Is technology all that it is cracked up to be?

This week in EDTC400 we focused on some issues surrounding the tech world, and how these issues affect us individuals in society. We can understand that there are problems with technology when former Facebook executives are admitting to “ripping society apart.” So what are some of the problems society is seeing due to technological advancements?

Technology was first created to allow people to connect with the world in more manageable ways than ever before. The use of technology was also supposed to bring equality to all individuals but as the Verge stated in an article, The FCC just killed net neutrality. This meaning that now people can pay to get people to their sites faster, for example, Netflix can pay money to allow people to zoom to their site, which in turn slows the process for people who are trying to get to an individual blog, for example, my blog. From this, people who can afford to pay this fee will benefit from the advancement, and the people who are unable to pay the fee will not get the same results as when they started.  Neil Postman also does a good job of explaining these inequalities online. He states that yes, there are advantages as technology advances, however, with those advantages someone else also sees disadvantages. The way I visualize this is with new phones. New phones are always being released and people always want the fresh new phone on the market so they go and buy it, this is an advantage for the people who can afford the new phones because they are getting the latest software and advancements. For the people who can not afford a new phone, they stick with their trusty old one, which is perfectly fine until the phone companies start making software updates and other updates that these older phones cannot obtain, forcing an individual to get a new phone when their 2-year-old phone is in perfectly good condition minus the software issues. Check out Postman’s article for a more in-depth analysis of these inequalities.

Photo Credit: vagueonthehow Flickr via Compfight cc

The next problem or concern I would like to address with regards to technology is thinking about multitasking. Sherry Turkle states:

“Technology promises to let us do anything from anywhere with anyone. But it also drains us as we try to do everything everywhere. We begin to feel overwhelmed and depleted by the lives technology makes possible”

~Sherry Turkle~

Technology has allowed so many people to learn to multitask and evidently get more things done. However, multitasking can also be very overwhelming as Turkle states. She acknowledges that yes now with technology individuals can get so much more done, however, they may now feel obligated to get more things done than ever expected before. This can be seen in the old example of the invention of technology-driven cleaning products brought into the home around the years of the 1960s. The technological cleaning supplies allowed for the homemaker to get their work done more efficiently, however, now with these new advancements the quality and amount they got done in the day rose much higher than before. This places a lot of stress on the individuals in this predicament. A study was done on university students that banned laptops in the classroom also show that since students are able to multitask so much on their laptops in class, they don’t retain as much information from class lectures because they are preoccupied with other apps on their devices such as Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Here is a short article that shares the risk of multitasking on your brain, they state as did the study that doing more than one thing at once puts a lot of strain on your brain and results in less knowledge being gained.

The last issue I want to talk about is what Eli Pariser defines as “filter bubbles” which he essentially describes as what an individual sees on their social media accounts. Companies such as Facebook, Instagram, and Google filter what we as consumers see because they believe it is what we want to be seeing. These companies leave out topics we do not search and grasp at the topics we search and work with that. They take our online personality and find articles, posts, pictures, etc. to shape our news feed. With this process, everything becomes interconnected. I search something on google, and the next day my whole Facebook account will show me ads and posts that reflect that google search (creepy, I know). This is not just on my laptop either, I search something on my laptop (which my Facebook is not even logged into), and I see ads for that google search on my phone within my Facebook account! I personally do not like this filtering technology at all, I now barely use my accounts because I no longer truly know what I am seeing. Many of my friends on Facebook post something, that I will not see unless somebody else shows me the post. Not only do I not get to see my friends and families posts, but it also does not allow me to see much of the news releases or other topics I am interested in because they have the algorithms decide for me that I do not care about those issues. It makes me uneasy that with the technological advancements being introduced these days, they have so much control over what we can see, and ultimately what we believe in or value. Invasion of privacy can also be seen throughout people being open to bringing Google homes or Alexa’s into their house. Many people love these tools that allow them to talk to this small device that will then direct it to their house, however, I believe it could cause some problems in the long run. Check out this article on how people are responding to their Google Homes.

What’s next?

Now that I laid out some of the problems the technological world is facing I thought it would be a good idea to see if there are any moves towards changing or recognizing these problems. For net neutrality, some say the fight is not over and people are trying to get the old rules back. For more information on what people are doing check out this article! Looking at multitasking and using technology we can look into how these tools can be integrated into the classroom properly. Educators must understand the concerns around technology in the classroom and look at ways in which they can teach about how to properly integrate technology into students learning by following models such as TPACK or the SAMR models. Both of these models are used to not only use technology in the classroom but use technology in the classroom in a way that benefits the individuals learning that previous models such as pen and paper could not do. This will help students not only concentrate on their work but help them effectively incorporate technology in the classroom. As for the last topic of my discussion, I am unsure of the status of if large corporations and companies plan to change their algorithms so they do not impact what we see and do not see on our social media accounts. I now open the question to you: Have you heard of any headway with this issue being resolved? Let me know in the comments below!

Photo Credit: davidstewartgets Flickr via Compfight cc

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2 thoughts on “Is technology all that it is cracked up to be?

  1. Hey Sydney!
    This is a great look at some of the most pressing issues surrounding technology today. I really enjoyed the article you shared about multitasking. I never really considered how it could be seen as a negative thing, but I have come to recognize that taking on too much at once can lead to burnout and decrease our performance. I tend to multitask a lot and technology has allowed for me to do just that. I will definitely be thinking more carefully into the ways I divide my attention!

    I am 100% with you on not being sure on the algorithm topic. I feel like that is such a powerful topic and with me not being very tech savy, I would love to hear what others have to say about it as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sydney!
    I greatly enjoyed reading your blog and think you did a great job acknowledging some of the major issues regarding digital technology that were brought to our attention during lecture. I appreciate that you took the time to conclude on a positive note and consider whether these problems are being addressed. I also have not heard about changes to algorithms of larger corporations such as Facebook, but I do believe that addressing that there is a problem is the first step to change and since this has been done, I look forward to seeing what happens.

    Like

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