Today, I returned back to university starting with Media, Culture 1. I am excited about this particular module as some very interesting themes and topics arise. Initially, we began with a rough introduction to our course content and structure which led to discussions around ‘humanness’ and our relations to technology. Recently, we are experiencing our lives through second- hand interactions, increasingly our relations with technology aids and restricts our social interactions, opportunities and day-to-day tasks. I am particularly passionate about this subjects as I have notices a deterioration of social interactions, from personal experiences.
Communication is mostly initiated from a screen with networking software and websites such as such as Facebook and Whatsapp, with face-to-face dialogue becoming uncommon. Increasingly, data and information is consumed through either, smartphones, tablets or computer screens rather than books or newspapers. The creation, distribution and consumption of media is grasped within a dynamic transitional process. Media data is shifting from analogue to digital forms.
I feel that technology is developing in such a way to cater for the human desire of instantaneity and immediacy. Our exposure to particular machinery is affecting our relation to the human identity and how we perceive the world around us. I would argue that due to the constant presence of technology and screen mediation we are becoming increasingly concerned with the virtual world we establish ourselves within and thus experiencing a gradual detachment from the real world around us. For instance, in March 2010 a Guardian article states that a “Girl starved to death while parents raised virtual child in online game” and that a “41-year-old man and 25-year-old women, who met through a chat website, reportedly left their infant unattended while they went to internet cafes. They only occasionally dropped by to feed her powdered milk.” (Tran, M. 2010).
It is becoming clearer that now as humans we are engaging in multiple existences by both physically and virtually inhabiting spaces, this is particularly fascinating to me as it was a subject briefly touched on in a first-year module; a subject I intended to explore further.
When studying the implications of technology on our ‘humanness’, it is important to analyze our uses and dependencies on both historical and contemporary technological forms. Due to such mechanization and advanced technology, there is an increased focus on ‘development’ and ‘upgrades’ through prosthetics and ‘add-on technology’.
The presence of mobile phones, Apple watches and activity trackers is a common phenomenon, humanity is becoming more dependent on machinery to aid and perform a wide variety of different tasks. I would argue that we are entering an era of electronic extension by establishing a strong emotional reliance on our electronics. People are using technology to supplement human interactions and due to our reliance on this we are establishing bonds with such machinery thus eliciting an emotional response. During the first year of university, I briefly explored the concept of established connections between the commodity form and the construction of our individual identities. In Today’s lecture we discussed the culture of upgrades and how it has become a cultural event and right. I discussed this further and in greater depth with piers and we felt that with the combination of exposure to cultural and social pressures and the quality of technology we are ‘forced’ to engage in wasteful commodification and consumption. I would argue that throughout history technology and autonomous machinery has united the human race and altered our relations to each other.
Radio and Television acted as a passage that linked individuals with information and upcoming news, we briefly discussed mass cultural events such as the screening of the moon landing in 1960s. We were all encouraged to view this historical event all instantaneously and in real-time together. I would argue that such technology unites us as a human race through shared cultural interests and desires. Increasingly, humanity has developed a strong desire for immediacy, we tune in to the latest news because we want to access the most recent information. In cases such as the moon landing, people tuned in to view this astronomical step for the human race and witness/celebrate this achievement as a species. I feel that we are connected as human through shared interests and conformity.