Casey Whitehead - Manifesto

1. Technology should not replace our ability to savor memories mentally.

There has been a lot of discussion in class and in considered replies about how technology, most notably Facebook, is already a substitution for our necessity to store information, most specifically memories. We as a generation have put basically entire portions of our lives on Facebook. The goal is to share these photos memories or experiences through photos with our friends and families (and sometimes total strangers). Many people believe that by uploading these photos, the person no longer has to cognitively remember these moments, they can just go back to Facebook and look it up. These behaviors are what lead people, like Ray Kurzweil, to believe that “The Singularity: is coming and that one day you can transfer your self, personality and maybe even your soul included, onto a flash drive and reboot in as a new person. People should be able to maintain the ability to remember moments without having to reference the Internet to make sure they are accurate. This may mean that verbal or written communication needs to become more of an active way for us to share our memories.

2. People ought not live forever, at least not yet.

As presented in Ray Kurweil’s The Singularity is Near, the author takes over 200 supplements a day. This is not a natural process. Humans are meant (as the general population believes) to grow old and eventually die, leaving way for more humans to live. Studies have been conducted, such as this one from Stanford University, that find that the earth has a “carrying capacity”, meaning eventually the earth’s resources and ability to sustain our large populations will fail. Because of this, people should not live forever. They will be taking up valuable resources and materials that our planet cannot sustain, unless birth rates drop or we find a new source of resources (the Moon).

3. We ought to be active bystanders in the decisions and impact of our lives.

The Internet should not rule our lives. For many people Facebook it does, as shown by “Social Networks and Online Games Rule Our Lives”. People are allowing big companies like Google and YouTube and Facebook to rule how we can share, what we can share, who we can share with. They implement rules that become norms for privacy and how we “brand” ourselves. People need to take a stand and refute decisions we are not comfortable with; like refusing to accept Gaps new modern logo. Because enough backlash was spread through social media networks, Gap reverted back to their old logo. If enough people refuse to accept something, they can change it. Norms are reactive.

4. There ought to always be the option to purchase things “in person.”

This norm was sparked by the article “Brains Like to Keep it Real”. As seen in the given article people would rather buy something in person. In fact, they would prefer to buy in person and even pay more to do so. This normative should be something all marketers stand behind because it generates the most money for their brand. If there was no shopping mall or was no outlet or grocery store, think about how many memories and coming of age stories wont happen.

5. While we are doing something on the Internet, we ought to remember that it may not always be productive.

Clay Shirky’s book, Cognitive Surplus, argues that the Internet allows us to be more productive. He states that while users may still be on the couch, “at least they’re doing something.” Class discussion and considered replies have argued if the previous statement is significant. Just because a person is adding a “lol” to a picture on Facebook or posting a funny cat on lolcats, this isn’t necessarily productive. Users may be participating in a group collaboration but are these things productive? Are Facebook photo comments or “Likes” really doing anything to benefit themselves or society. This point can be argued in many ways, especially on the definition of productivity. Much time spent on the Internet is no more productive then watching TV. Though users may be actively participating on the Internet, rather than laying pack staring at the TV, many of the actions on the Internet don’t qualify as productive.

6. We should revive the idea of verbal communication with those closest to us.

Because of technology, many people have stopped talking to each other. We may communication through text messages, Facebook, emails, Twitter; but we have lost the value of verbal communication. An example of this is cell phone smartphones. In these high tech Internet devices, the phone part of the phone is usually looked at last. In many cases the phone capabilities are in fact a separate application that the device has loaded on it. This desire to have fast, easy, impersonal communication has helped drive the social network community. People’s definitions of friends have changed because of how we communicate with each other. People are now closest with people they never actually met, or heard their voices. Their respect for each other’s time has been changed as well, as seen in the article “Sick of This Text: Sorry I’m Late”. People need to stop texting and start talking to their friends again.