So it's 2012. Does our era's new technology cause more harm than good to society?

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by AsphyxiateOnWords, Jan 1, 2012.

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  1. AsphyxiateOnWords

    AsphyxiateOnWords If you're 555, then I'm 666.

    I'm going to start off with a pros and cons list for you guys to think about before you answer this question. And when I say new technology I'm talking about things like iPhones, Androids, Blackberries, Facebook, iPads, Kindle, Playbook, fancy laptops, PS3, Xbox 360 (and, honestly, the reason I don't include the Wii is because most games that people lose their families over are on the PS3, XBox, or PC - Call of Duty, Gears of War, Battlefield 3, World of Warcaft, etc.)


    1. Makes it easier to communicate with people in places where regular telephones aren't usable (ie. subway, restaurants, stores, parks...etc.)

    2. Makes it easier for people who are anxious, esp. with social anxiety to talk to other people through texting or the computer instead of on the phone or in person.

    3. Makes it easier for certain evidence to stand up in court when we have the opportunity to quickly take pictures, videos, or messages as evidence to prove our case (ie. in a hit and run accident one might be able to take a picture of the person's license plate if they have a cell phone handy).

    4. Allows authorities/medical professionals to be contacted quickly in case of an emergency.

    5. Easy internet access wherever you go.

    6. Gives us something to pass the time with if we are bored.


    1. Texting has made people completely FORGET proper grammar, because when they text "dey type lyk dis" or use numbers in place of letters. Nowadays, even with all of our hardworking English professors at colleges all across the world, nobody gives a shit that "your" is actually referring to one's possession of something. For instance, "your banana", "your backpack", etc., while "you're" is a contraction meaning "you are". For instance, "You're welcome.", "You're pretty.", etc.

    2. Phones, computers, and tablets interrupt one's time with their wife and kids because most of us take them EVERYWHERE with us, even to take a dump. So, if your family goes out to a restaurant, or if you're sitting at home with your wife, and instead of paying attention to her, you keep checking your phone for alerts from your friends or the statistics of sports games.

    3. Because technology is so easy to use, it has made us as a society a lot lazier, and more unwilling to do more difficult tasks. I mean, I understand not wanting to deal with mailing a letter that will get there in a week's time when you can e-mail that person and get it to them a minute later, but this type of behavior carries on to other things as well. In general, we're MUCH lazier than the generation of people who was missing all of those things. So what does that say about us? Instead of working hard to get what we want, we can get it done in the matter of seconds and then sit our lazy asses on the couch and play XBox.

    4. Facebook is considered this new, revolutionary way to do social networking online...but really what it is, is a way to gossip, a way for high schoolers and middle schoolers to cyber-bully their classmates, a way to make it extremely easy to cheat on one's spouse, and a way for underage girls to get raped or killed by a cyber-stalker.

    5. Because of new technology, people spend all their time with their electronics instead of going out there and actually exploring life...traveling to new places and seeing new things. Nobody cares about that anymore. They only care about getting right to the damn computer when they come home from work. Fuck spending time with their family, fuck going out somewhere and having a good time with friends, let's just sit and stare at the computer screen until our eyes bleed.

    6. New technology has also made us a more materialistic society. And again, we forget about what truly matters in life. Imagine a little 13 year old girl crying because she didn't get the Android she wanted for Christmas. I mean what the hell does a 13 year old need a phone like that for in the first place?? Because all her friends have it of course, and she doesn't want to be outcasted. If we're suddenly not able to get that laptop, or ipad, or iphone we wanted, it's suddenly the end of the world and we hate our lives. Material possessions can be replaced. Your family can't.

    So I've named both what I think are pros and cons of the new technology of 2012. Just to briefly go over them:

    Pros are: Easier to communicate with people, easier for people with mental disorders to communicate and express themselves, helps to prove certain situations in legal proceedings, easier to contact 911 and police in cases of emergencies, makes it easy to look something up online on the go, and suppresses boredom.

    Cons are: They've made people a lot dumber and less focused on education; they've ruined or at least strained many relationships; they've made us lazier and less hard-working; they've made it easier for one to cheat on their spouse, for pedophiles to entice children, and to bully teenagers until it drives them to the brink of suicide, they've made it less likely for anyone to actually care to go places and travel the world and learn/see new things rather than sit on the computer all day, and lastly, they've made us more materialistic rather than focusing on what truly matters like our families and friends.

    So, you decide...overall, is new technology a good thing or a bad thing? And why?
  2. Chargette

    Chargette Well-Known Member

    I see new technologies as having a learning curve on many different levels for society. I believe that there are advantages and disadvantages in everything. It comes down to being able to use self discipline to be able to protect ourselves from the harmful aspects; such as turn these things off when it's dinner time for the family.
  3. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    All cons considered, included ones not listed, I believe whatever makes life more comfortable is good.
  4. In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place Well-Known Member

    I'd say texting is the thing that gets me the most,being dumped by text has to be one of the most humiliating scenario's,but then i know people will say that people are at fault there and not the technoligy.Still the preoccupation people have with their mobiles is a bit strange but hey thats life now.
  5. pit

    pit Well-Known Member

    I think we were all better off in the stone age. Life was savage -- but richer.
  6. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

    I find it interesting to note that people were as wary of the new technology of the day 'back in the day' too, they were wondering of the phone what you now wonder of the global wireless networks.

    This isn't a pro per se to you - your cons reference the ubiquity of communication as actually being negative.

    Debatably this is a con; it gives them a way to avoid just developing the skills in personal communication and, when they finally need them in cases like a job interview or some such, they're still inept whereas in the 40's if you were a shy person you learned to just get the communication done.

    This isn't necessarily a moot point but I feel that it's such a rare occurance it doesn't really have any weight in a question like "Is the technology more beneficial than not?".

    This is just a specific example of point 1.

    This is just a specific example of point 1.

    Who says that's a positive? The ability to always get that instant gratification does, debatably, fuel the short attention spans of the young and allow them to never need to develop the patience generally considered adult.

    Eh, I don't think this is a meaningful statement. At least here you're still expected, and penalized for failing to, use proper English in schools.

    Literacy rates in the past century are also a key argument to support the idea that communication technology is not a negative influence on literacy. The phones, as they became common, meant many communications no longer had to be written and therefore spelling was less important. Regardless the number of people per unit population that could read and write competently increased.

    Perhaps, but really I think it reflects far more on the people than the technology that it's used in that manner.

    Going back to what I said at the beginning, people once said the same thing about tractors on the farm. You're looking back and saying "Look at how much more they had to do, we're getting lazy!" but look at it like this:

    1980: Computers? Calculators? Damn kids won't be able to think right if they never have to do mental math!
    1970: Microwave ovens!? Used to be people cared about their food and were willing to take the time to cook it right! Cassettes too? Walkmen? Music used to be a special occasion, now it's just filler for your day!

    Culture changes. We change. We change things to work with how we are. It's what makes us who we are. I'd say the new technology is not destroying us or helping us, but making the new paradigm of the society. That advance brings many ahead and leaves many behind.

    Facebook is safer for underage girls and everybody than going to a bar - even a respectable one. One has no more or less anonymity on facebook than they do in a bar, a pool hall or public park. (In fact Facebook probably knows enough about you to get the police to your door whereas in real life all you can get from a person is a physical description. Even if the person lies about their name and whatnot on Facebook they probably know more about you than people in a bar could know.)

    In a bar or other real-life location a bully or predator can literally kill you. On Facebook they can toss words and, if they're feeling extra rough, make verbal threats that leave you ample time to contact authorities if you feel threatened.

    If you think the Internet is a den of rapists on the prowl for 13 year old girls than how do you explain why shopping malls aren't full of predators just waiting to drag off children into the parking lot? Why aren't predators snatching kids off the street right left and centre?

    Because predators aren't that common. People that both legitimately would like to have sex with and/or injure people they don't know that don't consent are pretty uncommon, and even those that do don't always have the willingness to run from the law for it.

    Those that want to and are willing to do it, though, know that you can't snatch people over a cable, so what do they end up doing? Using the internet the same way predators always used phones, public bulletin boards and other communications media in the past - to put somebody in a compromised position where they can easily be taken advantage of. That's not limited to the internet and, in fact, socializing over the internet means you're probably at home which is safer than what people used to do more in the pre-internet era: going out into public places.

    In fact the violent crime rates in the US and Canada have been on a downward trend for many years - years going back before the internet and the trend continuing with the internet's rise. That includes sexual assaults. In fact there's a correlation between an increase in internet connectivity and a decrease in sexual assaults. (Not necessarily causative, but still worth a thought.)

    Similarly the Internet hasn't increased infidelity rates I'll bet you anything: Cheating is far from a new phenomena and it's been easy to do it for a long time even without the internet. Also something that was amazingly common pre-internet: gossip.

    Sexual assaults, infidelity and gossip all have and will happen with or without the Internet. It's not a con of the Internet, it's a con of humans; that TCP/IP was used to make gossip-ridden systems is a reflection on the user, not the technology.

    It's been a trade that is both positive and negative: we traded intimate knowledge of our neighbours and neighbourhood for a general knowledge of the whole world. I can make friends across the world so I don't need to learn to get along with the neighbours the same way one used to. I don't have to leave the house and see all the local businesses the same way I used to, but guess what? I also have the advantage of sourcing the whole world for what I buy, who I talk to and what I see. There's a new openness to the world I got in return for losing some of the closeness with my neighbourhood.

    GI Joe. Cabbage Patch Kids. Hot Wheel. Barbie. Same kids, different toys. The technology hasn't exacerbated the problem, it's been the latest outlet for what kids have always been like.

    So I've named both what I think are pros and cons of the new technology of 2012. Just to briefly go over them:

    Actually the number of people taking more school after highschool is at an all-time high...

    How? People always communicated with other people. People have always meet an enchanting woman at the bar while the wife's at home and people have always gone out looking for casual sex while the wife's at home too.

    The same way using a tractor rather than donkey and plough did.

    Actually it's much harder to get away with kidnapping in this day and age than it was in, let's say, 1930. In the 30's a kid went missing and what could you do? If you were lucky you found the ID of the kidnapper or the kid managed to escape. Today? Today you can plaster pictures of their face all over the neighbourhood, news and internet, the police can easily share the missing child info with all the other police in the nation, you have CCTV cameras, etc.

    Kids have always been bullied and kids have always killed themselves - like above, actually, the internet has probably made bullying better overall. Would you rather be intimidated in person where it's extremely easy for a bully to escalate the situation to a beating, or would you like them to do it mostly on Facebook where the worst they can do is threaten you?

    Back in the "good old days" Physical bullying was far more common given the lax policies on bullying in schools and that bullying could only take place in the parking lot or playground.

    Actually people leave their cities and countries far more often now-a-days; once upon a time only the rich and a select few merchants and servants ever had the resources or cause to travel beyond their home. In the 60's getting to Europe was no small feat, today you can pop into the UK from North America in a few hours for maybe 1/5 the cost as it was in the 60's.

    People have always loved things. The Spanish committed an outright genocide over gold and that was well before the internet.

    You either progress or stagnate.
  7. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    I can't tell you how much I cherish the wall that technology puts between me and other people. It's like... I can satisfy my (limited) need to socialize, without going through the hell of having to be physically face-to-face with anyone. It's a life-saver, as far as I'm concerned.
  8. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

    One can easily counter-argue that if you were alive in the 1940's you'd have to have physical meetings regularly and would be able to adapt to it, even if uneasily, and become able to handle it whereas today you only need to have infrequent contact and thus can string out your isolation easily. (Which can be said to be unhealthy in many ways.)
  9. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    The assumption that I'd be able to adapt to it is a pretty big one. More likely I'd have just killed myself long ago, or just found some other way to be away from people as much as possible.
  10. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

    The assumption you wouldn't be able to live your life is at least as big an assumption. Faced with the increased necessity to have face to face interaction - specifically as a child when you're able to mentally adapt to just about anything - would more likely than not mean it'd work out for you. Today, because you don't have to, that's not something you need to work out.

    You can say, and I would agree, that you don't actually have a problem if you can live your life how you're living it now, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the only way you could have turned out if you raised in a different environment.
  11. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    This is why I hate discussions like this, because it always turns into "well you don't KNOW that it couldn't have been different" sorts of situations. We can throw hypotheticals around until the cows come home and never reach any useful conclusions. I'll just say that any hypothetical "me" that would have existed in the 1940s wouldn't really be me at all; the only me that exists is in the present, and if I know anything about my present self, it's that I'm really really REALLY awkward and uncomfortable interacting with actual people in real life, and I have no reason to think I'd get better at it with practice. Some people are just plain naturally bad at socializing, and I'm one of them. Is that so hard to believe?
  12. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

    Yes, because it's no coincidence that people believe they just naturally socialize how they do even in totally different cultures where socializing is very different. It's not a coincidence people that believe it's inappropriate to look authority figures in the eye are almost 100% concentrated in societies where it's considered inappropriate to look authority figures in the eye.

    Yes, if you were born in the 1940's you wouldn't be the you that you are. That's my point - the people are defined by the culture and the culture is very influenced by the technology. People definitely are different because of the new technologies and that's my point. People exist that rely or are extremely convenienced by the technology exist only because the technology exists; to claim that the technology is good because it lets X kind of people live or live much easier isn't valid unless people agree that people should actually be like that.

    Arguing if new technology is good or not boils down to what kind of people you like better. It's not a coincidence that this thread and all the grumblings about new technology come down to making people like this or that.

    Grandpa never says "Today's computers are bad because they're based on the digital logic paradigm!" he says they're bad because they let people have really short attention spans.

    Similarly I think one can't answer the question of whether modern technology is good or bad until they've decided whether they like the society and people that will thrive with that technology.
  13. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    I understand your point on a society-wide level. I just strongly doubt that it applies to me personally. I've been this way since before I can remember, long before I even knew the internet existed. Some people just plain don't like being around other people. This has always been the case.
  14. AsphyxiateOnWords

    AsphyxiateOnWords If you're 555, then I'm 666.

    Lovecraft, I could argue with you, but there's really no point. You rudely and argumentatively (though subtly enough to not look like TOTAL ass) nit-picked at everything I said probably for the mere reason that you're miserable and bored. I stopped reading when I realized that. I hope it at least helped you pass the time.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2012
  15. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

    I'm a formal debater IRL, sorry if you took my attempts to restructure your argument as 'nitpicky'.

    Despite that, however, if you're not willing to respond to criticisms of your opinion you're probably not going to get much out of the Soap Box.
  16. AsphyxiateOnWords

    AsphyxiateOnWords If you're 555, then I'm 666.

    The "IRL" part is very hard to believe. I found it nit-picky because you had something to say about literally every sentence (and sometimes sentence fragment) that I had written. And I'm plenty willing to respond to a friendly debate, I'm just not willing to ruin my day by debating with someone who is so blunt in their speech that it actually seems rude. And my post was moved here from The Coffee House. It wasn't my choice to put it here.
  17. Lovecraft

    Lovecraft Well-Known Member

    Why's that?

    It's how I respond to posts on forums a lot; read it and, when I find a point to respond to, throw it in quote tags and put the response. Makes it very clear what each of my responses are referencing.

    I don't feel like I did anything particularly offensive.

    Well I apologize, then, about the "In the Soap Box" comment.
  18. AsphyxiateOnWords

    AsphyxiateOnWords If you're 555, then I'm 666.

    On a forum like this (and I'm not even talking about just you in particular), I think people should realize that most people here are very analytical, sensitive, and easily offended. Myself being one of those people. So whereas you may feel as though you did nothing wrong, I already explained why your post offended me and made me hesitant to respond. That's fine about how you respond to posts, but your tone in the original post seemed overly blunt and completely unfriendly.
  19. In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place Well-Known Member

    I wish people could just give a spontenious response as opposed to putting everything under the microscope and picking it to pieces quite so much.
  20. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    A well structured argument is useless against simple wisdom. At the end of the day, you're right, StrangeAsAngels, you are so right.
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