Team 4 Synthesis

I’m not completely surprised that based on our discussion most of the class seems opposed to Kevin Kelly’s ideals in chapters five and six. I wish we had been able to touch on the ideas of evolution that Kelly brought up in the readings because I think the topic could have led to interesting discussion, but exploring the “pull” of new technologies was interesting in itself.

I was surprised that a number of people in the class felt that the “pull” of new technologies was a negative thing. As an admitted technophile, I can appreciate new technological advances, but to hear so many students consider Kelly’s proposal that new technology entices us to consume things we don’t really want was surprising. After discussion, I can certainly see both sides of the argument, but I am still inclined to argue that technology makes us all better, and that those who refuse to adapt will be left behind in everyone else’s tracks.

My best conclusion for the opposing viewpoints we often encounter in class can only be that the distinctly different viewpoints in the class stem from the nature of the types of people who would sign up for a class like this (one that is discussion-based and focused on technology): technophiles and those opposed to or skeptical of new technological developments. There is generally a clear separation between those two groups during class, and that leads to great discussion.

Overall, it was interesting to explore the idea of technological change as a possibly unwanted aspect of society and to discuss the possibilities for artificial intelligence in society.

Jennifer Romeo

During our discussion on Monday we focused most of our time on Question 1, which raised the issue of whether or not we are pulled toward the newest, better technology. I thought that this question was a good opener to get people thinking and talking about technology. A lot of good issues and perceptions were raised. At times it seemed to turn into a mini debate with some people stating a positive aspect of the pull technology has on us, and others coming back with counterarguments. This made for an interesting conversation.

Though most of our time was spent focusing on Question 1, we did address Question 4, which asked what, if any, of Kelly’s scenarios did people agree with. The answers and comments to this question were interesting because it seemed that everyone had the same outlook. No one seemed to agree that they could picture robots completely taking over. Everyone seemed to agree that the most likely scenario is scenario 3 (this is the scenario that I most agree with), which states that robots will exist, but there will always be a need for humans.

Overall, I feel that there was good discussion in class. Everyone brought up good points and opinions. The fact that some people found the pull that technology has on us to be negative, while others found it to be positive was of most interest to me. I feel like it shows that technology can be controversial and not everyone views it as a good thing.

Laura Nolan

I wasn’t completely surprised that the in-class discussion focused mostly on Question 1. It’s something we’ve touched on previously, and is a fairly provocative question. We also talked about the scenarios Kevin Kelly presents in Chapter 5, which were brought up in Question 4. It would have been nice to also talk about some of the other questions or issues the chapters raised, but the discussion we had was interesting and involved, so there was no need to switch topics.

It was very interesting that the opinions on whether the pull of technology was a good thing were so divided. I would have expected more of the class to have a problem with being told that something was manipulating them. Both sides gave compelling arguments and the consensus seemed to be that we should agree to disagree. The class was more united in the discussion of Kevin Kelly’s ideas: almost everyone disagreed with him. The discussion started with why his ideas were wrong, but also brought up why his arguments were poor as well. We don’t often talk about that aspect of the books we read, but it’s important to take into consideration.

In general, the pattern of discussion and opinion was basically the same as it’s always been. The class is fortunate to have people who embrace technology whole-heartedly and people who are more hesitant to enthusiastically celebrate some of the advancements digital technology has made in recent years. Because of these differences in opinion, discussions are usually lively, with excellent points from all the sides.

Terri Munns

The discussion covered what our group planned on talking about in class. We wanted to hear everyone's opinions on this "pull" towards technology and why they thought it gets stronger throughout generations. Main points were that "users" generate manufacturers to develop new technologies as opposed to the companies forcing their products onto consumers. I had always thought it was the companies influence and marketing, which is why it was strange to hear my classmates say the opposite.

Another topic discussed was the issue of robots and how robots will be fixing other computer-operated machinery. This caused some debate because some people still think humans are necessity, whereas the other half of the class saw robots replacing humans in the future. I am on the fence with this debate, and I don't see this happening in the near future, therefore I am not worried. As for generations in the future, they might start to see human jobs getting replaced by a machine.

All in all, the class vibe was against Kelly's opinion. They weren't totally convinced by his theories and studies and neither am I. I think his book is too far-fetched and more of a "scary story" as opposed to a "this is actually happening in the world" kind of story.

Brittany Hansen