my smartphone, there are certainly still pulls that I feel from technology that I wish could be eliminated. Though my boyfriend and I like to watch the evening news to catch up on what went on in the world while we were at work or school, I still find it so much easier to just open my Fox News app and access the stories that I am most interested in rather than watching all of the news, including the stories in which I have no interest. Douglas Ruchkoff put it well when he says, “Every choice potentially brings us out of immersive participation and into another decision matrix. I am with my daughter, but the phone is vibrating with a new instant message. Even if I choose to ignore the message and be with her, I have been yanked from the intimate moment by the very need to make a choice” (pg. 74). He continues by saying that then he must make another choice of either pulling the phone out of his pocket and turning it off, or simply leaving it in his pocket and hoping it doesn't go off again.

In our society, I believe that all of us are distracted by these constant pulls from technology. I know that in my case at least, these pulls give me an extremely anxious feeling because I always think back to how they can make the people that I care about upset. It may be either a very obvious suggestion or one that people can't accept, but we should all turn off our phones when we are able. If there is no immediate need to communicate digitally with someone when we are in intimate situations like the one Rushkoff mentioned, then there is really no need to have the technology pull us away from the present moment.

The government's ability to monitor people in their own homes should be limited to the internet only.

The US government loves to constantly monitor its people by way of camera, listening to telephone calls, tracking internet activity, and however else they keep watch of Americans' daily lives. We know that they have a track record of listening to our phone calls, and who knows, they may already have cameras in our homes. We do, after all, have cameras in our faces during most (if not all) of our time spent on the computer, right? In fact, it has become extremely difficult to find computers that do not come equipped with built-in webcams. More importantly, we're all but attached to those devices with the cameras on them that we use for work, play, communication, and whatever else we so choose—you guessed it I'm talking about smartphones.

If the idea of putting cameras into trash cans (as seen in Evgeny Morozov's To Save Everything, Click Here) is ever introduced to the market in the US, surely the government will want in on monitoring how much we recycle. Surely they could think of a tax to collect from those individuals that do not recycle. Many of the US people are ignorant as to how much they are actually monitored, but at some point, it may be impossible to be unaware. If we continue down the road we are on, the American people may eventually be shocked at how little privacy they have. The US government needs to be extremely limited as to how much they are allowed to monitor their people, and through what means. They should only be allowed to monitor them through the internet. In their own homes, people should not have to worry about being spied on during personal phone calls or through cameras in the future. Our privacy should be valued, and considering the amount that the government has been found to infringe upon Americans' privacy, their presence in our private lives at home needs to be approached with caution.

Professional sports leagues should ban artificial limbs and organs unless it is unavoidable that the technology be inserted in order for the person to continue living life without pain and suffering.

In our “Consider This” replies there was an article, and a discussion following, about the possibility of bionic limbs that might enhance our natural, human limbs becoming popular. In addition to these artificial limbs, there were artificial organs mentioned as well. It was suggested that once these things are developed, people may want to replace their limbs or organs with these artificial ones as a way of “upgrading” their current limbs or organs. If artificial limbs make people faster, stronger, etc., people may be drawn to these new technologies. We should be limited as to what technologies we are allowed to adopt for our bodies because otherwise our bodies will even more so be a means of competing for the latest technologies, and the winners will be those who can afford them. Eventually, the NFL, MLB, and NBA would only have players who purchased the bionic limbs, and the sports leagues would no longer be the places where the most talented players earn their spots, but instead, where the fake-limbed people play.

Of course, to prevent this artificial talent from overtaking the sports leagues, the sports leagues themselves could ban any players who have chosen to have these artificial limbs placed on their bodies. Unless they were born without limbs or were in an accident that took off their limbs, people who have artificial limbs should be barred from playing professional sports. The same argument applies to people with artificial organs, unless their life depended upon receiving an artificial organ and no other natural organs were available for transplant. We should not be encouraged, and should in fact be discouraged, to artificially alter our bodies in permanent ways unless it is absolutely crucial to either sustain life or live life without pain and suffering. This will benefit the rest of society by allowing those who are actually talented in playing sports to play in the leagues with no fear that they might be replaced by a whole new team of players who bought their way in.

We should continue searching for better sources of energy/fuel that could be more environmentally friendly and better for our health but still have the same uses as coal and oil.

Source: Kevin Kelly What Technology Wants pg. 99

Technological progress depends upon many things, fuel being one of them. We use fuel in so many different aspects of life, not only limited to our transportation and in-home use for cooking and electricity. We use fuel for so many different things, yet there is uproar about these fuels being unfriendly to the environment.

As the scientific fields increase in number, we ought to explore and secure a more environmentally friendly means of energy that is both sustainable and efficient. Kevin Kelly says, “In a coevolutionary dance, human minds mastered cheap energy, which expanded food for increasing numbers of human minds, which propelled more technological inventions, which consumed more cheap energy.” We know from scientific sources that the energy sources we use today are either very harmful to the environment, or could be used up very soon, or both. For the sake of our technological progress, we should all consider the possibility that our cheap energy may not be worth the harm to the environment and our health, plus the fact that we could run out of it at some point. We should continue searching for other sources of energy that don't have the health and environmental risks that some of our current energy sources have.