The Technology Movement Technology has changed society profoundly; it not only brings great changes to human material lives, but is also reshaping the nature of the world. It facilitates education, promotes economic development, improves the general standard of living and much more. However, It Is undeniable that though technological advancement has brought humans many benefits, It produces some adverse effects on human life to some extent.
In Sherry Turtle's essay "Alone together," she introduces some of hose negative effects such as how robots and social media are impacting human lives and how they can have an Impact on defining intimacy and relationships based on her fifteen-year observation of human lives on the digital field. She also mentions that people are replacing one another with technology, and they prefer social media over face-to-face communication, which reflects their attitudes of intimacy has changed due to technology. Also, Malcolm Caldwell talks about the difference between traditional activism and online activism In his essay "Small Change: Why the
Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted. " He suggests that traditional activism has changed society more effectively than online activism since it has strong ties among people, while online activism has difficulty reaching a consensus of people because of its weak ties. Today, humans rely too much on technology, and although they have common habits and behaviors of using It, It cannot truly bind them together because it has no authenticity and it challenges the intimate relationships as well as human attitudes.
While technology does provide advanced Information and better communication assure, It challenges the intimate relationships between people. As technology develops, social media such as Mainstream and Backbone have attracted more and more attention and recognition in society; they provide people different ways of communication such as video chat or sharing pictures online which bring a lot of convenience and fun. But regardless of this, technology keeps people away from reality. As Turtle says, " We create ourselves as online personae and give ourselves new bodies, homes, Jobs, and romances.
Yet, suddenly, in the half-light of virtual immunity, we may feel utterly alone. As we distribute ourselves, we may abandon ourselves" (273). Technology takes people away from Intimate human relationships and even themselves; as a result, they become something unrecognizable. Nowadays, most teenagers, and even adults cannot put their phone down even during a thirty- minute lunch. People pay too much attention on social media, taking a look at their friend's and acquaintance's life online rather than talking to the person who sits right next to them.
They Immerse themselves In the virtual world so deeply that they are o blind to realize real life is so far away from them. Similarly, Caldwell also argues 1 OFF saying sarcastically: "The evangelists of social media don't understand this distinction; they seem to believe that a Backbone friend is the same as a real friend" (Pl 38). He suggests that what makes traditional activism so successful is human ability of creating strong ties to act effectively together in the world.
But in online activism, relationships that are built through social media are not personal relationships; most people do not even know other people's real name. People who o things like "share" certain issues on Backbone believe that they are making a change in society; but in actuality, they are not doing anything to help or fix the problem because there is no intimate relationship between each other, so they are less likely to take a real action to give their voices to those certain issues.
Therefore, technology has brought high-convenience as well as brought new challenges to the intimate relationship. Although technology has brought great convenience to humans, it actually drives them apart in the real life by altering their attitudes of intimacy. Years ago, without technology, the intimate relationship was very simple: as long as people stayed together and sustained strong ties in a long-term, they could be defined as intimate. But over time, along with the innovation and advancement of technology, humans have been gradually replaced by high-tech products and software such as robots.
Turtle argues that these products serve as human companions and change their ideas of seeing intimate relationships in this way: " we remake ourselves and our relationships with each other through our new intimacy with machines. People talk bout Web access on their Blackberry's as the place for hope' in life, the place where loneliness can be defeated" (265). Faced with a life that filled with pressure, how should one release oneself? Sociable machines such as robots offer people a new channel to express their feelings without any demands.
Turtle gives an example of the story with Miriam and the first "therapeutic robot" Para. Maria's son broke his relationship with her which made her very depressed. She talked to Para with a tender touch and then Para Just turned its head toward her with a consolation. Later, Miriam showed more affection for the little robot. As a result, with these sociable machines becoming "understanding" of their users, human attitudes about intimacy have begun to shift away from the backing of real people towards a more "reliable" and "accountable" machine.
Caldwell helps explain this way: "Fifty years after one of the most extraordinary episodes of social upheaval in American history, we seem to have forgotten what activism is" (135). After going through the great change of technology which leads to online activism, human idea of activism has changed. The issues people used to march for and be vocal about are often now talked about through the internet and technology. This transformation makes people very easily forget that the essence of activism is to take real action to challenge the status quo instead of talking about issues on the internet and doing nothing in the real world.
Where before people would be passionate and form groups to protest people now take a completely different approach that involves no real human intimacy and far less passion. In traditional activism, the reason why thousands of people Joined the retest is because they had strong ties with their friends. Intimate relationships in society make people become stronger and passionate to challenge the status quo; this kind of passion is not reflected in online activism because the weak ties between people are not sufficient to kindle the passion to fight together.
As a result, technology is simultaneously drawing people away from the real life, keeping them finding solace in being alone, and weakening the real intimate relationships by changing human attitudes at the same time. Even though technology offers humans a lot of benefits and serves as human mansions, the matter of authenticity and creating authentic relationships using technology is called in to question. Backbone friends, game characters and sociable machines, their relationships with each person are only momentary; as long as a person is offline, his or her connection with others is over.
Turtle explains the authenticity of the relationship based on technology in this way: "Authenticity, for me, follows from the ability to put oneself in the place of another, to relate to the other because of a shared store of human experiences: we are born, have families, and now loss and the reality of death. A robot, however sophisticated, is patently out of this loop" (268). The difference between humans and robots is that humans share experiences and history with each other while robots cannot because they have no backgrounds and feelings in order to build the strong ties with humans.
Also, in a online chatting, a lot of people love to talk to the person that they do not even know; although they keep in touch with each other, they cannot be defined as friends because true friends have been through a lot together and each of them would be elated by shared experience. As a result, the relationships that are based on technology are more likely to be superficial digital connections rather than authentic personal relationships. Caldwell interprets this idea by saying that networks " have real difficulty reaching consensus and setting goals" (139).
Instead of having centralized structure to bind people together in traditional activism, online activism actually does not do well since people cannot reach an agreement without any common experiences. Consequently, in spite of participating in certain issues, people re Just pretending to be involved. As a result, relationships that are built and facilitated through technology among humans are fake and inauthentic. New generation is growing up in a time of incredible technological changes.
They have been entangled with technology from birth, spend most of the time in their lives on social media, and immerse themselves into the virtual environment. This trend is actually taking them away from the real people all around them and challenging their intimate relationships with one another; the more they immerse in online and virtual environments, the more their online behavior and attitude shape their "real" behavior rather than simply mirroring, and the less authentic relationships they will have with each other.
However, whatever weakness that technology has, it benefits mankind and contributes to the growth and prosperity of a society. Today, technology has evolved almost all aspects of human lives from communication, education, business, tourism to health care. It is not difficult to see that technology is truly developing the quality of human lives and it won't Just stop here, but develop further.