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Psychology and impact of technological progress

January 18, 2016

by Lushfun

Imagine living in a technological shift, which we are now. We may be oblivious to it but that is what is occurring. It is very hard to view the present with objectivity so let us go back in time. When society shifted from coal to oil at the turn of last century and the tumult it brought as the shift occurred. Farmers going bankrupt and moving en-masse to cities as farming became more capital intensive through mechanization. Working for someone became the standard instead of a period of time like an apprenticeship with the eventual venturing out on your own. Specialization became the norm where everyone was gaining a skill set in a niche field since division of labor became deeper due to more capital being employed in industry of various types. All the things people felt when they left comfort of their family farm and social setting thrown into a mass of cities or towns where your leverage is nil and the social ladder is reset.

 

Something quiet similar is occurring now. Which way it is shifting is somewhat puzzling but we can see that it is changing. Wages are depressed, jobs are no longer secure, niche field knowledge no longer affords safety, industries are crumbling and imploding left and right, capital destruction is essentially occurring, although perhaps capital transfer is more accurate. But to where? Towards what? How? These questions come to mind.

“According to a new creed, technologists are turning ourselves, the planet, our species, everything, into computer peripherals attached to the great computing clouds. The news is no longer about us but about the big new computational product that is greater than us” (Vaidnyanathan, 45){link 2 below}.

 

Attention spans have gotten shorter through our use of internet “social media” which actually makes us less social, more depressed, and degrades our ability to socialize.

“Correlational analyses using the full SSI and the Internet Preference scale of the IBAS revealed a significant negative relationship between social skills and internet preference r(110) = -.197, p = .039”(Brown, page 64, link 3 below).

 

We fear engagement and like pressing buttons, almost like rats on a spinning wheel to press buttons for more sugar water. Individualized socialization where you have no loyalty or true social nets with a society of similar people that are all in their own niche world, a ‘bubble’ of perception. Skills are moot and we are all incompetent because we do not attempt things we know not nor seek how to, even though it is easy to watch a youtube on how to do something but it takes time. We seek instant gratification through every interaction and the more we get it the shorter the time it lasts like addicts running after light that is slowly fading away.

“When we become habituated to the amazing technological achievements of recent years, we forget to be thrilled and amazed. We lose that great sense of wonder, of awe. We take brilliance for granted and so we ignore the human elements of fortitude, creativity, and intelligence” (Vaidnyanathan, 51-52){link 2 below}.

 

All this too is going away. Imitation is bound to drastically alter how we deal with the world and far faster than what we think is possible. People imitate success and then everyone does things which were thought to have been against the norm, and it is the new norm, or perhaps the old old norm before the previous norm.

 

Right now we are gaining understanding that family is important, texting or updating a social site brings no warmth to your heart other than posing competition with other people. Perhaps everyone you’re trying to impress is miserable and by competing to outdo each other you’re increasing the anguish of every person in the group? Since perception in a mostly imperfect knowledge world is reality. Friends that you enjoy actually meeting in person and make time for are far more pleasing than the numbers and texts you get on a page online, that take less than a second and only exist so that you could put in the least amount of effort to maintain a fake lifeline to the real world, without actually interacting with it.

 

It is especially mind boggling to me that we are presented by the media at large a world where we are responsible for everything and it is responsible for nothing in return. Yet we all take this for granted and accept it as fact without challenge. Strange this odd presumption of responsibility foisted upon you or I without our consent by drawing unto your pity or some other emotional lever. Perhaps, if we negotiate and argue with the world as we engage it, there will be a better outcome than what we have today, then again bowing out and letting it implode is also good. Much easier to pick up a little peace here or there and start anew you didn’t lose much in the collapse and you were carved outside the beneficiary list so no need to do anything. Just sit, tilt your head a little bit, and ponder if you could give it a little kick in the ass, so it falls a little more favorably your way.

Have a Grrreat Week!

1)http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2014/february-14/technology-psychology-and-a-coming-revolution-in-the-study-of-decision-making.html

2)http://www.teenink.com/nonfiction/academic/article/482544/Negative-Effects-of-Technology-on-Society/

[fairly long but interesting paper below ~100+ pages on pdf]

3)http://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1030&context=psychhp

 

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