Law in Contemporary Society

How is Universal Interconnection, Implemented Through the Current Architecture, Affecting Human Society?

-- By CharlesRoper - 30 Mar 2016

There is no denying that the ability for universal interconnection via the Internet has had huge ramifications worldwide. Not only does the Internet allow society to be conscious of the world around them, it also allows them to interact with the world on an unprecedented level. Furthermore, this virtual world interacting has the ability to promote new insights and diversity of thoughts aiding not only purely social relationships but also the advancement of business and technological ideas and innovations. However, this unprecedented level of universal interconnection may be bringing with it unprecedented drawbacks affecting human society as well.

Some scholars may be quick to dismiss the merits and seriousness of universal interconnection’s drawbacks. Said scholars typically note that although the technology may have changed it is still the same old criticism being flung towards it. Keith Hampton in his article NO: Relationships Are Being Enhanced, not Replaced perfectly illustrates this notion: “Yes, some things have changed—but maybe not as much as you might think. Consider ‘what a strange practice it is…that a man should sit down to his breakfast table and, instead of conversing with his wife, and children, hold before his face a sort of screen on which is inscribed a world-wide gossip.’ These words ring as true today as when they were written, in 1909. They were the observations of one of America’s first and most renowned sociologists, Charles Cooley, about how morning delivery of the newspaper was undermining the American family. Thank goodness the scourge of the newsman is in decline.” A prima facie analysis of these dismissals may even logically make sense. However, upon closer inspection and analysis, psychological studies have revealed just how baseless defenses of universal interconnection truly are.

Specifically, Sherry Turkle a psychologist and cultural analyst who through her world renowned books, “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other” and “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age”, and her recent TED Talk revealed her in-depth studies on how technology is shaping our modern relationships. Ms. Turkle’s studies have shown that when one uses the universal interconnecting technology to be socially connected with the world devastating side effects may occur. Studies note that when society is being “social” online they are only getting sips of connection and not real communication. Society is drawn to the Internet because it can provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy. However, society confuses postings and online sharing with authentic communication when in reality it is far from the virtues of person-to-person interactions. For instance studies have found that emotions including empathy can only be dispensed in the virtual world one-sixth as effective compared to real world person-to-person interactions.

While Ms. Turkle’s findings may not have been overly devastating if technology was being used solely to make global connections one would otherwise never be able to make; with the recent trend of society using the Internet to not only connect with individuals globally but also locally these drawbacks become exponentially more prevalent and dangerous. We are now a part of a society that chooses to use the virtual world to interact over easier real world alternatives. In “Alone Together” Ms. Turkle notes an unfortunately too common occurrence of roommates/friends who are in the same house simply texting one another in their rooms rather than interacting in the real world. Furthermore even when two friends are meeting in the real world there is no escaping the technology: “Computers no longer wait for humans to project meaning onto them. Now, sociable robots meet our gaze, speak to us, and learn to recognize us. They ask us to take care of them; in response, we imagine that they might care for us in return.” See “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other”.

I am not suggesting that there needs to be some type of ban on universal interconnection nor in in no way saying that this amazing ability and technology needs to be destroyed. Rather, individuals need to stop being in denial about the effects and drawbacks these technology can have, especially when overly abused. Since virtual communications can be far less successful in dispensing emotions and connections it is important that real world relationships receive the attention required to maintain sociability. Unfortunately, this technology with it gaze capturing constant notifications and wants prevents this from occurring; the time and effort society puts into their virtual worlds distracts and limits the time that society has to connect and communicate on a deeper level in the real world. However, the technology itself does not deserve the full blame, the users/abusers are just as blameworthy, if not more.

Users have simply accepted with never questioning that the virtual world provides an “easier” and "better" form of companionship. The majority of users even believe that this form of companionship is even stronger and more meaning full than real world bonds because anyone at all times is only a few keystrokes away. However, users need to remove the wool that has been self-pulled over their eyes and see the truly raw deal they are making. The use of universal interconnection technology on a global level is a great asset that deserves to be used to its fullest potential. However on the local level, given its drawbacks, this technology should only be used to foster real world person-to-person relationships, rather than replace them.

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  Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
jpg 05172b0bcc5f10528912f499bee51c1406a7ec-wm.jpg props, move 82.6 K 03 Apr 2016 - 02:49 CharlesRoper  
jpg 54441430.jpg props, move 112.4 K 03 Apr 2016 - 15:17 CharlesRoper  
png Social-Media.png props, move 213.4 K 03 Apr 2016 - 02:49 CharlesRoper  
jpg newspaper_illo.jpg props, move 276.2 K 03 Apr 2016 - 15:09 CharlesRoper  
png social-media-comms-e1416852285870.png props, move 213.4 K 03 Apr 2016 - 02:49 CharlesRoper  
r9 - 13 Jun 2016 - 17:18:35 - CharlesRoper
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