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The Suicide of Humanity

 
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Are we making ourselves extinct
yes
36%
 36%  [ 7 ]
no
36%
 36%  [ 7 ]
not sure
26%
 26%  [ 5 ]
Total Votes : 19

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Epiphany



Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 260
Location: South Florida

PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 9:40 pm    Post subject: The Suicide of Humanity Reply with quote

Is addiction to technologies, the end of our humanity?
Seems to me that every new step we take in the technology world. Destroys what makes us human. Cyber stores and banking. Order your pizza on-line. Tex message your friends. Digital access to libraries. Pay at the pump gas stations. Chatrooms fill your sexual desires. Even if we don't have prostetic bodies at this time, on-line you can be whoever you want. Walmart has killed off small businesses where people knew the people they dealt with. Now Walmart is trying to kill off their own stores with on-line shopping. Even Wendy's Restaurants are now W-Fi. Want a college degree, just go on-line. Need a friend go to My Space.

Drive thrus at banks and fastfood places. Now curb services for more high end restuarants and services. Hell you can get married in Vegas without leaving your car.

You can practically live your whole life without coming into contact with a flesh and blood person. Maybe thats what makes the Major such a sad cariacter. Maybe she just sees where were going.

Sadly. I love technology
Happily, I still love people
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douyang



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
Posts: 128

PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know what you're whining about here. Increasing automation and the ability to communicate, do business, or get an education more easily over great distances can only be an improvement. Think of the time, money, and trouble saved with the examples you have provided. Think of all the people that now have access or will have access to the fruits of our society due to the decreased expenses or travel provided by ebanking, online learning, and universally accessible digital information of all kinds for all purposes that can be obtained with even a humble dial-up connection like my own, let alone a high speed server.

Even IM or a forum like this one allows you to make new friends or develop relationships with people you would otherwise never meet. I know I wouldn't have much of a social life without it, since I've been an introvert my entire life who is often uncomfortable dealing with others face to face. In a forum like this, anxiety and concerns over superficial things like what you look like, or even the threat of force or violence from those you disagree with or fight with, is not an issue.

None of this means people have to give up face to face interaction or dealing with others more directly. If anything, it gives everyone a choice as to how close you want to be.

And as I am deeply nearsighted, I look forward to the prospect of a cybernetic body. So would anyone with a degenerative illness, HIV, a broken spine, and so forth.
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simon's ghost



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 188
Location: Montréal area, Québec, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not quite directly related, but today, right here, in Montreal, Quebec, where the average weather at this time of year should be a chillnig -5 degrees celcius, we have been having a whole week above 0, reaching 10 degrees today and predicted tomorrow is a late summer-like 15 degrees...

Progress, in one way or another is inevitably a slow but steady killer due to human nature. If the progress of technology automatically implied a progress of human values, it wouldn't be a problem, but research and technical development being directly influenced by world economy, it will inevitably result in the same unbalance that can be found in economy.

Of course, there are different effects of our computer age on society, but I see the issue of a possible threat to our physical health more pressing than our mental health although one could argue that both depend on one another. For example, could it be that the general feeling of alienation from physical reality brought by an excessively cerebral life through technology results in a general carelessness of all things of the physical reality, thus contributing to the fall of man through environmental degredation and so forth?
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rcog3



Joined: 27 Oct 2006
Posts: 24
Location: Montreal

PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I voted for "not sure". Technology is pretty neutral when it comes to humans. While I think that our idea of humanity will evolve through time (see Lightice post about human 2.0 in The Creative Spark), I think what really matters is how we react to it. Yes, technology creates new pitfalls. For example, I used to work in a place where the cafeteria wasn't big enough to accomodate all the employes. Therefore, most of us ended up eating in our cubicle while browsing the internet. Really bad for the human side of one's professional life. But I think that was due to a logistic error more than to technology (microwave, internet, etc.) itself. On the other hand, at one point in my life, I came to realize that, when I wear my glasses, I tend to care more about people around me. I don't like the physical fact of wearing them, yet seeing clearly makes it less easy to be completely introverted ( guess it is similar to douyang's forums ...).
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Epiphany



Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 260
Location: South Florida

PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

douyang wrote:
I don't know what you're whining about here. Increasing automation and the ability to communicate, do business, or get an education more easily over great distances can only be an improvement. Think of the time, money, and trouble saved with the examples you have provided. Think of all the people that now have access or will have access to the fruits of our society due to the decreased expenses or travel provided by ebanking, online learning, and universally accessible digital information of all kinds for all purposes that can be obtained with even a humble dial-up connection like my own, let alone a high speed server.

Even IM or a forum like this one allows you to make new friends or develop relationships with people you would otherwise never meet. I know I wouldn't have much of a social life without it, since I've been an introvert my entire life who is often uncomfortable dealing with others face to face. In a forum like this, anxiety and concerns over superficial things like what you look like, or even the threat of force or violence from those you disagree with or fight with, is not an issue.

None of this means people have to give up face to face interaction or dealing with others more directly. If anything, it gives everyone a choice as to how close you want to be.

And as I am deeply nearsighted, I look forward to the prospect of a cybernetic body. So would anyone with a degenerative illness, HIV, a broken spine, and so forth.


I'm not whining. I'm asking a question. You know--Looking for other peoples opinions and takes on what technology is doing to us. Or what we are doing to ourselves with technology. I know there are great advantages to man based on a longer, easier life. I also see many dangers in it. We've had several discussions on it at school. Some say we're becoming de-socialized. Blaming many of societys woes on the lack of human contact. Everything from road rage to columbine seems to be, being blamed on our technology based personal isolation. Others say the instant access to information and ideas is worth what we might lose.

As for your being introverted ( sorry to hear that, by the way ) Technology is also giving you a way to avoid dealing with that.

I know that this year one of my study groups is internet based and even though it is real time, with audio and video. Something is missing from those sessions. Yes I get imput from people I wouldn't normally come into contact with. ( that is a good thing ) Still there is a difference in that type of contact verses personal contact.

As for your cybernetic body. If I were you I wouldn't count on that in our lifetime.
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douyang



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
Posts: 128

PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Epiphany wrote:

I know that this year one of my study groups is internet based and even though it is real time, with audio and video. Something is missing from those sessions. Yes I get imput from people I wouldn't normally come into contact with. ( that is a good thing ) Still there is a difference in that type of contact verses personal contact.

As for your cybernetic body. If I were you I wouldn't count on that in our lifetime.


So do you get a choice as to whether you want a face to face study group or an online one? My point is that it can only be a good thing if the traditional methods are still open to you, and even if they aren't, web conferencing at least makes it possible for you to have a group at all when it comes to time and distance obstacles. I fail to see how the necessary increase in interpersonal/psychological distance can so dehumanize people as you describe. It just takes some adaptation, both practical and mental, that's all, like the use of emoticons on this forum because you can't see anyone's face.

I don't really believe that the technology will be ready in any of our lifetimes. I was just saying that if it were I would not have a problem with getting one, as the physical advantages could be great, and the potential emotional or identity problems could be worked over by realizing the superficiality of physical differences. (Yes, I understand much of how one views oneself and how one is treated by others is related to physical traits, but as the Puppet Master said, humans inevitably change over time anyway.) And as far as I'm concerned, there's not as much difference between a biological body and a mechanical one as many might think... They are both very much machines, the differences being what the parts are made of and their exact method of function. The fact that we still have much missing information about how human bodies (in particular our brains) work (as far as I know) does not give me any reason to think it is any more than a biological machine, though one of incredible complexity.

epiphany wrote:
I also see many dangers in it. We've had several discussions on it at school. Some say we're becoming de-socialized. Blaming many of societys woes on the lack of human contact. Everything from road rage to columbine seems to be, being blamed on our technology based personal isolation.


I see no way this could be plausible in the least. Road rage and the columbine massacre stem from bad experiences coming from close interaction with other people (some jerkoff cutting you off on the interstate, HS scumbags beating and physically and emotionally abusing you for their own stupid little egos and status and the mindless desire to punish you for not conforming to what they think you should be)

epiphany wrote:
As for your being introverted ( sorry to hear that, by the way ) Technology is also giving you a way to avoid dealing with that.


I don't have a problem to "deal with" to begin with. I accepted this part of myself for what it was before I left junior high. And what makes you think talking with people on the net doesn't count as a social life?
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Lightice



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't claim technology to do just one thing. It can be a threat, but it's much more an opportunity. Internet has not decreased, but increased social interaction exponentially. It makes community-forming more easier than it ever has been. And the Net and the so-called real life are becoming more and more interwoven with each other. The border between net-pals and real life friends is fading, as people who met online are more likely to meet each other in real life, as well and RL friends who have ended up physically apart can continue their friendship online.

Furthermore, the Internet-interaction is becoming more and more like physical interaction. Programs like Second Life are creating a sense of reality, which becomes more prominent as the technology develops. One day there won't be any difference whether the people we interact with are next to us or on the other side of the globe - we can talk and otherwise communicate with each other with same ease, without even thinking about the technological medium between us. Technology is becoming more prominent in life, but also less visible. There will be time when we use technology as naturally as we use our brains and bodies, today, without even thinking its existance.

Quote:
As for your being introverted ( sorry to hear that, by the way ) Technology is also giving you a way to avoid dealing with that.


Introversion is not a negative trait. It can have negative manifestations, but so can extroversion. It is simply a neutral personality-trait, which can take to positive or negative direction, depending on the person.

As for cybernetic bodies in GitS style, I don't think they ever become widespread, as the change is far too extreme to psychologically accept, without equally extreme reasons, like an accident that destroys the original body utterly. However, the cybernetic change from the celluclar level up can and will become common, because such change is gradual and unnoticeable and far more practical. We will almost certainly see applications of that in our lifetimes. I would remind you that even if technology wouldn't develop further from this very point, the medical innovations made during this decade, alone will be likely to increase the average human life above the magic line of 100 years. And more inventions are constantly being made. I wouldn't be surprised if I never died a "natural" death like people do, these days. I believe that this century will be at very least as revolutionary to technology and human life as the last one was, and quite possibly more.
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Epiphany



Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 260
Location: South Florida

PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have a problem to "deal with" to begin with. I accepted this part of myself for what it was before I left junior high. And what makes you think talking with people on the net doesn't count as a social life?[/quote]

Sorry to imply it was a problem for you. I too am an introvert and I do conceder it a problem for me. It's a personality trait I dislike having. It seems to limit me on many day to day activities. I have to spend more energy that would be nessesary dealing with some social situations. So I guess I figured everyone felt that way. No offence was ment. Just viewing the word from my prespective.
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TDL



Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is my first post, so I do not want to offend any regular contributors if my style is odd.

Many of the topics discussed here (in the forum) are interesting and well worth debating. This notion of self-extinction is somewhat interesting, albeit somewhat disturbing. I think there is a bit of a misconception of what certain words mean and how certain trends are interpreted. I think in this instance, technology (and its effects) is not well defined. What exactly do you believe is technology? The entire existence of our species is defined by technology. What I mean by this is that our species is the only one that can take elements and minerals and intentionally turn them into tools to better our lives. In effect, a flint spear is an artifact of technology. My best guess is that this question of "are we making ourselves extinct?" has been asked repeatedly throughout human existence. The very fact that we are still here is evidence that we have not made ourselves extinct.

I would also aver that humans are not addicted to technology. Technology is simply the rational implementation of our abilities to manipulate the environment around us in order to intentionally better our circumstances. I would also echo Lightice's sentiment. Technology is neutral, it has no moral or ethical value; the use of the fruits of our technological endeavors can, however, be used to implement deeply immoral acts. These immoral acts, however, should not be blamed on an inanimate object, the blame lies squarely with the human beings who consciously chose to use technological artifacts to implement their schemes. I would say to Epiphany, there is no reason to be sad about liking technology, or to despair, you are simply embracing the human heritage. As for living life the way the Major does, remember she chooses to exist in this manner. Living a solitary life might not be the ideal for some, but for others it allows them to excel at other traits they value more than physical interaction.

As for Wal-Mart and other economic trends, these are raising the standard of living by driving down the costs of goods and services that were once considered luxuries for the richest in various societies. The manifestation of the division of labor is sometimes not understood, but in leads to each individual excelling at what they are good at (at least when it [the division of labor] is allowed to progress uninterrupted.)

I will let my comments rest for now.

Regards,
TDL
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Epiphany



Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 260
Location: South Florida

PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TDL You made some good points as have several others here. The title of the tread is the "suicide of humanity" I'm refering to our lose of human connection. The one on one face to face dealings we need to remain functional in a 3D world. I asked the question because of a discussion at school. I run hot and cold on the answers I've gotten here and at school. Sometimes I think were doing fine as a species and sometimes I think were our own worst enemies.

The referance to technology is aimed at more modern electronical communications devices and the fact they take away the need to come face to face with each other.

Actually if my take on the Major is correct she was give a prostetic body as a child. She also seems to have doubts about living like she does.

But all opinions are welcome. Thats why I started the thread. I want other peoples opinions. Not only on the small part of the subject I've touched on but on the entire man vs machine vs humanity questions.
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mu



Joined: 17 May 2006
Posts: 7
Location: in a cave were men only see shadows

PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think humanity is killing itself so I voted yes. But not because of computer technology. I don't believe there will ever be a replacement for face to face contact. I always enjoy talking to people face to face rather than talking on the computer. There are alot of things that could never be replaced by technology. And getting drive through married is just tasteless.
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Elmo_Redux



Joined: 23 Feb 2007
Posts: 154
Location: CLASSIFIED

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the species as a whole is headed in a rather problematic direction, but not really due directly to the increasing presence of technology in our lives* or the urban alienation some people are starting to feel from this slightly disconnected existence - these two elements in conjunction with the ever greater control a privileged elite has over ever advancing technology (particularly in communications) merely facilitates the situation. I see it more as a societal problem; modern industrialized civilization has developed within a range of convenient falsehoods. The driving force of these post-industrial nations has been increasing net personal material gain, which is accepted by many as a legitimate goal and even as a praiseworthy pursuit, on the assumption that the pursuit of these private vices yields benefits for the society as a whole (and in the classic marketplace society it does to some extent fulfill this aim, for a while). It is my opinion however that societies based on this capitalist ideal will inevitably push themselves to self-destruction in time. We can only persist with this way of life as long as we can delude ourselves about the psychological, environmental and human costs. But whilst communications technology is under the control of a specialized elite, any change will be constantly hindered by the recycling of the same falsehoods that got us into this mess in the first place and the dissemination of the myth that the world and its people are an infinite resource and an inexhaustible dumping ground. At this stage in history there are two main paths I can see for us as a species; the first is that guided by feelings of solidarity, empathy and a wish to pursue community interests, the world's general populace will take control of their own future away from the massive corporate stakeholders currently in control - or the second option is that we see this self-destructive path through to the end and there'll be no future for anyone to take control of. As long as there is this big-business privileged class in control it will set policy and our goals as a species to serve personal interests, but the satisfactory survival of the human race requires rational and responsible social planning serving the interests of the global community of individual units. The privileged few use their unassailable domination of technology, politics and especially communications to spread self-serving illusions and repress the terrible threats(to them) of justice, freedom and truth. But if we are to survive and flourish Justice, Freedom & Truth shouldn't be treated as threats, or even as ideals to be shouted about in conjunction with whatever flag we're waving - instead in our current state of existence they should be considered as survival traits.



* as TDL already pointed out knowledge/technology is neutral, it has no meaning of it's own - none that we do not impose on it with our minds.
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Epiphany



Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 260
Location: South Florida

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

* as TDL already pointed out knowledge/technology is neutral, it has no meaning of it's own - none that we do not impose on it with our minds.

At the present time thats true. But in the future will technology take on a life of it's own. Like in the movie "I Robot" and deside we need to be protected from ourselves or as in "Terminator" Deside we are useless. Or will the Choas Theory take effect and have our technology run amuck with out any rhyme or reason other than theres a bug in the system.
Could the 666 the bible refers to actually be a computer program. But then Bill gates is probably the Anti-Christ and technology is really going to become the mark of the beast.
But all joking aside. I think Man's laziness is really going to be the key to our downfall. We will give machines the power to destroy us. Simple because were to lazy to get up and change the channel on the TV manually. I believe Humanity is going to be the downfall of itself.
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