Katelyn McDaniel - Manifesto

1. Society should value face-to-face interactions over digital communication

There’s no doubt that now that digital technologies are a part of every day life, we spend more time emailing, texting, chatting, facebooking, or skyping than we do speaking with others face-to-face. Although we feel more connected to society, digital technologies are actually isolating us. Face-to-face interaction plays an important role in shaping social norms, etiquette, and ques. Also, a majority of messages are communicated with nonverbal language, which cannot be registered through digital technologies. Face-to-face interaction is a structure on which we base all our interactions. Face-to-face interaction can build trust, show compassion, keep you in touch with humanity, create clearer messages, and help decrease ambiguity between individuals (Wilson). I adopted this philosophy because where I’m from, nothing is more important than sitting down and visiting with your friends and family. It’s a value I’ve always held, and now that I’ve seen the reverse side (communication funneled through digital technologies) I prioritize even higher. One implication some might draw from this principle could be that they shouldn’t communicate through digital technologies at all, but that is not at all what I suggest. I suggest that people value their face-to-face interaction over digital interactions because they are truer representations of communication. This principle will be an excellent starting philosophy to build on throughout the manifesto because it sets up the structure of how we see technology affecting communication.

2. Society should accept technology as inevitable.

This theory comes directly out of Kelley’s book What Technology Wants. It’s the simple, yet massive idea that technology is an unstoppable force that can’t be wished away. People create, engineer, build, and program. Our curiosity is what drives ingenuity. Ingenuity drives creation. In this sense, technology is inevitable because people will never stop creating. But people also have a desire to perfect everything. This is why we have so many different generations of gadgets. The first PlayStation wasn’t perfect enough, so they had to make two more (not to mention the first generations of both). Now that we have technology, there will always be a desire for more or better technologies. And as long as there is a demand for better technologies, there will be a market for it. Once we accept that technology is inevitable, we can start looking more concretely into the future to see where new technologies can lead us. We can make computers that double as cell phones, but can also be used to make reservations, check traffic reports, or pay bills. If we accept that technology is inevitable then we can begin to work with technology to cure diseases, end world hunger, or just help small business owners stay afloat. Regardless of where newer technologies take us, we’ll get there faster if we just accept the inevitable evolution of technology. This theory would help create a foundation for the manifesto by generating a positive perception of technology.

3. People should use and enjoy technology in moderation.

This principle comes from the idea that our lives should not revolve around the use of technology. Then again, technology does make us more efficient and keeps us in touch with world issues. Technology is not 100 percent good, but it is not 100 percent bad either. On one side of the spectrum, there are people who will absolutely not use certain technologies, but on the opposite end there are people who never disconnect from the digital world. Some even claim that people can become addicted to the Internet (Heffernan). Neither lifestyle is perfect. There is a happy medium between the two extremes. It’s not reasonable to live a modern life and still expect to skirt technology. At the same time, it’s not healthy to spend 24 hours a day connected to digital technology. People should adopt the middle ground as a basis for technology use. I opted for this principle because, as a college student, I have to stay connected for at least a little while every day, but I don’t want to waste sunshine surfing the Internet. I can be connected when I need or want to, but I can also go outside and leave my computer (and other technologies) at home. Some might suggest that in this day and age, using technology in moderation isn’t a feasible goal because certain jobs require a constant digital connection. Granted, there are some jobs that do require constant access, but a constant connection to digital technologies isn’t healthy. Too much of anything is unhealthy. In other words, you can remain plugged in all the time, but eventually it will get in the way of your relationships, lifestyle, and even your health. This is a basic principle is universal, and can be applied to almost any lifestyle.

4. The appropriate technologies should be available in to those in need.

Everyone who wants access to technology should have it. In our society today, technology is seen as a luxury, though most couldn’t function without it. A great deal of this class was discussed under the impression that everyone in the country has Internet access, which is not the case. Since technology has become so imperative in the professional world and in day-to-day life, it should not been seen as a luxury item. Some critics claim that computer skills in K-12 schools will prepare students by giving them the skills they need to succeed in the business world (Anderson). Technologies like computers, telephones, books, etc., should be made available to anyone who needs or wishes to use them. There should be classes teaching technologies in schools, which means that the schools should have access to all the technologies they need to teach. More than that, libraries and government agencies should offer the latest computer programs and digital communication technologies for public use. This would allow underprivileged individuals the opportunity to learn how to use the technologies and software that they would be expected to know in the professional world. This principle would help bridge the gap between those who have access to the latest technologies and those who don’t. It would be a step toward evening the playing field for children by allowing them the same opportunities for education.

5. Technology should remain a gateway for freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

The laws surrounding technologies and, more specifically, the Internet, are vague at best. With the increasing demand for the latest technologies, it’s realistic to assume that stricter Internet laws will be created in the very near few. These new laws should protect freedom of speech and expression over the Internet. The Internet is an open media outlet, as well as a popular method of communication throughout the U.S. The Internet allows for innovation and creativity in a space where culture collide and world issues are explored. Individuals have the right to post their views and thoughts on the Internet just as they have the right to explain their ideas in an article or in a speech. I adopted this principle because basic human rights should be extended to include the latest technologies. An major implication for this principle would be those people who would take these rights to the extreme to advocate hate crimes. This is a significant concern with the Internet, but if we handle the online crimes in the same manner we handle physical crimes, then we’ve already outlined a proper protocol for hate crimes over the Internet. This principle is essentially an extension of the First Amendment to include new media outlets and technologies. If we chose not to include this principle, it would allow censorship, and encourage limitations on our use of technology. Government censorship and restrictions on online postings are very real possibilities. In China, American search engine companies were required by the government to block certain anti-government websites or replace searches with photos of happy tourists (Helft and Barboza). We need to take action to ensure that our human rights will be carried over to new media outlets and technologies as they are invented. In our manifesto, I feel it is essential to set the groundwork for how technology is used and perceived.

6. The primary education system ought to update how technology is taught in accordance with which technologies are used in the professional world.

Technology is constantly changing and updating. The technologies that I grew up with are now completely outdated. As technology updates so should our system of education. The whole point of education is to prepare students for the real world and teach them all the skills they’ll need to lead a successful life. Technologies become outdated and newer technologies take their place in society. In order to prepare children for the real world, we need to teach them how to use the most commonly used technologies in the real world. More than that, children now have a working knowledge of digital technologies going into school. Trying to teach them basic computer skills would be ineffective because most already have basic or even moderate computer skills. In fact, recently a Finland middle school was given a grant to update from blackboards to Smart Boards (Ensinger). Teachers reported that after the switch students seemed more engaged in the classroom, and many showed a renewed interest in their studies (Ensinger). This principle should be adopted because it would keep our system of education current and allow the curriculum to specifically cater to the students’ needs as they relate to technology. We need to educate children about current society and in order to accomplish this, schools have to get away from powerpoint and keyboarding classes and begin teaching xml and Java. Overall, this principle will benefit the younger generations by tailoring their educations specifically to their needs.

Anderson, Josh. “Can Young Students Learn From Online Classes?” The New York Times. The New York Times. 5 April 2011. Web 8 April 2011.
Ensinger, Dustin. “Smart Boards bring latest technology into classrooms.” Westland News. Westland News. 30 March 2011. Web 8 April 2011.
Heffernan, Virginia. “Miss G.: A Case of Internet Addiction.” The New York Times. The New York Times. 9 April 2011. Web 12 April 2011.
Helft, Miguel and David Barboze. “Google Shits China Site in Dispute Over Censorship.” The New York Times. The New York Times. 22 March 2010. Web 8 April 2011.
Kelley, Kevin. What Technology Wants. New York: Penguin, 2010. Print.
Wilson, Jerry S. “Don’t Displace Face to Face.” Blomberg Businessweek. Business Exchange. 10 Feb. 2009. Web 8 April 2011.