Hello, can you you repeat that you're breaking up?

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You're breaking up.  These are new words to my vocabulary since cell-phones have taken control. True, I couldn't call a friend in California from the subway in 1969 but I could have a crystal clear conversation when we did connect.  When I called someone I got an answer, a busy signal or the phone kept ringing.   We were deprived but we survived.  Something was more sane about those times.

 

As you may guess I'm something of a Luddite; I prefer to think of myself as a reformed Luddite.  All technology is not bad and to the extent that it replaces human labor I simply muse as to what has been lost.  Note these words as I believe that they will characterize a massive sentiment; perhaps unspoken but surely recognized by those more sensitive than the average.  "Technology yields such powerful function that it becomes ubiquitous long before any evaluation is undertaken as to the massive negative return that it is surely absorbed; often to our detriment."  I wish I could patent these words.  The second quote I suggest be given equal weight.  "Technology's incredible initial appeal assures that it is adopted long before its detriment to human interaction begins to be assessed."

 

The techno-elite are already bragging about the  uploading of our digital selves to the cloud; whereas I dread that - I prefer to run my my warm hands through a woman's hair with no silicon involved.

 

I went to Thanksgiving at my girlfriend's daughter's place last year.  There was food on the table; everyone ate alone and retreated to their electronic device and nobody spoke.  We stayed for 20 minutes before making our egress, preferring human to human interaction to simultaneous human to silicon relationships.

 

Are humans outdated?

 

Do people matter?  Should I just be quiet and join the Matrix?

 

Hell no.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

wsucram15 Added Jun 20, 2017 - 5:34pm
SEF will love this article.  But it was pretty good.  I have a difficult time with the tracking function of such devices so I dont care for technology.  IDK why, but I enjoy my privacy and the government not having any idea I exist.
Call me silly..
Dino Manalis Added Jun 20, 2017 - 5:38pm
Traditional phones were of much better quality, cellular phones are convenient but not good quality.  Anyway, a cell phone should only be used in an emergency, the technology is impressive, but the phone is not very good quality.
wsucram15 Added Jun 20, 2017 - 6:07pm
The phones are nothing but tracking devices, period. They can be turned on and off by anyone with the correct device. Both sound and camera.  The location is a given.
George N Romey Added Jun 20, 2017 - 6:16pm
The fact that we are losing our privacy is downright scary.  I refuse to participate in FB or Twitter-just big tracking devices.
Jeff Michka Added Jun 20, 2017 - 9:07pm
Nobody brought up the pending disappearance of PSTN that gave the quality talked about in the article.  The big providers (phone companies) want to "abandon" the wires, completely, in order to get full into the realm of cellphones, unregulated service devices, which are highly profitable, and cost little to operate.  Like the soon to be loss of Net Nuetrality, the excuse and "trade off" will be quick intro of 5LTE stuff.  You wanted "The internet of things, "right?
Leroy Added Jun 20, 2017 - 9:53pm
Geez.  And I thought my colleague was a technophobe.  He's one of the smartest guys I know, but to communicate or collaborate with him is next to impossible.  We needed to collaborate over OneDrive.  "I don't do OneDrive."  I told him we could do it over a network drive.  "I don't know how to do that."  How about I just text you?  "I don't do text messages."  At least he has a cell phone.  We have one local IT guy.  He occupies 25% of his time because he can't figure technology out.  He's an engineer.  Ok.  A mechanical engineer.  A bolthead.  Guess I should give him a pass.  I don't have to worry about any of you guys ever visiting me.  You would be too paranoid LOL. 
Leroy Added Jun 20, 2017 - 9:56pm
Any of you guys ever thought about joining the Amish? 
James E. Unekis Added Jun 21, 2017 - 4:36am
Wsucram15 -  who is SEF?
 
I don't think you are silly.  I don't think we are going to have any privacy except perhaps on camping trips in tents but I don't think you are silly.
James E. Unekis Added Jun 21, 2017 - 4:41am
Dino,
The call quality is horrendous but people were glued to their phones when before there were any apps.  Was the need to be connected at all times driving the glue or was it the fact that I could contact my friend in France while in the bathroom at Macys just to cool to part with?  
James E. Unekis Added Jun 21, 2017 - 4:47am
wsucram, the phones being used to track your location, browsing preferences and more was an unintended consequence.  Phone usage proliferated long before the surveillance grid was established.  A good example of rapid adoption of a technology before its nefarious side is exposed.
James E. Unekis Added Jun 21, 2017 - 4:55am
George - an independent thought from an intelligent man. A full 2/3 of Facebook users find themselves depressed as they compare the reality of their own lives to the combined image of the best parts of their Facebook friends.
 
The loss of privacy can be reduced by avoiding Facebook and Twitter but facial recognition, license plate scanning and other technologies will advance to fill some of the void.
James E. Unekis Added Jun 21, 2017 - 5:18am
Jeff, even though PSTN allowed for high quality voice clarity it also introduced the first hackers such as Phiber Optik and the Legion of Doom.  I find it funny that an old analogue system bested our current digital technologies though.  Despite the degradation of voice quality the appeal of "cutting the cord" (landlines) was the function, or utility that drove the adoption of cell-phones.  We are only now beginning to see the downsides that all technological advances reveal after full adoption.
 
If 5-LTE advances the internet of things so that my smart phone to-do list is updated with a grocery item as my teenager finishes the last of the milk in my self reporting refrigerator or notifies my doctor of my list of alcohol use I'm sure that we will adopt, implement and mine the technology for its myriad uses; again with little thought to the unintended negative consequences to follow.
 
Useful technologies are like the double chocolate covered brownie we order after a big steak and potato dinner.  There seems to be no downside during the consumption but are scolded by the scale the next day.
James E. Unekis Added Jun 21, 2017 - 5:33am
Leroy.  I mentioned that I am a reformed Luddite.  I don't shun all technology.  I'm simply cautious about fully using it before considering what negative consequences it will usher in.  We all employ that while car shopping.  "Yeah, that is a beautiful car" but it only seats 2 and gets under 10 miles per gallon.  Early researchers into heavy metals envisioned electricity too cheap to measure.  It is too bad then that they didn't consider Chernobyl, Fukushima or the military's use of these radically powerful attributes of heavy metals.
Even before the development of tiny (15,000) tons of TNT equivalent fission bombs were created Fermi knew that we would quickly use them to light up Fusion bombs.  With enough heavy water they can yield 1,000,000,000 tons of TNT equivalent.  Enough power to destroy a three state radius from a space detonation.  The more powerful the technology; the more useful it is, the greater the latent downside.  Who would have thought in 1929 that the discovery and wide-spread adoption of Penicillin would eventually lead to super-bugs?
 
 
 
Leroy Added Jun 21, 2017 - 8:29am
James, no doubt technology is a double-edged sword.  Terrorists use it to their advantage.  One person could bring down a nation.
 
I made it my mission to eliminate tracking.  I missed the advantages that it gave me.  I turned it back on.
 
In China, it is a constant battle to prevent its people from having contact with the outside world.  Technology is what allows expats to live there, to bypass the rules.  I here now that they have a hack-proof network coming their way.  I have confidence that it too will be overcome.  Every time it is overcome, the more difficult it is to develop technology to defeat it.  Someday, it will be impossible for a country to block access to the international network.
 
We either have to embrace technology or go back to living in caves.
James E. Unekis Added Jun 21, 2017 - 9:04am
Leroy, are those out only options?  Can we instead anticipate harmful probabilities and start early awareness and perhaps early prohibition in part?
 
Studies show that chronic game use produces alcohol like changes in the brains of heavy users.  We don't allow 12 and 13 year-olds unlimited access to Vodka, yet they are often given corrosive games as gifts.
 
Have we become too enamored of technology to limit its use?
James E. Unekis Added Jun 21, 2017 - 9:06am
Leroy, you ,mock the Amish but perhaps they realized something. Technology inevitably destroys human relationships and silicon is a poor supplicant.
Leroy Added Jun 21, 2017 - 9:49am
My understanding, and I am not an authority on the subject, is that the Amish are not anti-technology.  After all, they do use generators, for example.  They avoid connecting with the outside world.  Therefore, they do not connect to the electrical grid.  Don't use cell phones.  Don't use technology that connects them to the outside world.  It's a connected world. 
James E. Unekis Added Jun 21, 2017 - 10:37am
I think a world connected by technology.  They value human relationships.  Face to face and bard=n-raising to barn raising.  They type of lifestyle that promotes human interdependence and human contact.  We, in the meanwhile look for the perfect selfie to convince our Facebook friends that we are happy and cool.
Perhaps we are the fools and they the wiser.
Leroy Added Jun 21, 2017 - 11:37am
You may be right, James.  Today, you can be best friends with your refrigerator, but even it can testify against you.  On the other hand, you can find millions of people who share your interest on the interest, where in a small town or group, there may be none.  This is also good and bad.  Ignorance can be bliss.  Maybe the Omish have already discovered this.
Leroy Added Jun 21, 2017 - 12:57pm
Remember those video conferences of years past?  It was important to be able to see the people on the other side.  We still have video conference rooms, but there is no video equipment anymore.  Someone realized that it wasn't the human contact but the data that matters.  Personally, I frequently communicate with video, but professionally, never any more.
wsucram15 Added Jun 21, 2017 - 2:50pm
James
Thats Stone Eater Friedli. He usually agrees with me about phones, he doesn't like them either. I just laugh about cellular devices most of the time now, because they aren't really phones.
I understand your article is about clarity and you are correct. My Grandmother was a telephone switch board operator for the phone company as a young woman. I dont remember that, only when she filled into fill in from time to time when I was a kid, sometimes I even got to go.  In her town, (or basic area) we knew the operators by name or if you didnt, they knew you.   I swear.
I do remember calling 0 and getting an operator though and even party lines which I always thought was cool.  You meet interesting people on a party line..the worlds first public internet.
I had great fun with the phone..my parents hated it..especially when my sister called the Bahamas and spoke to another little girl and her Grandma I think it was for a long time.   They had to pay that bill.
But yes a landline is better communication and everyone should have one just to test your service and emergencies. 
I liked the old way of communication, but technology has advanced us into the digital age of computers that dial numbers..so this is what you have.
 
Leroy Added Jun 21, 2017 - 3:12pm
WSU, I remember the party line days.  Our neighbors didn't like it so much with six women in the family.  You have to admit, women do like to talk more.  I would wager on an order of magnitude more.
Jeff Michka Added Jun 21, 2017 - 3:20pm
Hmmm.  Nothing wrong with being a neo-Luddite, particularly when in the realm of the Net, or about how "good" the Net is.   I'll disagree and suggest abandoning PSTN was something phone companies got behind was so to not have to repair/replace, but all for the much vaunted "cost saving" associated with it.  The other reason is getting them out of being a part of the PSTN was getting the companies out of regulation, although this has been active at more state-levels with state PUC and other states where un-regulated services got a complete foot-hold w/o question.  The phone companies hated asking regulators before they could raise a customers fees.  Happy, now? 
wsucram15 Added Jun 21, 2017 - 5:01pm
I like people so didnt care who I talked to as long as they were interesting.  I traveled across the US at 18 and met some great people that way, it was an experience.  I still travel the same way I did then and I still meet people the same way in my travels.   I was in the Blue Hills Mountains and one of my cabin helpers, cleaner..whatever, showed me the best wildlife in that area I have ever photographed there.  She took me to the center of town and showed me the art gallery, which took me on another adventure with the local artists, and so on.  I got to go by myself (no tourists) to set up and photograph the huge caverns there.  This is just from hanging out with the locals.  No phones, no internet..people skills.  
The ART of GREAT conversation is LONG gone with text and social media.  This place isnt so bad though, you at least have to dot your i's and cross your t's, using full words and sentences.
Jeff Michka Added Jun 21, 2017 - 6:14pm
James E U sez: We were deprived but we survived.  Something was more sane about those times.-wsucram nites it's important to have good face-to-face communications, but does anyone need The Internet of Things like this: http://mashable.com/2016/05/17/my-flow-smart-tampon/#tBWpFOUg8mq3 and we'll pay for it with privacy AND sanity along with a whole lot of $$$ flowing away from us...
James E. Unekis Added Jun 22, 2017 - 9:36am
Jeff,
 
It always seems to involve a lot of $$$ flowing away from us, does it not?  Well said.
James E. Unekis Added Jun 22, 2017 - 9:43am
wuscram15 - there is no replacement for face to face communication and fellowship; not matter what the latest killer app is.
 
Technology always has an up-side, it is just that the down-side is always discovered too late.
 
I' happy to hear that you found value of full human relationships.
Billy Roper Added Jun 22, 2017 - 11:06am
I remember when I was a kid, we actually had a party line which we shared with a couple of neighbors.
Leroy Added Jun 25, 2017 - 7:14pm
My wife makes use of technology to keep her sanity.  The technology has improved drastically over the years.  Recently, she discovered live broadcasting.  She just puts herself in from of the phone and starts blabbing away.  People can ask questions via text.  She gives her opinions on things.  Anyone can join in.  In her first serious attempt, she had 4,700 viewers.  And, she made about 5 cents from people sending her gifts.  The video has been perfect.  No breaking up at all.  Politics is the most popular subject.  Everyone seems curious about the US.  Anyway, it gives her a chance to converse with her countrymen.  She's on Meipai right now.  She'll do it until she is worn out.  You might be surprised to find that China has excellent social media applications.  Meipai is top notch.  WeChat is really good.
James E. Unekis Added Jun 26, 2017 - 2:39pm
Billy,
 
you are dating yourself there - or at least telling that you grew up in a rural area.
 
I can't fathom sharing a phone line.  It mist have been great for the town gossip ;-)
James E. Unekis Added Jun 26, 2017 - 2:40pm
Leroy,
 
Thanks for the info.  It is amazing what all is taking place out there between these cell phones and the web.

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