Question Forum 5

1. On page 289, Kelly writes that in an age of connectedness, cultural differences are highly valued. He also states that many of these differences are the result of isolation. How do you think that cultures can maintain their differences in the midst of increasing interaction with the outside world?

2. When discussing "technophilia," Kelly states that new technology pushes old ones into "uselessness," that we'll grow to love technology, and that we will marvel at technology the way we marvel at huge, lush trees and natural beauty (324). Do you think that technology will soon be as meaningful as earth's natural resources like trees and mountains, resources we did not create? Why or why not?

3. Kelly reduces the idea of free will(307) to the particle level, attributing molecular (and therefore "computer chip") particles with free will—such as when a cosmic particle passes through a cell and happens or happens not to trigger a mutation. How do you view this way of attributing the technium with free will? Do you agree that this view of basic choice compounds into the larger picture of how we view free will in humans? Why or why not?

4. Kelly states that if current rates continue by the year "2060 there will be 1.1 billion unique songs and 12 million kinds of production for sale." (245) Do you feel that everyone will be satisfied with this many choices, or will they be overwhelmed? Do you feel like currently society is coming up with unique ideas, or do you feel as if you are seeing the same concept of a movie (i.e., romantic comedy, action film) over and over again?

Question 2
Technology is already an object of marvel. Whether or not they are equal in value to nature is a matter of opinion, and I think it always will be. Some people will always value nature above technology and visa versa. Those that want to spend more time with technology than with nature will probably do so in the future. Those that spend more time in and around nature and less time connected to technology will continue to do so. In my opinion, as society becomes more and more connected through technology, many obscure areas will be developed into metropolitan communities. Farms will become strip malls, orchards will become hospitals, and fields will turn into subdivisions. This is not just a guess; I’ve seen it happen. I grew up on a road that wasn’t even on a map. There was one other house on our road. In fact, we were the only two houses on the side of a mountain. Now I go home to a highly developed subdivision. I went to a high school that was three minutes from an orchard that’s now a Food Lion, a Dollar General, and a hip strip mall full of obscure boutiques. This happened in less than 10 years. It’s the progression of society. More people need more space. More technologies mean more jobs, and a city is born where a county once resided. Obviously, I’m one of those people who value nature over technology. I’d rather be outside than staring at a screen, but that doesn’t mean I don’t use and like technologies. Believe me, I miss the orchard, but it’s nice not to have to drive a half hour to the nearest grocery store. This give and take can be boiled down to technology versus nature. While nature is important, it’s quickly being eroded by technology. In the end, people will value what they have in the past whether it be nature or technology.

Katelyn McDaniel

Question 2

I don’t think that technology will ever be admired the way that nature is. When I am in nature and see something amazing like a waterfall or water that is a beautiful, clear blue I think that it compares to nothing else I’ve ever seen. I can’t personally imagine thinking about technology in that way. I think of technology as something that is ‘cool’ or ‘neat.’ I would never classify a new technology as beautiful or inspiring.

Maybe that is just me. Maybe some people think of technology the same way that I look at nature. I do think that some technology is unlike anything I ever seen but in my mind I always know that it is man made. Nature is not. Standing on lava in Hawaii is not in the same realm as getting a new computer. To me there is just no comparison. And there never will, no matter how cool technology becomes.

Question 4

1.1 billion unique songs? I can’t even imagine that. Even today it seems like so many songs are simply remixes. At this point in time, artists are going back to the 60’s and 70’s and even later to redo songs that in my opinion did not necessarily need redoing. I see the same thing time and time again in movies. Why did the Parent Trap need to be remade? Or Yours, Mine and Ours? Those movies were great in their original form! I feel like it is rare to go to the movies now and see a completely unique idea. Based on this trend, I do not see how there will be 1.1 billion unique songs in 2060. I think that especially in music, we are getting more creative in how we mix songs. Not more creative in the lyrics we write or the beats we produce.

MC Hawes

Question 4

I think our society rapidly consumes new media and that even if there are millions or billions of choices available, people will limit themselves to a smaller portion of those choices. I don’t think that people limit themselves intentionally, but it’s just a fact that many songs and movies are nearly forgotten after a few years. In addition to this, many people are only interested in a few genres of music or movies, further limiting the choices.

The reason I think songs or movies are forgotten is that many of them are not unique. For most producers, especially movie producers, the primary purpose in producing something is to make money, not to create something original or meaningful. Often, the result is something that incorporates popular ideas and appeals to a large group of people, which is exactly the sort of production that will be forgotten in a few years when it’s no longer popular.

Another reason why I think songs or movies are not unique is that it is difficult to create something completely new and uninfluenced by what has already been done, and even if someone did this, I do not think it would be very popular. An example is Vincent Van Gogh. His artwork was very different from other works of his time, and it was not appreciated until after his death. I think that people can only handle so much uniqueness at one time, and after that it’s just considered weird.

Since society does not produce many truly unique ideas, and because many older productions are often forgotten, I do not think the large number of choices will overwhelm society. Many people will probably be unaware of all the choices that exist, and even if some people are aware, I do not think they will be interested in many of them.

Amy Gay

Question 1

Although technology has made everyone much more connected and similar, cultural differences can still persist. One way for cultures to maintain their differences is through language. Most countries teach English because it is a global language that can connect different cultures together, but these countries continue to keep their native languages. These languages are somewhat confined to their respective counties and between inhabitants of the countries, while English is used for interactions between multiple countries. By continuing to use these languages despite the global push towards English, countries can help keep their cultural uniqueness.

Another method is to post information and create groups online where people can learn about and discuss different cultures. This way even though they are using a modern tool of connection, these cultures can keep their communities and even gain new members through the new technology.

Kelley also point out on page 288, that in a world of connectedness, people will pay for something different. By continuing to keep cultural differences despite modern technology’s pull toward sameness, these cultures can make money by allowing outsiders to experience and learn about their culture. This earned money can then help these cultures preserve their traditions.

Question 4

I think that some people will always want more choices, but for the most part, the numbers suggest be Kelley would be overwhelming. Even today we seem to have an overwhelming number of choices. Many people, when listening to their iPods, just put the music on shuffle because they have too many songs to choose from. As Kelley says on page 286, if people have too many choices, they might just decide not to choose at all. By adding more choices, we will end up overwhelming ourselves even more. We are also starting to see the same ideas over and over again. Many story lines, especially in movies, seem to be the same. However, even though current society repeats certain ideas, we still have space for unique ideas. But, if Kelley’s predictions turn out to be correct about the year 2060, I don’t know that there will be any unique ideas left.

Sarah Joseph

Question 1: I believe the actual "culture" plays a huge role in individual society's differences. In America, it seems our culture can be defined by baseball games, cookouts, and the good old red, white, and blue. Jump down to Mexico or Brazil and rodeos, soccer, tequila, and chili powder are part of their every day lives. Generations are based upon cultures. I agree with Kelly, that for the most part, isolation protects culture. I don't feel like there will be a day, that because we are living in an age of connectedness, we will lose culture, as long as it remains passed down in the coming generations. It seems countries have been, and will continue to be, proud of their cultures; so whether it's the Fourth of July in the USA or Mexico's independence day from Spain, the culture is to celebrate and commemorate.

Question 4: Wow! When I read Kelly's forecast for the future, I was surprised, but then reminded that even today, the year 2011, was once "the future" and presently there are huge advances from the past and infinitely more choices for media than there have ever been before. So with that said, when I'm the ripe old age of 82, I probably will be overwhelmed with all of those choices…. but as much as technology and media will advance, so will the filtering systems. Even today, sites like Bing and now Google, can predict what you want. Regarding today's current society, I do feel like themes, story lines, and character types are repeated, but honestly, how many other variations can we come up with?

Rachel Blackwell

Question 2

I do believe technology is meaningful; it can act as a marker on our progress as a species. Because of this, and the various comforts technology provides, we grow attached to these technologies. But I was forced to disagree with Kelly. The true beauty of “natural beauty” is that we are not responsible for its existence. While we may marvel at technologies, we soon grow bored or indifferent with them. New technology only sparks our interest, just as old technology allows us to get a glimpse into the past and say, “That is how they lived this back then.” But that feeling is nothing compared to going out and discovering something in nature that we played no part in creating.
But Kelly is not totally wrong. After the readings, I know he wants us to believe that technology creates technology, and if this is true, then our technologies are, in fact, naturally occurring. While it is possible that we don't have the attention span to truly marvel at them on an individual level (perhaps a side-effect of technology as Carr would say), we do, on a community level, marvel at new technological ages. Not really specific technologies, but entire groupings (like communication technology that encompasses our cellphones, global information technology like the Internet, etc.) deserve our amazement as much as any forest or natural landmark.

John Del Terzo

Question 2

I think it is difficult for us to see technology as being as meaningful as the natural wonders of the earth. For one thing, part of the value of natural resources is their longevity and will to survive. The only way trees and mountains will fail to outlast people is if we blow up the planet. On the other hand, technology is ever changing and adapting. There are technologies that reach across generations and time periods, such as the clock or the book, but they still lack the omnipotence of nature. I think that we will become more and more reliant on technology but that will not necessarily translate to the same kind of love and appreciation that we have for nature. Even if technology does begin to generate on its own, there is the inevitable human component which makes nature more meaningful to us. I think nature is more meaningful because we understand that it is beyond our control, whereas we believe that we control technology. But advances in technology may serve to further blur the definitions of what we can and cannot control. I have read that Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup, is supposedly investing heavily in artificial cloud technology which would be used to shade the stadiums and drastically lower the extreme desert temperatures. If that leads to being able to manufacture rain clouds, then we have gone a long way towards bending nature to our control. But I still believe that we will continue to see earth’s natural resources as more valuable than technology.

Ted Brasfield

Question 1

In today’s world, everything is becoming more global. Interacting with other cultures is becoming increasingly essential, and because of the rapid exchange of information and ideas across national borders, cultures are starting to blend and have great impacts on each other. To me, the most important difference I hope our country can maintain is our language. Language is such a critical part of life and culture, and if we can maintain its integrity I think we can preserve a lot of what it means to be American. Language is something that can always be unique to a culture.

Jennifer Romeo

Question 4

I feel that it will be a mixed reaction. I think that some people will love the fact that they have so many options and songs to choose from to listen to, but on the other hand I think that there will definitely be those people that feel extremely overwhelmed by the selection of songs. I can also see the people that feel overwhelmed to stop listening to music as much because they are just so overwhelmed by the amount of songs out there, which would then effect the music industry because not as many people are listening to music.

Again, I can see both sides of this argument. I do think that we are seeing the same things over and over again – the same movie plots, same beats in songs, etc. To me this is not unique because people are doing the same thing, and using the same beats, again and again. This does not allow for creativity because it is consistently the same thing. On the other hand, I think that artists that do match-ups or use the same beat as an old song are being unique and creative because they are taking something and making it their own. There are some songs out there that I like because the artist takes a great iconic song and makes it different. To me this makes for unique ideas.

Laura Nolan