Virtual living

“Look Up”, a spoken word film for an online generation.  That’s the description, but it’s a pretty harsh glare of reality about our virtually connected lives.

Here’s a recent study in “Pediatrics:  Official Journal Of The American Academy Of Pediatrics” on mobile device use by caregivers with children in fast food restaurants.  Children learn most social skills by patterning their behavior on the people around them.  The impact of the technology deluge isn’t fully understood yet, but the level of disconnection from people in our real lives as so many people live their lives  fixated on electronic devices can be observed all around us.   Keeping technology in its proper place in your life rather than as your life looks to be the challenge ahead.


Filed under Food for Thought, General Interest

2 responses to “Virtual living

  1. JK

    I’d suggest Look down too.

    T’other evening I watched some newsclip featuring an unfortunate walking off a subway platform and although unseen reported to have fallen on the third rail (seemed confirmed when it was noted by the newsreader the authorities had to shutdown the system in order to get her off the tracks).

    What wasn’t mentioned but if one watched closely, the unfortunate was holding a cellphone to ear as she walked off the “plank.”

  2. Minta Marie Morze

    Really interesting, both the video and the study. Also interesting were the comments under the video.

    I think we’ve all noticed the phenomena around us of people sitting at tables with others, and none of them looking at anything but their cell phone. A lot of the time people also respond to text messages immediately, interrupting a discussion they might be having with someone sitting there.

    Etc., etc., etc. I can think of several science fiction books and short stories that have their characters living in a world in which almost their entire attention is paid to an interaction with a screen of some sort. Bradbury gives us a screen on a wall, Clarke, a thing like a holodeck/immersion thingy (IIRC), and so on. When I first read the stories, some as much as 55 years ago, I thought that it would be extremely addictive, even fully absorbing, to the majority of people, but that long ago I had no idea at all of how the technology could be created, so I just put it out of my mind.

    Now, this is serious. Now, there is so much connected together in this major phenomenon, including huge areas of life, such as a lack of delaying gratification, habit, fragmented thoughts, loss of ability to memorize information, carelessness about traveling, “absent presence”, propaganda, social media and social movements, wars, censorship, etc., even what will happen to neighborhoods should there be a massive, extended power outages—we need to think about this, because everything is changing and changing so rapidly that we have to develop some strategic and tactical ideas for our own future.

    Moreover, in an odd way, it seemed to me that the comments under the video acted either to agree with the issue presented, or, oddly enough, to say something equivalent to “this guy is an idiot” or “I won’t let this video dictate to me”, in an either/or sense. Perhaps we need to consider that a lot of people seem to take messages, texts, videos, and so forth as entire packages, with a single message, and as an instruction, demand, or command. Yet the information in the video, for instance, was complicated, dealing with many aspects of life and experience, and carried a general but rich theme—it was clearly meant to be interpreted on many levels. A majority of the commenters seemed to react to it as a basic, simple statement, instead of mulling over it and noticing details and their implications. Does the activity of being surrounded so much by quick chunks of information make people see things as simple statements, instructions, or commands?

    The people who made the video thought out a whole slew of elements and infrastructure details, even the rhyming verse and the parallels of actions (like the births) and the continuity of a rich life over time, with the juxtaposition of the meeting and the holding of hands at the end of life, it was well done. It wasn’t a simple message.

    Since I just bumped into a lot of this on reading this post and following the links, I haven’t sorted this out yet. I am glad you gave me the links, Liberty. There is a lot to think about here.

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