The Most Interesting Person in the World

Why I’m Afraid of Technology

Posted on: February 22, 2010

  • Nanotechnology. Need I say more?
  • I saw Terminator 2 at a young age.
  • Artificial intelligence.
  • Most scarily: technology that can reproduce itself.
  • People are too reliant on it.
  • People don’t communicate with each other enough without it.
  • It is smarter than us.
  • Faster.
  • Stronger.
  • It can do more.
  • It can outphase us humans.
  • What is there that we can do, that technology can’t do, that is objectively and arguably a good thing?
  • It advances at such a quick pace that I can’t even catch up.
  • The world was better before things like twitter.
  • It is so annoying to have a conversation interrupted by a cell phone, yet I can’t stop doing it.
  • The machines will eat your brains.
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5 Responses to "Why I’m Afraid of Technology"

1. Nanotechnology. Need I say more?
Yes? I don’t see what the scare is. So we’re developing very small things; this is impressive, not worrying. Nanotechnology will be instrumental in helping many sick people. For example, tissue engineering may make organ transplants entirely unnecessary.

2. People don’t communicate with each other enough without it.
This statement and a lot of its corollaries annoy me. Yes, we communicate better with technology. Why is this a problem? In the past, if you had a cousin in, say, Israel, you know how you would communicate? You WOULDN’T. This has not changed. Communication sans technology is the same now as it ever was, but communication with technology has gotten smarter and faster. Agh, I don’t even know what you’re trying to get at, but I’m sure I’d hate it.

3. What is there that we can do, that technology can’t do, that is objectively and arguably a good thing?
Empathize.

4. The world was better before things like twitter.
Why?

1. Maybe I’m just scared of really small things. Like microscopic germs. Or reproducing tiny things we can’t see. But grey goo, Myles. Grey goo.

2. I agree with your statements about the improvements in long-distance technology. But too many people choose to communicate online INSTEAD of in person, even when they’re in the same room. Virtual friendships are a good thing, especially for those who don’t have access to real people, but unfortunately some people use it to phase out real friendships. Not that you would ever do this. But every person who tells me they won’t tell me something or invite me to something because I don’t have f—book further proves my point. Why won’t you tell me in person? Especially if I’m right in front of you?

3. Yes, but do the machines see empathy as a good thing? That is, will they, when they become sentient and seek to destroy us?

4. Back in the day, I used to read whole books. I don’t even use twitter, but my attention span is so short now that I can’t pick up anything that looks like it was printed before the 70s. Too many words, not enough pictures, too small type, boring cover. And don’t blame my ADHD; I can hyperfocus too.

I think most of these can be avoided with simple precautions… technology needs to be programmed after all.
So… yeah, unless we program the nano-machines to turn us into gray goo… it probably won’t. Or at the very least, you’d think scientists or whathaveyou would be smart enough, with their fancy degrees and whatnot to program them specifically to NOT exterminate human-kind…

Embrace technology… it’s the wave of the future… the glorious, machine-ruled future… long live the machines… long live the–

Huh? Oh, sorry, lost my train of thought… Why you lookin’ at me like that? No, the machines totally haven’t gotten to me. That’s just your imagination, now go buy a new cell phone and mp3 player and laptop and semiautomatic weapon with automated targeting system and quit worrying about technology. >_>

“you’d think scientists or whathaveyou would be smart enough, with their fancy degrees and whatnot, to program them specifically to NOT exterminate human-kind…”

You’d think so, Jeremy. You’d think so.

“semiautomatic weapon with automated targeting system”

Were you thinking about Matrix’s eye when you typed this? Or is it just me?…

I should add, this isn’t necessarily a list of reasons why technology is bad and we should ALL be afraid (though, obviously, the last item falls into that category.) It’s more a list of my own fears, and perhaps why I should get over them. Which, I slowly am; the fact that I bit the bullet and got myself a blog is proof of that.

But I’ve been thinking about the attention-span thing. Yes, modern technology accelerates that, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the old way was better. In the olden days, it was more common for people to work 80-hour weeks until they made partner, and stay loyal to a company for life. It doesn’t mean that’s a healthy way to live. People used to read long, boring textbooks and write a thesis without using the first person and pretending to be 100% objective. It doesn’t mean that’s better either. So maybe the fact that information now has to be really, really entertaining in order for us to bother remembering it, will just make the world a more interesting place.

As long as there are still people who can take in information the old-fashioned way. Specky will save the day in the end.

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