In three of the classes I have been taking this semester, the internet, technology and the intra-action between them and us, humans have overlapped in many ways. The internet is becoming increasingly relied upon by us, technology is improving constantly, at a speed never ever thought of before.
In our reading of World Wide Mind, Chorost gives and example of how connected one becomes with his/her electronics, these technologies that we have become very relying upon. He mentions his story of how he lost his BlackBerry, and referred to is as if his BlackBerry is a part of him, “ ...and I walked out, minus BlackBerry.”
I personally have a great appreciation of the technologies that we have in our lives, of the emergence of the internet and how this emergence of technology, the internet an us. Without the internet, my life would be different. I would certainly not be here, in the United States, that’s for sure.
I wanted to get an idea of how technology in general is perceived by my friends, and thus, I asked a group of them questions about technology and how they see it in their lives. I will call them M, S, C, & K.
The interview was held with each person separately, except for C&M, they both were at the same setting, and some interaction emerged from that.
Q: How do you see technology as part of your life?
K: Technology is definitely is a part of my life, one of the biggest parts of it. I spend the majority of my free time using a computer, not just in class, although for example, power point is the way most of my teachers communicate information to us, students. Virtually, I use technology in everything I do.
S: I cannot imagine my life without the internet. I use it to communicate with people, to do research and find information I need.
C: It is a huge part of my life, I am always checking my phone, I have my computer with me all the time, I not only use it in class, but as soon as I get out of class. I cannot imagine my life without technology.
M: I am on facebook right now. Always.
This question was aimed to start out the conversation in a comfortable environment, all interviewees in fact thought it was silly to ask such question. This shows how integrated we are with technology, how it is a part of our lives, it has emerged to be part of us, naturally, just like eating, walking, talking, it is a natural act to interact with technology on a daily bases.
Q: How much would you say, you rely on technology?
K: A lot, for example, if I am trying to get from one place to another, and I do not know to get there, I know I have technology to back me up if I ever get lost, I don’t have to rely on my own intuition, although I do not just rely on JPS. However, I wont ask someone for help first, I can rely more on technology to get me around.
S: I rely on it mostly for research for school, and I use it to stay in contact with friends. Since I have been brought up in a time that technology is so present, it is difficult to not rely on it, although I would appreciate not relying on technology to keep in touch with friends, I would appreciate to keep in touch in seeing them in person as opposed to the phone or a two lined email, which to me I view as artificial.
The two interviewees agreed on the reliability of humans on technology, in regular very crucial things, like obtaining knowledge. This is interesting because, would it mean that technology is a reincarnation, of learning?
Q:Could technology be an extension of us? Do you see it as a part of you or is there a separation between us and technology?
K: I don’t think it has to be an extension of us. It is how we communicate with one another so often. Although there is a separation, but it is blurred. I wear glasses/contacts and there had to be some technological advancement to make them. They are an extension of me because they allow me to see the world and sense it, which I would not have been able to otherwise.
S: I dont see my self as part of technology, it is an extension from me in the way that it allows me to get in touch with others, but t’s not a pat of me at all. I see the technologies I own, computer, phone as just another of my belongings, not something I am attached to.
C: It is a part of us. Technology is a part of my Identity, my identity is wrapped around my technologies; phone, computer. There is that separation, it is much more second nature for me to use it than not to.
The variety of answers are interesting in many ways. One of the reasons that I wanted to make an interview was to see how people would have different experiences depending on their different backgrounds and different beliefs. It is interesting how one sees technology as part of her as in almost an organ that provides the ability to sense. This reminded me of the interview with Chorost, and his story of the hearing aids. Technology is increasingly becoming a crucial and integral part of us. S seems to disagree with the thought of technology being humane, being a part of us, she doesn't seem to have attached feelings whatsoever with technologies she owns, uses and interacts with, and had shown a resistance to even agreeing to the idea. Her opinion was quit a surprise to me, to be frank, coming from a western part of the world, I -from my humble middle eastern idea of westerners- thought I would not meet someone with such opinions when it comes to the recent technological development in the United States.
Q:Have you heard of noise bands? If not (had them listen to one www.youtube.com/watch)? Is it music?
All answered were very similar, they answered with:
No, and this is not music. There is no rhythm, no defining aspect of music, no structure. I cannot connect with it. Noise is not music.
I really think this is where the conversation started to branch out to different opinions when it came to music. I always thought music was one interesting factor in our lives, and in our recent technological improvements I thought music was a sector that is often debated on. The following questions really show that. It is worth noting that the answers to the previous question in relation to the noise bands brought up our inclination of labels and "standards". We tend to label things and put them in categories. Noise to all of the interviewees was not music, because they defined music with "rhythm" and "connection".
Q: Do you think music made by GarageBand is music?
K: It does not have to be, but it can.
S: No. Because, just going off of that technology is not apart of us, I think that music should be created by humans, not a computer. If you know how to manipulate code, it does not mean you can manipulate an instrument and make music. There is that distinction between the sound made by a computer and an instrument.
M: Not really. It can't produce music like when music is produced from actual instruments.
Q: Do you think music is technology? Could be intersected with technology?
K: I dont think musics has to be technology; singing is music, and that doesn't need to be technology, but there definitely can be intersection. All the instruments we use are technologies. Auto tune, an example of how the two intersect, using your voice which I don't think is technology and adding auto tune to make it sound better.
S: No. Music could be entailed with technology when using amplifiers, but music is not technology, music comes from human heart. In brass music- you dont need a lot of technology to produce jazz. You can use violins, trombones, guitars, produced by us, the humans, you don’t need technology, you need thought and emotions.
C: It is becoming it. Keyboard is incorporating technology. Recording your own music, needs technology. Although in the end it is synthesized. For example, Moog started Electronic everything, he made it with the intention of producing music. it’s an instrument like any other one, I think although it’s made by something other than what regular instruments are made of.
I really think you can get innovative in computers to create great music.
M: I don't agree that music is technology. There is a distinction between music from instrument and music from a computer. You can create music by technology, but REAL music, that something cannot be made by technology, Remixes are not entirely music, and I don't think computer is not an instrument. What you can get form actual instruments played by humans is something you wont get from a computer. It is just not music if it is from a computer.
Q: Do you think technology makes us better? Improve us?
K: It improves aspects of our lives, while diminishing to some extent other aspects. It can be destructive if it is intend to be, but inherently it is not bad.
S: I use technology to keep in touch with people which is very convenient but is artificial. Facebook, iChat, and the ability to send an email at your convenience is nice to have, but are artificial ways that I dont think are as healthy. I also dont think it betters and worsens us, it’s just a different dynamic. It’s made us a little bit less social. You used to listen to music on a record with your friends, now you have them in your ipod/tunes as if it is the soundtrack of your life.
I really don't think it is destructive to my life. Although it could be if for example used for weapons. But as a whole it is very helpful in many ways.
C: It improves us in someways- medicine and tech. you may not be able to survive w/o tech. it is an advancement. Although it is nice, I dont like my dependence on my computer/phone. I would prefer to not be dependent on technology. I would prefere if it were easier to separete myself from technology.
Technology could definitely yes. definitely be destructive. My work ethic, if I didndt have the internter readily available, i would be more productive.
This all shows how an emergent of systems our lives could take. No one had believed there would be such thing as an internet where the whole world is connected, through wireless machines. Signals and transactions are made underground, in outerspace and in the air that aid us in connecting together. Improving our technology through building more advanced machines has been a huge convenience to our lives. However, those conveniences if not treated properly could turn against us.
Music is a very humane thing, and the different opinions shown by the interviewees shows how emergence takes place i our lives. How each individual follows a set of rules, hoping to benefit their own, yet it all turns out to beneficial to the majority of the members of the system.
In relation to Chorost's book, our minds could be connected via the internet, our thoughts, dreams, ideas, emotions and opinions could all be shared, and it is rather interesting to see how long it would take to achieve this technological ambition. Would it even happen, if there are more people like my two interviewees S&M to object the ability of a computer to produce what the believe in to be music? Would our technologies defeat our labels and our "standards" to become completely integrated with us, or would the resistance persist? Would our minds become world wide? Or would privacy be improved with technology rather than being invaded? I wonder.