Bears, Cyborgs and your External Brain
The cyborg anthropologist mentioned the guy walking down the street only paying attention to his phone, who walked directly into a bear. It could be dangerous to divorce yourself from the real world by getting too much screen time. If you’re not walking into a bear which is a bit more improbable you could walk into a hole in the street or into lamp post and crack your head. Does this mean that we should take time off from our screens and go native. Should we purposefully go on a road trip and take only a paper map with us and not take any smart phones or tablets? Having a computer with us is kind of like having an external brain that extends our capabilities. In some ways we really are turning into cyborgs. The electronics we carry with us all the time are connected to us almost as if they are physically attached to our bodies and enhancing what we can do as humans. We are using these tools to fill-in the dead time we have in places where we are removed of our humanity. So while we are standing in the queue in a supermarket and it is down time we can’t do much else so we get out the smart phone and connect. Same thing when you’re in an airport feeling slightly De-humanised by being channelled around through the place like sheep. The same could be said for a trip to IKEA. Login and find out what your friend from the other side of the world is doing. Make a connection with other online humans. It’s like having a second personality and second presence you have to take care of. People are meeting you online sometimes directly and sometimes disconnected by time. So you might be in an online meeting room and then again you might be just sending messages via Twitter which could have hours or even days in between replies. Do our interactions online change the way we are as physical beings when interacting with real people? Are we being altered by our online lives?
All about the software
Some people would argue that technology is a bad thing and we should be avoiding being always hooked up to screens. I love technology and love to make the best use of it as is possible. I think the best thing to do is to choose the software you use carefully. Use software that will help you to reflect inwardly as well as being drawn externally into the various social networks. Use applications like Day One, so you can reflect inwardly and talk about how you feel and how your day is going for you generally. Write a journal and also include audio, video and pictures to really tell your story. Record a Life in a Good and Geeky way. If you’re not sure what you can write, there are plenty of prompts you can get your hands on to give you ideas of what to include in your journal. If you’re having a great life then you should write about it in your journal. If you’re not having a great life then you should make plans to do things and record what do you do in your new and improved life. Take a course, it could be something educational and in a classroom or it could be something more visceral, an experience like learning how to windsurf. Whatever you do in this direction, it’s going to involve meeting other people which to a certain extent will pull you away from your screen life, but will also give you plenty to add to your digital life record. The act of using digital devices to record your physical and mental life will be a worthy addition to the account of your time on earth and in no way detrimental. You can write about how you feel about the experiences you are going through, how they are affecting your mental state as well as writing about the physicality.
Computers looking into your soul
Software is being developed that will look at you and decide how are you are feeling. The camera will peer into your soul by checking out your face to see if you’re sad or happy. The software connected to this could serve you with a joke to cheer you up or even just ask you why you are not feeling so good. Other meta data could come into play such as the health information coming from your smartwatch. The software might decide what you really need is a doctor’s appointment. A check up from the neck up. To a large extent we are in the infancy of what technology can do to influence our lives. It is going to become more pervasive and I have the optimistic view it will be beneficial overall. We won’t necessarily have to become real cyborgs with techno implants to make us stronger, faster, better or more intelligent it will be more subtle than that. It won’t cost a fortune either, we won’t need to be a million dollar man to be enhanced by technology. It is coming though and we do also have to wonder what sort of backlash there will be. Some parts of society will fight against it and swing the other way. There will be people who would like to get their hands on tech be will be unable due to cost or other unavailability circumstances. In any case interesting times ahead.
Ignore technology or embrace it?
I’ve started with trying to get the best from tech with my Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad and desktop computer and going down the good and geeky route of recording my life. How do you see it all going down for you? Will you ignore it or embrace it?