Question Forum 3

1. What kind of Information do you give to Technology? While on a social-media site, do you fill in all of the information categories? Do you ever delete your cookies. why or why not?
(David Kistler)

2. On page 68, Kevin Kelly says,"The philosopher Martin Heidegger suggested that technology was an 'unhiding'a revealing of an inner reality. That inner reality is the immaterial nature of anything manufactured." What is your opinion about this statement? Do you agree with Heidegger. why or why not? How does this shape your own views of technology and its' relationship with reality?
(David Kistler)

1. Kevin Kelly says, “The way that a species of technology changes over time fits a pattern similar to a genealogical tree of species evolution. But instead of expressing the work of genes, technology expresses ideas.” In coming to this conclusion he seems to suggest that technology evolves similar to other organisms but as an extension of human ideas and not genes. What is your opinion on the notion that technology evolves and changes as other living organisms do? Are you afraid that he is suggesting that technology could develop its own consciousness and do you feel it is a good thing?

In thinking about your answer keep in mind another passage from chapter 3 in Kelly’s book:

“Many of technology’s parts are shared by other technologies, so a great deal of development happens automatically as components improve in other uses ‘outside’; the host technology…
These combinations are like mating. They produce a hereditary tree of ancestral technologies. Just as in Darwinian evolution, tiny improvements are rewarded with more copies, so that innovations spread steadily through the population. Older ideas merge and hatch idea-lings. Not only do technologies form ecosystems of cross-supported allies, but they also form evolutionary lines. The technium can really only be understood as a type of evolutionary life.”
(Anne Cunha)

2. Kevin Kelly mentions throughout chapter 3 the idea of “the technium.” He says that the technium is everything that humans have thought of and produced over time and that is has followed, shaped and become integrated into human evolution – so much so, in fact, that it’s now a part of evolution itself. He seems to call the technium an evolutionary branch off of the human mind similar to the tree of Sapiens, which branched off from its animal precursors.

Should the technium not be placed into the evolutionary tree in such a way? Do you feel that Kelly gives too much credit to ideas and technology? Could you argue that maybe technological advances are a result of human genes?
(Anne Cunha)

1. If you take a look at the keywords, you’ll see that I have “contradictions” written down. Do you feel like you have any specific contradictions with your technology? Try to think past wanting to turn your phone off to get some quiet, but what about wanting to save gas on your cars? Do you actively ride a bike? Can you think of any other examples?
(Juliane Preisser)

2. Think about the Amish for a moment. Do you admire them or do you think they’re strange? Kelly describes his time with the Amish and although he does not consider himself Amish, he does understand their lifestyle to a certain capacity. Would you ever want to try being Amish? How long do you think you would last? Do you know anything about the Amish? What do you think they do for fun? Could we maybe learn something from them?
(Juliane Preisser)

1. On page 21, Kevin Kelly gives a simple definition of technology: “bending the environment to use as if it were part of one’s own body.” How do you feel about this definition? Is technology as natural as a bird building a nest? Or is there another element to it? Is all technology a natural extension of the body? Just some of it? Or is it wholly unnatural in its nature of manipulating the environment?
(Sarah Groat)

2. How important do you consider language to be to our coevolution with technology? Is language itself a technology? Where do you think we would be today without the invention of language? Could we, for example, think about and improve our technologies without language? This last question is more philosophical but I think it could be fun to contemplate.
(Sarah Groat)


Astleigh Hobbs
I have to say that I have always been a bit weary about giving technology my information. But then again, I am weary about giving my information out to anything, not just technology. The information I normally give is name (first & last) and email. I tend to shy away from personal address and telephone information. Unless of course I am having something shipped, in which that is an exception and I will provide the needed information. I try to limit what I put online and share about myself. At best I try to keep it to a bare minimum. Even pop-up surveys that want my information and input on a site, I quickly opt to not participate. I'm not sure that there is truly a safe sight to divulge all information to, but I'd say it's probably safe not to. Really, what is the purpose of giving technology so much information that will ultimately be shared with other aspects of technology (i.e. Facebook connecting your profile with every other site on the internet). And don't even get me started on giving information to Siri because that completely creeps me out.

Oh the Amish, they live such a simplistic and natural life. Growing up in Giles, I have witnessed the life of the Amish, as they have a community in the county. I do admire their lifestyle, but at the time, I am so accustomed to my lifestyle that I don't think I could live as they do. I take for granted what is available to me and it would take a lot of adjustment and will power to live as the Amish do. I think it would be an amazing experience to live as the Amish do, but I think I could only try that for a small amount of time and I would never actually convert my way of living to theirs. I have had an Appalachian class that highlighted the culture of the Amish and after learning about their customs it would be neat to take away their knowledge of nature and the appreciation they have for what it provides. Like I said previously, if I could spend time in their world I think I would learn valuable know-how and techniques (i.e. canning, baking, sewing, etc.). I would learn how to implement some of their ideas into my lifestyle, which I would love to do. But mostly, I would appreciate the connivence my life allows me. I think both lifestyles have something important to offer and they both just happen to be complete opposites.


Kayla Vanderlyn
1. Typically I'll give sites, like Facebook, my name and some basic identifying information. I never give out my telephone number, or full address. I tend to leave most of the profile questions blank unless there is some pressing reason to fill them out. It's not out of a desire to deny the "technology" the information though, but rather to prevent people I don't know and trust from finding it. I do periodically clear cookies, it helps keep the browser running smoothly and keeps sites from tracking everything I do.

2. The Amish just have a different set of religious beliefs than I do. I think that it is easier to live without technology if you have never used it. I don't really admire them any more than I admire anyone else with a different lifestyle. I believe their lives are harder than mine in a physical sense, but in return, the often have a greater sense of purpose and community. I don't think I would trade places with any of them though, as I am dependent upon technology and most of what I have learned to do pertains to computers. I don't want to learn a new trade.

3. Technology is the desire to do something more. From the wheel to modern medicine and from fire to computers. It isn't always about changing the environment in it's entirety, but it is about making human life easier and more efficient. Technology is the practical application of knowledge.


Barrett Sorrells

Response to David Kistler #1
Unfortunately, I have given a lot on my personal information to technology. Of course there are the sites like Facebook, Twitter, and various ones associated with Virginia Tech which require your personal information in order to gain access to their site, but I also have information on other sites. For instance, my full name, billing address, and credit card information has been given to sites such as Amazon, Banana Republic, Gap, iTunes, Verizon, and the NFL. Of course, all of these sites claim your information is processed on a secure server and won’t be sold to third party companies, but how certain can you be? I don’t delete my cookies on my personal laptop because my computer stores all my top accessed websites and remembers my logins for those websites (Scholar, Gmail, Hot Schedules, Facebook, etc.). I know this makes my computer less secure were it to fall into the wrong hands, but my laptop also has a fingerprint scanner and/or password that has to be entered every time the laptop is accessed, so that helps keep it secure from others. However, since learning in this class that our cookies from Google will now be linked to our VT Gmail accounts, I have been contemplating as to whether or not I should delete them. Not because I have been Google-ing stuff I shouldn’t, but because it kinda weirds me out that two completely separate websites/companies can access the same information just from my previously viewed websites.

Response to Juliane Preisser #2
I personally admire the Amish. I grew up in the country in Botetourt County (before it became a high priced development of houses and strip malls) and throughout my elementary, middle, and high school years I had two Amish girls in my grade. They were simple, always wearing handmade dresses, bonnets covering their hair, bringing a packed lunch every day, and more than once, they arrived to school via a horse drawn buggy their father drove. They lived on a huge farm where they produced a majority of their own food, milked their own cows, and even built their own two-story barn without the help of machinery. Being able to sustainably live this way and provide for your entire family (there were probably 20-30 Amish living within a 3 mile radius) really amazes me.

Would I opt for that life? Hell no. All of us have grown up accustomed to living with technology and it isn’t something you could just give up, the same way an Amish person would be lost if they were dropped into a technologically advanced location such as Times Square. I do believe that without the everyday stresses associated with technology, we would all live a simpler, less chaotic life, but where would that place us in the evolutionary chain? Would we still be able to prolong life with medications and surgeries? Would we be able to produce enough food for the 350 million plus Americans without mass production lines? Would we have pioneered huge cities like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles? Would there have been mass migrations to California without the railroad? I don’t deny that the Amish live their lives in a way that suits their lifestyle, but I can’t fathom not being able to hop in my car to go to Kroger to buy items for dinner, driving 6 hours to go to the beach for vacation, or boarding a plane to go to Sin City and blow a bunch of money at the blackjack tables. We grew up with technology, we evolved with technology, and now, we will never be able to live without it.


Kyleigh Palmiotto

What kind of Information do you give to Technology? While on a social-media site, do you fill in all of the information categories? Do you like ever delete your cookies. why or why not?
(David Kistler)
I feel like as a girl, we are taught to be extremely cautious when giving out any information, and this applies to beyond just to talking to strangers. I barely give out my information unless I absolutely have to. Nowadays, every time I buy something at store, the sales associate will always ask for my email. This really is just to receive offers, so instead of filing up my personal inbox, I created an email address just to give it to the stores. When I do give my information out to events that need it, especially on social media accounts, I try to give out as little as possible. I don’t post where I live or check into places, because I am afraid there is some creep out there.
I think I am slowly losing touch with technology. It’s hard for me to keep up with how fast everything is moving. Personally I don’t know what cookies are. I have no idea what it means to clear them or what they do to your computer and its history. What do they do? Why should we get rid of them?

2. Think about the Amish for a moment. Do you admire them or do you think they’re strange? Kelly describes his time with the Amish and although he does not consider himself Amish, he does understand their lifestyle to a certain capacity. Would you ever want to try being Amish? How long do you think you would last? Do you know anything about the Amish? What do you think they do for fun? Could we maybe learn something from them?
(Juliane Preisser)

There’s a new show on television called Breaking Amish and it has given me some insight on how they live. There are different types/groups in the Amish community, so some are more strict than others on how they live. I do feel like Kelly and I understand their lifestyle. The fact that they know the world is growing around them, yet they decide to stick to their religious roots and live that lifestyle. It goes along the same lines as Native Americans keeping their reservations and trying to live the way their ancestors did.
I think I could probably last a week being Amish. To be honest, I would miss my phone, television, computer, etc. Also to have fun some Amish will sing, I can’t sing, so that would probably affect me living there. Being without technology is hard even for an hour. I hate when teachers want a technology free classroom, yes it is helpful, but sometimes you just have those days where you need some type of distraction and your phone is the best distraction out there. I can immediately text “I’m bored” to someone and I know I can create a conversation with that person long enough to distract from class. This is why the Amish seem to live productive lives because they have no distractions that they can create that will entertain them for more than an hour.


Hailey Watkins

1. On page 21, Kevin Kelly gives a simple definition of technology: “bending the environment to use as if it were part of one’s own body.” How do you feel about this definition? Is technology as natural as a bird building a nest? Or is there another element to it? Is all technology a natural extension of the body? Just some of it? Or is it wholly unnatural in its nature of manipulating the environment?
(Sarah Groat)

I think this definition explains technology perfectly. When you think about the technological advances that have happened for thousands of years, not just the recent “technology” of computers and other inventions of the 1900’s, technology really just boils down to people manipulating their environment to make things faster, more convenient, and easier. It is almost unreasonable to think that the development of technology is unnatural, because looking back at all the incredible inventions, we can see the path of how they build off of each other and led to even more incredible inventions. I think that once people started discovering things that would make life a little more convenient, such as cooking food to make it easier to chew—leading to the development of smaller teeth and jaw muscles (21)—naturally all progress just steamrolled on from there. It is completely acceptable that people “manipulate” the environment this way in order to achieve a more comfortable living experience.

2. Think about the Amish for a moment. Do you admire them or do you think they’re strange? Kelly describes his time with the Amish and although he does not consider himself Amish, he does understand their lifestyle to a certain capacity. Would you ever want to try being Amish? How long do you think you would last? Do you know anything about the Amish? What do you think they do for fun? Could we maybe learn something from them?
(Juliane Preisser)

I know that I would never care to experiment with the Amish lifestyle. I understand their way of living, seemingly unaffected by modern technology, but I also somewhat feel like they might be being hypocrites. It appears to me that they choose to abstain from modern technologies, but I do also notice that they make full use out of “older” technologies. Simple objects such as the handle on an ax used to cut wood, or the wheel on a buggy being pulled by a horse (a horse that is probably wearing a harness) are all the results of developing technology—albeit very early technology. The Amish appear to live their lives free of the hassle of modern day technologies, but in reality they are making full use out of a great deal of inventions from thousands of years ago. I know that I am being nitpicky here, but I wonder if anyone could truly live a life “free of technology”?


Tony Pagliaro

1. What kind of Information do you give to Technology? While on a social-media site, do you fill in all of the information categories? Do you like ever delete your cookies. why or why not?

On social media sites, I fill out the information with my likes, but I keep it to somewhat of a minimum. I rarely update it and tend to keep it as general as possible. For example, instead of entering my favorite movies, I enter my favorite directors. I also enter favorite music genres instead of too many bands, etc. I’m not sure why I do this; I think it has to do with the feeling of exclusivity of adding a bunch of specifics. I would feel that adding all of my “favorite” movies would be to say “I like these movies and these movies only, every other movie is not on my radar.” To keep it instead to directors or genres makes me seem more flexible with my likes. Again, I’m not sure why I value this, though. I think it just better represents my mindset towards art and my general interests.
I do, however, have other personal information on my Facebook page that other people tend to omit, such as my phone number. I’m not bothered by this because I’m pretty sure it’s not publicly viewable. Although to be perfectly honest I’m not sure what my Facebook privacy settings are anymore. I know that my profile used to not be publicly viewable, except for my name and profile picture (of which I have posted exactly one, and it isn’t a picture of me), but they change the settings and options pretty often so it may have change. I never really worried about it until this class, though, and now I’m really considering checking them out and changing them to make sure that most of my profile is hidden.
I pretty much never clear my cache on my internet browser. As I said in class a couple weeks ago, I like having it all saved so that I know when I’ve clicked on a link before, even if it was months or a year ago. I know that this allows sites like Facebook and Google to peek into my history and pull out the information that they want, but that doesn’t bother me a ton. I’m not a person who is easily swayed by advertising, so no matter how hard they try to market to me it is unlikely to work. I don’t make impulse decisions to purchase things or sign up for services. The internet may have made it easier for the marketers to cater directly to what they think I want, but it has also made it easier for me as a consumer to take my time shopping around, checking out myriad different providers, and collecting tons of feedback from other consumers. It has made life easier for marketers, but it has also empowered the customer, and overall I don’t think that my purchasing habits are affected at all.


Jessie Abell: Answer to Question 3

I have thought of the Amish a couple of times in class discussion when people have brought up “going to the woods” and abandoning technology. I worked at an Amish market in my hometown of Burtonsville, MD in high school. The market, owned and run by Amish and Mennonite families from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, hired local kids to help at the different stands. I knew very little about Amish and Mennonite culture before working at the market, but learned a lot from the girls that I worked with.

I worked at the produce stand, which was operated by a Mennonite man and his extended family. They explained to me that the difference between Mennonite and Amish was sort of like the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism; Mennonite culture had fewer “rules.” The Mennonite girls that I worked with wore the same traditional clothing as the Amish girls, but unlike the Amish girls, the Mennonite girls explained that they could embrace technology to some extent; most had cellphones and watched some TV at home (though not much, as working a farm left them little recreational time). The Amish, however, totally rejected ALL forms of technology.
I initially found their total (Amish) or partial (Mennonite) resistance to technology kind of strange, and I still do, even knowing what I’ve learned about their culture. They explained to me that they reject technology because their focus in life is to maintain the best possible relationship with God, and technology just makes that more difficult to do. I suppose I can sympathize with this view – I certainly agree (and I think we all do) that technology is a distraction.

The family that I worked with invited the local (non-Mennonite or Amish) girls to come spend a weekend with them to see what their everyday lives were like. My best friend at the time and I went, and let me tell you, we were MISERABLE the entire time. It was absolutely a learning experience, but being dropped into that culture from the “outside” was definitely as difficult as the opposite—being dropped into the “outside” as an Amish or Mennonite person. The best way I can explain it was like a time warp. I felt like I was in the M. Night Shyamalan movie The Village and surrounded by people who desperately wanted to remain ignorant of the outside world. They definitely vilified technology to an extent—we went to a church service and they briefly talked about “abstaining” from and “resisting” technology.

My experience left me feeling like the culture existed in a lot of ways to keep women subordinate to men, but I guess that is an entirely different discussion. Another interesting thing that I learned: a sort of “black market” of technological items existed in which Mennonite kids would buy and then sell cellphones or whatever else to Amish kids. Interestingly enough, the punishment for Amish kids (and probably the Mennonites providing them with technologies) should they get caught would have been VERY severe, but many of them still participated. I remember one kid telling me something along the lines of “the whole rest of the world got to try it, so they wanted to.” So I definitely think that younger people in the culture have a difficult time with totally accepting the lifestyle. I also learned that the only way to completely remove technology from your life would be to isolate yourself like they do, but even then, technology “seeps into” the culture.


*Michele Stulga*

#1 (Kistler)
I will only provide technology with information about myself if it is beneficial for me—not for the benefit of others to know more about me. As a rule, yeah, of course I like to Facebook stalk, but I don’t want to be Facebook stalked, myself. At the moment, I don’t even have my last name attached to any of my social media—if you are able to view my account at all, you should already know my last name. You can see where I go to school, my major, my current job, and my birthday. I don’t even like to include my real email address. If it would be too weird for you to ask for my email address, then I don’t want your email anyway. As I mentioned in class, I have my profile’s privacy options set pretty high. You can only see my page if we are friends, and I should not appear if you search my name on Facebook (unless we are friends). This is not to control some weird paranoia I’m having, but I feel like it keeps random people from sending me friend requests. In terms of the information that I provide through my usage, I don’t post statuses very often, unless it’s a game day, a close friend’s birthday, or something important that I don’t mind sharing is going on. I almost never upload pictures because I don’t own a working camera or have a smart phone. Usually, I use Facebook to keep in touch with long distance friends or shit around with my roommates. My one roommate is that obnoxious person who shows up on your newsfeed that, while procrastinating, will post funny 15 things in a span of 20 minutes on the same person’s wall to piss them off. I’m usually “the same person” in this scenario.

I probably delete my cookies every other week or so, except for the save password sections. Especially when I’m trying to search something, I find it incredibly annoying when all my past searches pop up first. No, I don’t need what I’ve already looked up to be called first…I’ve already looked that up.


*Sarah Brown*

Question One: David-

As far as giving my personal information to technology, there are some pro’s and con’s. I enjoy “liking” or “sharing” things that I read elsewhere online and re-sharing them with friends via Facebook. Yet I would never “like” or “follow” those things on my Twitter and LinkedIn account. I’m also against sharing my political views online, yet I’m comfortable sharing my religion? I suppose it all falls back on who I know my audience is. Knowing that I only have “friends/students” as my followers on Facebook, I’m less hesitant about the things I choose to post; such as a funny, bet perhaps not professionally appropriate Youtube video. Whereas on my Twitter account, I strictly use it for following professionals ONLY knowing that it’s something I may need to show a potential job recruiter upon graduation, being a social media admirer. LinkedIn is also another social media site where I’m extremely hesitant about what I “like” or what groups/events I choose to follow. For instance the Presidential debate: both Romney and Obama appeared as groups to follow and read articles about. I was weary about selecting the candidate I supported, fearful that my LinkedIn “connections,” or perhaps potential future employees wouldn’t agree with my political views and decide to dis-connect with me and my account.

Question Two: Juliane-

The Amish, wow that is the complete opposite of what society has corrupted to today; yet I’m both an admirer and also a critic. I admire the Amish for their productivity to be extremely hard workers. But from my experience with these types of beliefs, I’ve also noticed a slight difference in their verbal-social skills they have in comparison to lets say, the average student. I wouldn’t mind trying to be Amish for a week or so, maybe during finals week, where I know I would be the most productive studying my school material (but then I would have to transfer all my notes from my laptop to paper)—hmm maybe I take that back? I don’t know too, too much about the Amish and what their idea of fun activities may be, but I don’t think that should hinder them from expanding a little bit with technology. I think the most simplest and basic of things, such as the Internet is a huge resource and learning tool to expand ones knowledge outside the classroom. Do you think the Amish would be able to function in our society by simply taking notes during a class lecture? Probably not, but then again this could be the critic in me, where the Amish may have superb listening skills, learning when it is or is not important to take notes (like when we were all in middle school). Looking back we were able to function that way, pretty old school. But then we were also at an advantage where we could go home and read-up on information that we needed to write our science report on for that weeks homework assignment. I think we could both learn from the Amish and the Amish could learn from technology. It’s finding that right medium of what is or isn’t a technological learning experience.


*Elizabeth Haydu*
#2 (Juliane)
To an extent, I admire and question the lifestyle of the Amish. I personally wouldn't mind it for a time to be Amish. Like I have said in class, I do wish there was a place you could go to completely unplug from technology for a while, but I know myself well enough to say that I would probably not last for a lifetime without technology. I could probably go a couple months living the Amish lifestyle. I actually know a bit about the Amish religion and their way of life. Where fun is concerned, the children play outside when they aren't busy doing chores or reading and I know that school stops for them around 16.
From the Amish, we could probably learn a better work ethic, that is for sure. But their ideas about completely shunning technology might not be such a grand idea. I have always found it curious that they make technology (Microwaves), but don't use them.