The Rise of the Personal Computer
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Posted 4/7/14 , edited 4/7/14
This is a topic that I've pondered over recently. I don't have a definitive answer to this, as I can see the pros & cons to both sides of the coin.

I feel like the rise of the PC is a glorious and beautiful thing. Never before have we been able to do so much in such a convenient fashion. These days it's not so uncommon for somebody from let's say... the Ukraine to be interacting with someone in America. Heck, all you have to do is open up Skype in your smartphone and you can interact in a virtual face-to-face conversation with them. Bored? Go look up some entertaining videos on YouTube or watch a video on Netflix. Lonely? Go on some of the single's websites and interact with other lonely people. Horny? Go look up some readily available porn. Frustrated? Go on Facebook and vent to the world!

I was born in 1989. So I can't say I've lived a life long enough to witness enough changes compared to lots of other people here. But even so, the technological changes from the early 90's to now is just insane. Who would have thought that everybody would have been carrying a mini-PC in their pocket today? No longer do we need to go out and buy CDs. We can just download it directly on our phone from iTunes. No longer do we need to go out and rent movies. We can just watch it right on our phone. No longer do we have to go through multiple hoops to get a hold of imported material. It's all readily available! Heck, even those rare anime shows that we would have never been able to see! It's all here! All of these conveniences are just one click (or tap) away!

But at the same time, I feel like all of this can also be harmful. I feel like there are certain things (mostly social interactions) that are being buried underneath all of this. I feel like there are certain real-life experiences that are forever lost in this technological rampage. I really do feel like technology is great, but there's also something about it that makes me question it. I take myself as an example. Here I am, with literally everything in terms of forms of entertainment in my back-pocket. Yet, why don't I feel as enthralled as I should be?

I feel like... in years before, simpler things would peak my interest. These days though, it's like that bar is being raised higher and higher. It used to be a journey to go to the music store and find a CD. And then I would listen to it for days. These days I have any and every song I could ever want on my phone. Something like this should be blowing my mind, yet I just feel "meh" towards it. At what point will nothing satisfy me anymore? If someone were to invent an iPhone in the early 90's people would have gone crazy.

Anyways, like I mentioned earlier I don't really have a definitive stance towards this. I see both sides of the coin and only wish for the best in terms of technological advances. I personally don't think it will make us dehumanized, for now.

BUT, I am curious as to what other people think on this subject. Please share your thoughts!
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27 / M / Ohio
Posted 4/7/14 , edited 4/7/14
I'm in the same situation as you. Even with things like libraries, I can check out any comic book I want, any movie, and book and even any CD. Some of them are even digitally delivered. Yet I seem to just do nothing with my free time, despite not having a lot because college is a time sucker. I have an endless amount of games I own but haven't played, most of them being the kind I would have stayed up all night playing for being so good.

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Posted 4/7/14 , edited 4/7/14
I suppose I look at it this way - in the past, it was difficult to get, say, news. A news reel would come out and be run before the movies until the next news reel arrived, but it was still the latest and greatest news they could see. These days, we have a vast variety of 24-hour news stations (which seem to say about as much as those news reels before movies, but that's another issue), and you have to put in your own filter about what news is important to you, rather than the reality-enforced filter of "video news just can't get to you that fast."

Similarly, I can download just about any song or album.. but I have to limit myself, partly due to money, and partly so I can enjoy what I purchase, to make the dollars worth it. Books are a bit easier, because they're also still constrained by my reading speed, and I try not to build up too much of a backlog (in part because I make my future purchase decisions on what I previously bought). I game slowly, but still, same thing. I look for specific qualities, rather than purchasing whatever I can afford.

I think in general the greater availability is a good thing. It lets people experience more, find their own interests rather than just what is available to them in their area, either because of transport times or local politics. But it does mean people have to start making their own choices about personal limits, in order to keep enjoying the good stuff. Otherwise you're just overwhelmed by the possibilities before you can even get started.

As for the social aspects.. sure, I don't meet people down at the local bookstore much anymore. But on the flipside, I get to meet people from all over the world who like the same books I do just by a quick Google search. Made some pretty good friends that way, some that have also gotten together in person after interacting online for a while.

I guess in the end, I see it as different.. not good or bad overall, but a shift to something new. Just have to ride it out and see where it takes us, like other changes in the past.
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28 / M / Pandemonium
Posted 4/8/14 , edited 4/8/14
Most people still prefer to interact face-to-face. As long as that still happens, I'd say no. We're not being dehumanized.
As for those who prefer electronic communication, I suspect that often times, those are people suffering from things like social anxiety, aspergers or other types of autistic diagnoses. For those people, it's an amazing tool.

Regarding what you said about the bar being raised and entertainment not being as enchanting as before, yes I agree. Still, it has for one, hightened the standard for many people. It has given less monopoly for the gigantic music corporation and thus less ability to exploit artists. It has driven down the price of entertainment, it has allowed independet artists to get a LOT more recognition and attention, and of course, it has made it far easier for niche-products to get made, because the various niches are able to mobilize to a much greater degree.
Case in point, things like MLP: FIM, Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors, Bee And Puppycat, etc.

So even if some of the excitement of going down to a record shop has been lost to many people (though there's still nothing preventing you from going to your local record shop and still take a shot at something unknown, so it's not REALLY a problem), I still think it's a good thing.
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38 / M / Denver
Posted 4/8/14 , edited 4/8/14

People use computers to shop, so identity theft has EXPLODED.

Intelligence is easily faked when Wikipedia is open in the other tab, and Google in the one after that.

People communicate digitally, so their body-language and vocal-variations have dropped into the basement from what I've seen.

Search engines only access a small portion of the internet. I think the number was 1/5th. The rest is used for illegal activities, especially human trafficking.

Why, WHY would you check your phone at the dinner table with your date?!

There are more bad things. And there are just as many if not more good things. Personally, I'm nerding it up while still being prepared for a totally hypothetical electronic meltdown world-wide. As in "back to land-line phones if we're lucky" kind of meltdown.

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50 / M / Reston, Virginia
Posted 4/8/14 , edited 4/8/14
Humans are social creatures and whether it is in real life, or online, we try to make connections with others. I remember what it was like before the Internet. It was hard to find people with similar interests if your interests were not in the mainstream. Sure, you could find a comic book shop if you were into comics, but anime was impossible to find.

Today it doesn't matter what your interest is, you are likely to find people through the Internet that you can meet up with in real life. The Internet has led to the growth of table top gaming, anime, and other groups since it has given them a place to meet. I'd say the Internet allows us to be more social as it makes it easier to find people to connect with.

Technology is a double edged sword. It can be used to withdraw from society or to trivialize social contact (are your 100+ friends in Facebook really friends?). But, while it can make it easy to withdraw from society, it also makes it easier to take part in society.
Posted 4/19/14 , edited 4/19/14
I am a technophile; so obviously my opinion is very biased.

I appreciate new technology... and always feel fascinated by them. I can't wait for something new and innovative to come out.

As for dehumanizing, I think it will only get to that point when we start having bionic body parts or humanoid robots as sexual partners... but for the moment; I'd say we're still fully human.

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22 / M / Cardiff,Wales
Posted 4/19/14 , edited 4/19/14
Technology is both good and bad, in history we have seen over and over again that the civilizations that stood out the most were those with the better technology. When there is new tech out I am sometimes fascinated by them, it's amazing that innovation like that takes place, however negative aspects come out of it as well.
E.g. whilst it was awesome that Nazi-Germany developed swept back wings for fighter jets (and had the first operational fighter jet that proved to be more successful/advanced than some Korean era jets) it cost the lives of hundreds of allied pilots. It was good that the technology was produced (And then the US pulled a monopoly on it) but it had the wrong 'producers/innovators'.
Whilst biotechnology is awesome the implementation of heavy/large metal objects into biological bodies is absurd, your body ages more rapidly than metal and by the time you are 50 or so your body won't be able to support things like that.
Another thing is that technology will only be super-rapidly advanced in the case of a total war (Not simply a war, it needs to be a total war) other than that technology will only ever advance at a moderate pace since there usually is no real 'I need it or I die' reason to have/develop it.
In addition to that people are kind of really stupid about the 'internet', whilst it is a great place no one can negate the fact that most of it is used for what most governments consider 'illegal', things such as human trafficking, weapons smuggling, drug trade and pedophilia are always present. (Take a look at Silk Road 2.0). I am a great supporter of the free web and things such as the NSA should not exist and no government should have the right to be able to spy on any of your data-Not even your own ISPs. The internet is a free place, people should use it for whatever they want, whether it be illegal or not it does not matter, the internet is everywhere and yet nowhere and that is how it should be-open and free.

So in my opinion, it's awesome that there is tech but sadly most people would simply die out if they had to go for more than 1 week without relying on any, I doubt that even 80% of the members on this forum can ride a horse let alone use a bow and arrow to hunt for food in the woods/outland.
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21 / M
Posted 4/19/14 , edited 4/20/14
technology has a very strong effect on people now a days, and can very well "dehumanize" someone, although i wouldn't pick that word i would prefer "socially inept" or just addicted. now im not saying technology is a drug, but im saying technology should be handled with responsibility its not for just everyone, yes its easy to use but is it healthy? because its so easy to use people rely on it at such a dangerous level that they are unable to function without it, like for example britney texts her friends all around the world all night, but then her phone dies one night and she cant find anything else to do but stare at the wall. i have experienced this, and it took a lot to relize that what i was doing with the phone was just as a waste of time as staring at the wall.dont get me wrong technology is very useful and has a lot more potential than we realized. after some time i began to do more productive things like martail arts,drawing,reading and lots of other things and i started to gain more responsibilities and then i realized that i was not ready for technology before, but i learned the hard way and now i take precautions.

i think technolgy should be held by people who are responsible not just everyone, other wise you would be a zombie....or worse
Posted 5/4/14 , edited 5/4/14
Lack of sunlight can make anyone appear less human.
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28 / M / Atlantic Beach, NC
Posted 5/9/14 , edited 5/10/14
I kind of look at it this way. How we all interact is different, but it is by no means bad.

In the 1800's, in order to see a person in the next town you'd have to take a week off and travel by horse to go visit them. I'm sure that's a life experience that many people may have valued back then. But now, we can just hop in a car and take a small day trip to go see them and be back by dinner.

We are probably the most social generation to have ever lived. Ever. Just on this forum, every single day we are communicating ourselves and our ideas to hundreds of people that we have never met and will never know. That's absolutely incredible. You will never know how much what you say or do can change someone's outlook on the world. I have a fair amount of confidence (especially because I've had direct feedback) that a few of my own posts on different sites I've been on throughout my life have greatly influenced people. I've had moving conversations with strangers that I've never seen in real life just through text/voice chat on my computer who are half a world away. I've read blogs and articles written by people who's opinions are amazingly well thought out and provided new perspective, but will probably never be published or accredited scientists.

My cousin married a guy she met over the internet. My coworker married a girl he met over WoW. These things would have never been possible even so much as 20 years ago.

That is absolutely balls to the walls amazing. Is the human connection wavering? Eh, I suppose to a certain extent. But I still work and hang out with people every day as do millions of others. Hell, as an introvert, I spend more time talking to people in real life than I'm comfortable with as my job, like most jobs, demands of me. Being social offline is still important too and is something I think still is held as very valuable, but with just how much you can experience online, I don't blame people that spend so much of their social life on the net. Hell, I AM one of those people, and I am far more enlightened and fulfilled socially than I would have been without it.

Checking out books from the library is it's own life experience. But so is reading one on a Kindle. Neither is better or worse than the other really, just different as they provide different experiences. And that is something that I find a lot of people undervalue when I see posts on Facebook about how real life connections to things are dead, as I believe that that couldn't be further from the truth.
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