It’s sad to think that whenever someone talks about the dangers technology can have on a person, I immediately go on the defensive. I have become so attached to my phone and my life on social media that I feel the need to somehow prove to people that it is good and healthy. After watching Sherry Turkle’s TED Talk, “Connected, but alone?”, I told myself I have to stop getting so defensive whenever she brings up a good argument. One thing that immediately got me hooked was when she mentioned that her daughter literally sleeps with her phone. I thought to myself “Huh, yeah I guess I do that too.” Every night, my phone is plugged into the outlet beside my bed, and I regularly fall asleep watching something on Netflix. I feel like I struggle to go to sleep without it–without any visual or audio aid to help me fall asleep, I get bored, and I toss and turn all night. I realized that I’ve become so attached that I use it to help me sleep, to keep me awake, and bring me entertainment throughout the day.
Another thing she mentioned was how we are slowly driving away from real conversation. Conversations on our cell phones are small tidbits–no one really has a full on conversation through text. I immediately thought of all the conversation I’ve had with my girlfriend over text. In the beginning, when we were getting to know each other, it was constant back and forth, getting to know each other, literal paragraphs of text messages. Now that we’re dating, the texting is something to keep us connected (she goes to school in Vancouver so she’s very far away at the moment). We ask about our day, say good morning and goodnight, send some jokes, and every once in a while have a long and meaningful conversation. For the most part, those long conversations, or the real conversations as Sherry would say, happen when we call one another, or we watch a movie together (there’s a great website that allows you to stream a movie while also simultaneously facetiming, it’s called Rabbit if you’d like to check it out). While texting is a great tool to connect, and it was a great tool for me to get to know my girlfriend, it’s main goal is to send quick messages that get your point across, or get the information you need.
Speaking of conversation, Sherry mentioned how people wanted Apple to make it so that Siri could have conversations with you. I remember a time when I felt I could have a conversation with Siri. Sure, the conversation didn’t always make sense, but it was entertaining and, quite honestly, intriguing to have a conversation with a computer. Today, I decided to try having a conversation with Siri again. It did not go the same way. When I asked Siri to have a conversation with me, she told me that she didn’t understand what I wanted. When I responded with “I want you to talk, Siri,” she said, “I want you to talk, Shaleen.” She then continued to list the things I could ask her, like booking a dinner reservation or checking the weather. It seemed as if Apple noticed that people were becoming increasingly attached to Siri, and the facade of friendship she gives people and decided they would reprogram her to make her a functional, helping app exclusively. Ironically, even Apple, one of the biggest technology companies, noticed our reliance on technology and did their part to make us more engaged with the real world.
Another article I read talked about the teenager, who came for March for Life, confronting the Native American man during the Indigenous Peoples March. Having known about the incident outside the article, I had pretty much already made up my mind on how I felt about the situation. I believe it to be an instance of ignorance on behalf of the teenager, who was wearing a MAGA hat mind you, who decided that making a Native American man uncomfortable was a good decision. Then another video resurfaced saying that everyone got it all wrong and that the student was being harassed as well. In my opinion, a person who has made it their goal to harass an oppressed group of people for their own reason cannot get upset when those people stand up for themselves, and they most certainly cannot complain about being harassed when that’s exactly what they are doing. Plus, not only did the Native American man say so, but many at the march felt uncomfortable by the student’s demeanor and his intentions–regardless if he was well-meaning or not (and I highly doubt he was well-meaning), he made a group of minorities uncomfortable because of his blatant support for Trump and the way he handled the situation, and he should be held accountable for that.
Of course, the article is all about how we shouldn’t trust viral videos verbatim, and I agree with that statement. People do have a tendency to agree with and trust videos or articles without doing their own individual research, and that can be dangerous. Our reliance on technology, and our inherent trust of it, as a result, has made it easier for unreliable news to spread like wildfire, and until we question how technology has made it difficult for us in today’s day and age, that fire won’t get put out.