Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Benefits or Drawbacks?

Virilio claims in his essay “Indirect Light” that “videoscopy seems to come into its own with this role of indirectly lighting a domestic environment for which electric light, a direct form of analogous daylight, is no longer sufficient” (1). Vilirio is commenting on how surveillance cameras and live presentations of a place cause “cinematic representation” to be obsolete (2). He feels that the changes in technologies are leading to an era that will cause human intelligence to be obsolete. He mentions how the washing machine was described as a “washing-computer,” and the next innovation in transportation will be a “driving-computer” that allows the “audiovisual feats of the electronic dashboard to prevail over the optical qualities of the field beyond the widescreen” (15). These examples show how Virilio feels about the changes in technology, and how these changes will cause an insufficiency in human behavior. People no longer need to think in order to drive or wash their clothes.

Personally, I feel the changes in technology can be viewed as both positive and negative aspects of our society. On the one hand, our society has this dependency on technology that can only get worse. People cannot revert back to not having cars, telephones, computers, etc. These advancements have also enhanced the lives of human beings by decreasing the amount of time it takes to do tasks. Virilio’s idea of a “driving-computer” is also beginning to take shape. Now-a-days people have GPS systems that allow them to locate exactly where they are and where there are any road hazards. This decreases the amount of time one is on the road. They are less likely to get lost or get stuck in traffic. Yet, has this technology really decreased human intelligence and creativity? Calculators allow people to get through school without having to know the multiplication table. Yet, this does not stifle human creativity. Through the internet, people are able to easily share their videos and photographs with one another.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Meegan Brooks said...

I completely agree with both your analysis of the text and your opinion of it. I feel like this idea of technology being bad for humankind (by spoiling us, making us lazy, dehumanizing us, etc.) has been seen time after time in this course, particularly in the section with The Time Machine and Modern Times, both of which clearly criticized technology. Carrying your analysis to all of these texts, I think they tend to focus so much on the negative effects of technology that they overlook its benefits, which society obviously thinks outweigh the negative consequences.

3/14/2007 12:38 AM  
Blogger tomsproats said...

I totally agree with both of you here the society views these advancements in technology as a good thing as opposed to a hinderence on society. Personally I believe they are a good thing also. With such catastrophic advancements being put in place people will become more and more efficent and will get more done each day. I can only see life getting faster as time progresses and the future looks exciting. But there are downfalls like personal contact is lost and people begin to live in a virtual world which will make the bond between human kind less intense.

3/14/2007 7:57 PM  
Blogger Shane_Wey said...

This sounds familiar to H.G. Wells in Time Machine. He thinks that human intelligence will be rendered obsolete because technology will handle all the thinking there needs to be done. I disagree. It seems as though as technology evolves, so does our intelligence. There will always be unlimited wants in our lives. When one is satisfied, we will always have more to worry about. Replacing one task with a machine will leave us with more time to worry about others. Since the personal computer has come about, it does not seem like we have become any less intelligent or busy. Rather, it seems like we are forced to learn more in order to keep pace. We must learn how to operate new software and constantly changing technology. We must educate engineers to understand the hundreds of abstraction layers involved in a computer. Technology will not render human intelligence obsolete.

3/16/2007 11:54 AM  
Blogger kalphonso said...

I agree that as a society we are getting too dependent on technology in our everyday lives. I have this friend, her roommate forgot her cellphone at home, and she was going on a weekend trip to Southern California. The roommate was so worried about not having her phone, that she sent my friend all the way to the airport. There was no one she needed to contact down there, and there was not point in getting all worried and hectic about the phone. But for many people it is a life line!

3/16/2007 12:01 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

I certainly see the points that Virillio makes in terms of technology having negative effects on humans and mankind. Certainly something I have experienced personally is a lack of patience, which is facilitated by this technology filled world of instant gratification. By the same token however, I cannot read this critique of the negative aspects of technology and take it all that seriously. Really, there are far more significant threats to well-being of mankind, and thus far technology has really only imporoved life for many.

3/16/2007 2:37 PM  
Blogger Caroline Gibbs said...

somehow my computer was logged in under someone elses blogger user so my post went up as allison..... oh well.

I certainly see the points that Virilio makes in terms of technology having negative effects on humans and mankind. Certainly something I have experienced personally is a lack of patience, which is facilitated by this technology filled world of instant gratification. By the same token however, I cannot read this critique of the negative aspects of technology and take it all that seriously. Really, there are far more significant threats to well-being of mankind, and thus far technology has really only imporoved life for many.

3/16/2007 2:41 PM  
Blogger Tim McNally said...

I agree that the positive aspects of advancements in technology outweight the negative aspects. The negative aspects only take place in our minds and don't have a general effect on the complete well being of society. Things like communications and our patience with technology have been affected. However, we are able to do so much more through technoloy and advancements have been able to connect the world through many different ways (ie. the internet).

3/19/2007 10:52 AM  

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