Our Lonely Electronic World

amazing street art 16 Amazing street art from the village of Doel (34 photos)

Bring back the town hall meeting! In our ever increasing electronic world humanity has fell quite literally out of touch with humanity. We now shake hands electronically. We sign our new mortgage loans electronically. We “friend” people over the internet, people we may have never met, perhaps people we knew years ago. Many of us will go for days without any real human contact. Of course we see people at work everyday but are these actually people we would share our true feelings with face to face? How many times have you pictured the new Norman Rockwell portrait with everyone sitting around texting others who aren’t even in the room? The new American, even the new international family fits this description quite nicely.

We take pictures of everything! Literally everything since now we no longer have to go to photomat. We can delete what we don’t like, enhance what we want click and send! Look at all the cat and dog pictures! Our new celebrated celebrities. Most of us don’t go for a single day without giggling at some newfangled animal in the perfect ridiculous pose for our amusement. Hell we’ve even replaced the need for human contact to an alarming degree. Sex? Yes of course! Just seek out your new electronic fantasy the venues are virtually limitless. No birth control necessary, no awkward moments the next morning, free from STDs and any emotional investment.

amazing street art 22 Amazing street art from the village of Doel (34 photos)

We seek and choose our news. Don’t bring us down with the real world. We need our paradoxical utopia. Please don’t unplug our game! We have important tasks to complete! We started sorting those bricks, killing those aliens and eating those ghosts and now we are killing mutant zombies, destroying hostile villages and tilling imaginary fields vicariously living our existence in fantastical imaginary cities. Life is wonderful, life is great, our painless reality why should we wait? Disconnected? Not at all! Just pick up the controller and join the ball!

Which brings us to our inherent loneliness. Our huge disconnect with the physical world. We ignore reality at our own peril. Bring back the town meeting. We need face to face contact and human interaction. We need oxytocin. We need to feel like a valuable part of something but not electronically. If we don’t seek to embrace each other in the true physical sense our world is in serious peril. Sure our vicarious existences can be very cool but in the long run we need the real embrace of true friends! Bring back recess to our grade schools first thing in the mornings. Let the kids run around and interact with each other before sitting them in a chair. Watch the incidence of ADD go down, naturally!

We disagree with each other all the time. In our electronic world we bitch and insult constantly. How much more might we accomplish by coming face to face to discuss our differences? We need to break down our huge disconnect with other people living in different ways. After all is said and done we are quite human everyone. This of course comes with quirks and limitations but it’s better to recognize them and deal with them than to pretend that they don’t exist and continue to ignore each other. The human condition should be a cause to gather and celebrate rather than one to build walls and destroy. Spread the Word!

amazing street art 2 Amazing street art from the village of Doel (34 photos)

“Share your opinion. Don’t be shy. Just pick up a Dr. Seuss book and bastardize it to make your speech. Can’t think of anything creative? Just choose you own reality. Ignore the scientific facts.” — Jake Shween

“Criticism is always easier than constructive solutions.” — Jaron Lanier

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Google This; Be Wary of the Machine

In this day and age of Facebook and Google we tend to easily lose ourselves in a barrage of endless information. Caught up in being part of what we regard as “the Pack” we tend to engage ourselves by participating in an electronic reality where it is dangerously easy to become lost in a morass of sometimes meaningless data. Not only can this become a predictable way to express our own identity it can also quash our sense of individual worth. Some of us end up believing that we need to emulate the people we see on reality television to succeed or even the boobs on you tube doing various and assorted ridiculous stunts to draw attention to themselves in hopes of creating a “viral video”. The younger generation seems particularly vulnerable and decidedly numb to this type of exploitation.  Unfortunately the very same tools which can bring about so much potential convenience are the very same ones that can bring about a bridge of no return.

Not only are we being exploited on reality television we are also being exploited by what has become to be known as “Big Data”. As the use of electronic devices become necessary for our very existence in this highly competitive and technologically oriented world it is nearly impossible to “go off the grid”. Thus we are exposed to being tracked and marketed in every sense. Every website we go to, every store we make a purchase at, the types of products we use are tracked even our movements in retail outlets are recorded for future use. Our friends are tracked as well, the products they use, our interests, their interests — all of this information becomes valuable marketing data which is bought and sold like so many sacks of potatoes. Our privacy is gone. Today as this article was updated from a previous post the New York Times reports that Google is under investigation for illegally gathering data by scanning email from people using its “free” Gmail services. This includes an estimated half billion people worldwide.

The time has truly come to fruition were the marketers can now predict our behavior to a frighteningly large degree. Why is this new method of marketing so frightening? Simply because we are now considered commodities — as opposed to being individuals with unique thoughts and needs — we have now become the property of “Big Data” and are under their control with customized advertising geared to tell us what we need before we even know it ourselves. The ancient Chinese proverb says: “May you live in interesting times”. Well indeed we are and let’s keep up our vigilance to not lose our identity or our children’s identity in a pile of “Big Data” sponsored by your friendly neighborhood Google and Facebook where we voluntarily “feed the machine”.

1871-Samuel_Clemens.jpg

“America’s Facebook generation shows a submission to standardization that I haven’t seen before. The American adventure has always been about people forgetting their former selves. Samuel Clemens became Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac went on the road. If they had a Facebook page they wouldn’t have been able to forget their former selves.” — Jaron Lanier

“All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.” — Marshall McLuhan

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Keep Your Identity; Be Wary of the Machine

In this day and age of Facebook and Google we tend to easily lose ourselves in a barrage of endless information. Caught up in being part of what we regard as “the Pack” we tend to engage ourselves by participating in an electronic reality where it is dangerously easy to become lost in a morass of sometimes meaningless data. Not only can this become a sad way to express our own identity it can also quash our sense of individual worth. Some of us end up believing that we need to emulate the people we see on reality television to succeed or even the boobs on you tube doing various and assorted ridiculous stunts to draw attention to themselves in hopes of creating a “viral video”. The younger generation seems particularly vulnerable to this kind of exploitation.  Unfortunately the very same tools which can bring about so much potential good are the very same  ones that can bring about a devastating evil.

Not only are we being exploited on reality television we are also being exploited by what has become to be known as “Big Data”. As the use of electronic devices becomes necessary for our very existence in this highly competitive and technologically oriented world it is nearly impossible to “go off the grid”. Thus we are exposed to being tracked and marketed in every sense. Every website we go to, every store we make a purchase at, the types of products we use are tracked and recorded for future use. Our friends are tracked as well, the products they use, our interests, their interests — all of this information becomes valuable marketing data which is bought and sold like so many sacks of potatoes. Our privacy is gone.

The time has truly come to fruition were the marketers can now predict our behavior to a frighteningly large degree. Why is this new method of marketing so frightening? Simply because we are now considered commodities — as opposed to being individuals with unique thoughts and needs — we have now become the property of “Big Data” and are under their control with customized advertising geared to tell us what we need before we even know it ourselves. The ancient Chinese proverb says: “May you live in interesting times”. Well indeed we are and let’s keep up our vigilance to not lose our identity or our children’s identity in a pile of “Big Data” sponsored by your friendly neighborhood Google and Facebook where we voluntarily “feed the machine”.

1871-Samuel_Clemens.jpg

“America’s Facebook generation shows a submission to standardization that I haven’t seen before. The American adventure has always been about people forgetting their former selves. Samuel Clemens became Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac went on the road. If they had a Facebook page they wouldn’t have been able to forget their former selves.” — Jaron Lanier

“All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.” — Marshall McLuhan

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween