This chapter of "Brain Gain" is entitled "Are There Real Dangers? What Should We Be Wary Of?". Parenksy outlines 10 dangers we face with the evolution of the newest technology. However, Parensky is quick to point out "yet, as with fire, these dangers must always be balanced carefully against the positives" [Parensky chapter 7]. It's all about making the right trade-offs!
The dangers of perceived manipulation for brands using Facebook, Twitter and other social media and lessons learned from real world networking by Red Bull
Kara Berger's insight:
Parensky states that we should "keep our guard up about people using technology to persuade us". Companies use our personal information to persuade us, to make us want to buy a certain product, or click on a certain link. Is Facebook, Google, and others are collecting our personal information to create a manipulative marketing plan catered to our personal lives? If so, are consumers conscious of this change in marketing?
In this section, Marc Prensky references Douglas Rushkoff's book "Program or Be Programmed: 10 Commandments of the Digital Age". According to Rushkoff, there are several biases we must be aware of as digital consumers. A few of these biases include a "bias away from continuous time" (on the internet), "a bias toward facts and reality", a "bias toward openness" (i.e.theft of music), and "a bias toward those with the capacity to write the code". What do you think? Have you ever experienced any of these biases? Were you conscious of them at the time?
For the last several years, we have outsourced much of what humans used to do with the latest technologies and machinery. Why have a human make calculations when you have a computer to do it for you? Parensky argues that although outsourcing via technology will more than likely continue, it will never replace the decision making and problem solving abilities of humans. What do you think? Are we preparing our students for this shift of outsourcing (which of course the world is already experiencing)?
Parensky recognizes this danger and argues that there are 2 types of addictions: a metaphorical addiction and a clinical addiction. Many who we might identify as "addicted" to technology most likely fall into this category. Many of us are addicted to technology like others might be addicted to sweets or to reading. It's a healthy relationship that enhances our lives, usually.
Often those people who suffer from a more clinical addiction to technology, Parensky argues, are addicted not because of technology itself, but due more so to other factors, like stress. What about you? Would you consider yourself addicted to technology, and if so would you consider yourself addicted in a clinical or metaphorical sense (if you dare to admit it)?
With digital wisdom comes the definite danger of technology destroying life all together. Think nuclear bomb threats, world wars, etc. Is it possible the militaries of world could reach that point of technological advancement where countries could potentially destroy each other?
Many argue that the use of some technologies could have many negative (or positive) side effects which have yet to be discovered. Does holding your cell phone to your ear on a daily bases and over many years cause cancer? Could blasting your iphone up to the highest volume setting while wearing your ear buds cause unintended consequences? Will the brains of our children, who are exposed to technology at birth, function any differently than ours?
Several lessons of yesterday seem on some ways obsolete in today's world. Some may say this is an unfortunate consequence of technology. For example, one of the best business practices of yesterday was face-to face t-me and one-on-one conversations with clients. However, is this always the best practice in this age? Is there a time and place where Skype or a text is more appropriate?
There is also the advice or grandparents gave is, to stay at one job and get really good at it, and retire doing this same job as an expert in your field. Is this practical in today's world, or with the technology advancements of today is this notion even practical?
Is technology ruining our ability to do certain tasks that we used to do well, but now technology does it for us? The more we communicate online, the more some say we are losing our abilities to communicate effectively in person. Can you think of any other examples of technology atrophy we are experiencing as a society?
Is it possible to "outsource our mind to technology"? Parensky challenges this question by bringing up the valid point that it would be impossible to match any technology with the diversity that exists with the human race. Parensky recognizes this fear, but argues that perhaps with the right technology we will actually become "more human". What do you think? Could technology one day replace YOU?
Could technology at some point rule the world? Could it completely take over the need for humans? Parensky argues that it can, and in some aspects it most definitely will. However, will technology ever fill the need for companionship? Will technology ever feel emotions like humans? The possibility cannot be completely dismissed.
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