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Monday, February 28, 2011

The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do. ~B.F. Skinner

When the time comes to choose between the Internet and a book for a research project, I usually choose a book. Between skyping with a friend and talking with them in person, I choose the latter. However, I will be the first to admit that when it is late at night and the library is closed or when a good friend is away at college, technology is a fabulous tool. With the information revolution raging on in full force, I thought I would use this post to illustrate how technology has impacted my family….

I have a younger sister, Elizabeth. She is 10 years old, and a genius (at least I think so). Technology is becoming a huge part of her life. She makes imovies when we go on vacation, arranges her own songs in garage band, writes poetry on her laptop, and downloads all the latest apps for her itouch. She knows how to use almost every form of technology, and she is creative with it, for example, she does not have a cell phone but she was able to figure out how to text her friends, FOR FREE, through her itouch. She also figured out how to set up her own skype account, which she uses to talk to her cousins who recently moved far away. I consider myself “tech savvy” but Elizabeth is on her way to becoming the most wired kid I know.

Although I know that Elizabeth is gaining skills and experience for her future with all of this exposure to technology, sometimes I can’t help but worry about her and her friend’s idea of a good time. They spend it playing computer or itouch games, surfing the web, or playing Wii. After school, when she is done with homework, she gchats her friends or skypes with them. Don’t get me wrong, it is amazing to see her taking advantage of such technology, but after reading reports from social scientists and child psychologists, I worry that all of this technology is preventing her from developing strong bonds with friends and inhibiting her from gaining important social skills.

“For one thing, text messages are not capable of revealing facial expressions and body languages, which makes a substantial impact in communication. Empathy is not a product of text messages but more of a reaction to the emotional expressions of the receiver in communication. I doubt whether all advancements in the visual and video technology can substitute for the observation, feel and touch factors of communication of interpersonal communication. The big question is whether true friendship and social interaction can be possible without empathy.”

To read more go here

Technology is taking us to places that we have never gone before. Social Networking tools like Facebook is acting as the catalyst for the protests in the Middle East, blogging and twitter are allowing people to leave a digital footprint, and our smart phones help us stay more connected than ever.

Is this fabulous, is this bad?

I would love to hear your reactions to this technology takeover J

Until next time…


1 comment:

  1. Nice post, Ali! Love the quote you used as a title!