Professional Practices – Post 1

Techno-phobia in an era of mass Technological advancement

At the tail end of 2016 Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted a video of himself and his family to promote the artificial Intelligence (AI) he was working on. Much like Amazon’s Alexa, Zuckerberg’s Jarvis (Anyone else notice that that is also the name of Tony Stark’s AI in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) served individuals to help them with their day to day. It was met by a response by many twitter users saying things such as

“This is like smart house. And we all know what happened” – @_camiilllaaa

These tweets referred to a 1999 Disney movie in which a young boy wins a smart house and it is all well and good until the house begins to take over and do the things it deems best instead of what it is told. I am a very pro-tech kind of woman and I’ve always been interesting to see the world’s next technological and scientific advancements. I have however noticed that the more we technologically advance the more people seem to be sceptical. I’m going to be discussing two topic areas in regards to tech scepticism these are; the idea of Necessity vs Luxury in this post and the changing face of childhood in another.   

When discussing rapid technological advancements with my housemate Mia who happens to a computer games art student I was surprised she had this to say:

“The more humans rely on technology the more they become detached from how to do things by themselves”

Her argument was that technological advancements are amazing for instance she didn’t think virtual reality would have been able to be a practical thing so soon but her largest scepticism is how technological advances may cause us to become less self-reliant. A small example of this was the trend of the hoverboard, there was a period of time where many young people were using hoverboards to travel everywhere. They became less likely to walk and began to rely on a piece of tech to undertake a task that they were perfectly able to do themselves.

This idea of technology taking on roles that we would once do ourselves arises the question of necessity versus Luxury. One of the main arguments is that we may limit ourselves and our ability to develop certain skills as the necessity to do something or learn something no longer exists. Before people knew how to drive cars they knew how to use a horse drawn cart, so now most people have lost a skill that once was key. If we bring that example up to the current day we now have self-driving cars, does the fact that we can now programme a car to take us from point A to point B mean in the future less people will have the skill of driving? I think there is a strong argument about what skills we may lose as we develop our technology however just because something becomes less popular or not the norm of a given society or time It does not mean that skill will definitely be lost. We no longer ride horses and drive carts as our main means of travel that doesn’t mean that there aren’t many individuals who can still do those things, it also doesn’t mean that individuals born or growing up outside of that period cannot still gain those skills.

The main issue that arises when discussing this subject area is the relativity of the two terms, what is deemed as a necessity may seem as a luxury to another. For instance, if I wanted to make some of my mum’s famous hot pepper dipping sauce I would deem a blender to be a necessity, however, although my mum can use a blender to make it she prefers to hand grind the ingredients to make her sauce using a brick and mortar. The two terms change generationally as well as depending on where you live in the world and I think individuals should just place value on teaching their predecessor those skills so they aren’t lost but not being so sceptical and also learning the new skills that tech advancement has allowed.
Anthea Armah

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