Brittany Brown: Manifesto

Should our generation be concerned about what constant connection is doing to us as a whole?
This idea came from Sherry Turkle’s “Alone Together” chapter 9. Round-the-clock access to smart phones and Internet apps provide closeness among people who share, discover, and discuss their lives with each other and the world. Advancements in technology have enhanced our generation’s desire for constant connection. Most people cannot sit through dinner without picking up their phone to check email, texts, and other social media apps. Even when we are alone in our room we have our cell phones and laptops close by. As a generation we have developed the sense that when we are alone, as in by ourselves without some form of technology, we are in danger. Additionally, if we don’t receive a quick enough response something has gone wrong. It has been ingrained in us since childhood to have our phones charged and on us at all times so our parents wouldn’t worry. Thus, we have been programmed as children to always be available. Our generation’s constant access to technology has created a strong desire for closeness and connection, but not in the traditional sense of intimacy. The concept of constant connection was taken to an entirely new level with the invention of smart phones. We share deep personal information through Facebook posts and Twitter streams. We also share every thought through outrageous numbers of texts and emails everyday. Intimacy in today’s terms does not refer to sexual closeness, but rather the amount of information obtained about others through connection.

Ought humans prefer robots to humans?
This idea comes from Sherry Turkle’s “Alone Together” in chapter 3. Should humans prefer robots to humans or pets in that matter? AIBO is a robot dog that can be a substitute for a real dog. Many who have had AIBO say that it is better than nothing. On page 59 Yolanda says AIBO “doesn’t shed, doesn’t bite, doesn’t die.” However, the robot does show affection or responsibility the way a living dog does. The only thing needed to keep AIBO alive is to remember to charge it. This doesn’t teach a child responsibility in the way having to feed, walk, and pick up after a real dog does. AIBO could be a substitute for a family that has allergies or what not, but ultimately AIBO is more similar to a toy than a dog. AIBO can be turned on and off and although it does react to stimuli if you don’t want to deal with it’s emotions and needs at the time all you have to do is turn it off. There are other robots such as ELIZA. ELIZA is an online computer robot who responds to your questions. Whatever the case may be speaking to a human is better than a robot, unless you are bored and just want entertainment.

Ought humans be liberated from biological constraints?
This idea comes from Francis Fukuyama’s Transhumanism. We already have technologies that do this for us. From enhancing mood, attention span, body strength, and altering moods we have go beyond our biological abilities. So the question is should we keep enhancing our bodies’ abilities. Should we put chips in our bodies to make ourselves think faster and retain all the information from the Internet with a blink of an eye? If one starts transhumanizing, does everyone else have to? What will happen to those who are superior? Fukuyama addresses this in regards to human rights and equal rights and what will make someone human? Will some be more human than others? Transhumanists would lack some of the behaviors we as humans have adapted over the decades. We can see that self-modification is extremely popular and whose to say when (if ever) people in today’s generation and future generations will stop searching for the next best thing. I don’t think it will ever happen, therefore, as technologies and procedures continue to advance humans will continue striving to have the best and most up to date products. Thus, as technology advances so do our chances of becoming transhumans. Yes, human should be liberated from biological constraints because we have the technology to do so. I think mental patients and those with ADD should have access to medication to help them function better on a day-to-day basis, but only if medication is necessary for the individual to function in the world.

Ought human’s wants and needs be shaped by technology?
This is based off of Kevin Kelly’s “What Technology Wants” page 37-50. This notion is inevitable because of all the different definitions of technology, but all in all yes our needs should be (and are) based on technology. As technology evolves so do we. Technology is everything that has been invented since we were born. The only way to live and cope with society is by using what is given to us. If everyone around us has certain technologies then those technologies will also be expected of us. We as a population decide what stays and what goes. Giant computers become laptops, laptops become cells phones and mini iPads and so on. All these forms of social media allow us to connect with people across the globe. As technology improves so do our connections and ideas. WE’re able to communicate faster and discuss more. Now, what we are discussing may be a bunch of back and forth blabber, but none the less we are discussing our thoughts and ideas instantly. We can stay home and learn anything we want from the Internet and talk to anybody we want from our couch. People can travel more often and still keep in touch with their family back home through Skype. Imagine going to a meeting where everybody had laptops taking notes and all you had was a pen and paper. The people who had taken notes on their laptops would have far more information, not to mention time. It goes both ways, not only are we shaped by technology, but humans shape technology.

Ought we respond quickly and emotionally to technology?
This question is derived from Sherry Turkle’s “Alone Together” in chapter 6. We see that babies and young children react emotionally to Furbies, Tomogachis, and My Real Baby. We also see that elderly people respond emotionally to the baby seal robot named Paro and My Real Baby. This shows that those who do not know real person to person or alive to alive love can show emotional responses to robots. Elderly are loosing it and don’t really know what is alive anymore. I think that these robots are good for the young because it gives them a preview and shows that what it is like to love someone and have them rely on you and love you back. Similarly, these robots are good for the elderly looking for companionship. It helps to fill the loneliness that they sometimes feel. For middle-aged people the thought of showing robots affection seems nearly impossible. People have friends, lovers, babies, and pets to share their emotions with. I don’t see the point in sharing emotions with AIBO if you have a real dog of your own or My Real Baby if you have a child of your own. I think these robots are just substitutes for what people desire in real life. However, again for the elderly and babies they are not capable of caring for another life, yet the feeling of being needed and taking care of someone else is still there.

Ought technological developments continue developing at such a rapid pace?
This idea comes from Industrial Society and It’s Future by The Washington Post. With technological developments we get immediate satisfaction and gratification, but what do these advancements ultimately leave us with? We’ve all heard certain foods, products, medications, and other technologies are going to kill us one day. So why do we continue to consume them? Cell phone: going to kill us one day. Staring at a computer screen all day and putting the laptop actually on your lap or stomach is going to stop you from having babies. We live in a world of instant gratification. Which is why if it makes me happy now I will do it and deal with the consequences later. This even goes with eating too much food in one sitting or eating a lot of junk food. Look at America today, more than half the population is over weight. We could put the food down or not eat everything that tastes good, but we don’t because we want it and we want it now. We all say “oh there will be a cure for that by the time I need it”. And go figure they have a cure for obesity, its called diet and exercise, but people don’t want to wait and work that hard. So doctors have come up with tying the stomach: a way to shrink one’s stomach so they can’t eat as much. ← a technology that has helped to lower the rate of obesity in America!

Additionally, some of the technology that has been created has lead to deaths, stalking, and other scary situations. Where as it has also lead to a lot of job opportunities, ability to obtain unlimited amounts of knowledge, and communicate and travel faster. Yes, technology is benefiting us today, but if technology continues advancing at a rapid pace will it ultimately be detrimental to the human race?