Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th Jul 2016 23:34 UTC
In the News

We live, we are so often told, in an information age. It is an era obsessed with space, time and speed, in which social media inculcates virtual lives that run parallel to our "real" lives and in which communications technologies collapse distances around the globe. Many of us struggle with the bombardment of information we receive and experience anxiety as a result of new media, which we feel threaten our relationships and "usual" modes of human interaction.

Though the technologies may change, these fears actually have a very long history: more than a century ago our forebears had the same concerns. Literary, medical and cultural responses in the Victorian age to the perceived problems of stress and overwork anticipate many of the preoccupations of our own era to an extent that is perhaps surprising.

Fascinating look at how people were afraid of new technology over a century ago.

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No Denying It
by jazman777 on Wed 6th Jul 2016 01:36 UTC
jazman777
Member since:
2013-02-27

The 20th Century was an unqualified success!

Reply Score: 1

RE: No Denying It
by leech on Wed 6th Jul 2016 07:01 UTC in reply to "No Denying It"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Out of the whole article one thing consistently made me realize I myself and countless others have indeed been affected by all of the modern things... spelling. My spelling has gone down the toilet, since I now mostly depend on spell check to fix things for me. It's atrocious. Otherwise you do notice, especially working in the tech industry, that people don't actually talk to each other anymore.

Going to lunch used to be a social thing, but then you get everyone looking at their cell phones, checking email or playing games instead of conversing while waiting for food.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: No Denying It
by emerson999 on Wed 6th Jul 2016 09:55 UTC in reply to "RE: No Denying It"
emerson999 Member since:
2007-12-08

The majority of people in the tech industry who have any sense are out taking a walk during lunch to make up for the time spent sitting in a chair all day. There's no polite way of saying this. But lunch in the tech sector automatically selects for autists.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: No Denying It
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 6th Jul 2016 10:10 UTC in reply to "RE: No Denying It"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Going to lunch used to be a social thing, but then you get everyone looking at their cell phones, checking email or playing games instead of conversing while waiting for food.


Right, I'm on my smartphone which brings the world at my fingertips and allows me to talk to my friends all over the world, but sure, nobody EVER talks anymore.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: No Denying It
by kwan_e on Wed 6th Jul 2016 10:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No Denying It"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"Going to lunch used to be a social thing, but then you get everyone looking at their cell phones, checking email or playing games instead of conversing while waiting for food.


Right, I'm on my smartphone which brings the world at my fingertips and allows me to talk to my friends all over the world, but sure, nobody EVER talks anymore.
"

Yes, but in the specific example of going to lunch with friends, you can't argue that's a nice thing to do.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: No Denying It
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 6th Jul 2016 12:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No Denying It"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Yes, but in the specific example of going to lunch with friends, you can't argue that's a nice thing to do.


Oh of course, agreed completely.

I'm just getting sick of people saying a smartphone is an antisocial device when it enables communication with more people than anything we've ever had before. 100% sure people today communicate WAY more than people 40 years ago.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: No Denying It
by darknexus on Wed 6th Jul 2016 13:30 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: No Denying It"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Perhaps a better way to say it is that smartphones can be used in antisocial ways. It's great that we have such communication with others, no matter where they are. What is not great and is, I suspect, the root of people's annoyance with them (including mine) is when they are used to communicate with those far away as opposed to those right in front of you. The way I see it, those in my immediate vicinity have priority. The phone can wait.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: No Denying It
by jazman777 on Wed 6th Jul 2016 18:31 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: No Denying It"
jazman777 Member since:
2013-02-27

"Communication" is not nearly the same as being social.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: No Denying It
by shotsman on Wed 6th Jul 2016 11:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No Denying It"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Speaking - Face to face without a shed load of IT between us is IMHO far more of a social activity than any so called social media thing can ever be.

Having lunch at the same time and same place is a great way to network. Just put the sodding phones down for 30 minutes. The world won't end just because you don't answer a tweet or whatever.

If you are so dependent upon your device for a life then may I humbly suggest that you get some medical help for your addiction.

Reply Score: 7

RE[4]: No Denying It
by davidiwharper on Wed 6th Jul 2016 15:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No Denying It"
davidiwharper Member since:
2006-01-01

Totally agree.

I once had a serious discussion (well, she was serious) with an old lady about whether television had caused the destruction of society. She was arguing that before television, everyone had no choice but to get together for entertainment, and so once having fun by yourself became possible, the social fabric became irretrievably frayed.

I think that is demonstrably not true; rather it began a process - continued with the advent of the Internet and then social media - which allowed people to regroup around shared interests, rather than being forced to get along with people you had physical access to in your tiny community.

BUT she did have a point in a way, and it's the same one you're making more intelligently. If you spend your entire life without direct human contact, as you suggest you won't lead a very happy life. All this communication stuff is great as a supplement, but not as the primary means by which to engage with the world. IMHO anyway - says the person writing strange comments late at night on a random website :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: No Denying It
by StephenBeDoper on Wed 6th Jul 2016 21:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No Denying It"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Speaking - Face to face without a shed load of IT between us is IMHO far more of a social activity than any so called social media thing can ever be.

Having lunch at the same time and same place is a great way to network. Just put the sodding phones down for 30 minutes. The world won't end just because you don't answer a tweet or whatever.


That's nice in principle, but something of a false dichotomy IMO; there are other uses for smartphones aside from social media, including some actual non-frivolous uses. Working in IT, it would be wonderful if clients, servers, etc, were considerate enough to never have issues that need urgent attention during the lunch hour, weekends, evenings, etc - unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way.

If anything, in that context, having a smartphone makes it possible to have more face-to-face social interaction. Given the choice between between being effectively tethered to "real" computer 8-10 hours/day, and being able to go out for lunch or take the dog for a walk during the day (at the "cost" of having to check my phone occasionally), I know which I'd prefer.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: No Denying It
by Morgan on Wed 6th Jul 2016 22:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No Denying It"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Just put the sodding phones down for 30 minutes. The world won't end just because you don't answer a tweet or whatever.


I'm reminded of the moment in the movie "Deadpool" where DP is waiting for Negasonic Teenage Warhead to finish texting, complete with her face buried in the screen and her finger in his face, before bothering to save his ass from a mutant. "Oh, no, finish your tweet. Just give us a second. There you go, hashtag it."

One could argue that, in that particular case, the world could have ended because she stopped to tweet about it. ;-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: No Denying It
by hussam on Wed 6th Jul 2016 16:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No Denying It"
hussam Member since:
2006-08-17

Right, I'm on my smartphone which brings the world at my fingertips and allows me to talk to my friends all over the world, but sure, nobody EVER talks anymore.

Typing is not talking. Sure you can voice chat but isn't going out with real life friends a much fulfilling experience?

Edited 2016-07-06 16:41 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: No Denying It
by ezraz on Wed 6th Jul 2016 18:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No Denying It"
ezraz Member since:
2012-06-20
RE[2]: No Denying It
by dionicio on Wed 6th Jul 2016 15:33 UTC in reply to "RE: No Denying It"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Was fortunate enough to belong to an age were I was 'talked' by a lot of elders. Written word is a miserable shadow of language.

Regressions far from rare events.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: No Denying It
by Morgan on Wed 6th Jul 2016 22:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No Denying It"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

That explains your nonsensical gibberish, then!

(I'm only kidding, I realize you aren't a native English speaker and you've actually improved somewhat since you first started posting here).

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: No Denying It
by dionicio on Thu 7th Jul 2016 15:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No Denying It"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Since Brexit thinking of -German? [/JokeAlert]

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: No Denying It
by Fergy on Wed 6th Jul 2016 17:14 UTC in reply to "RE: No Denying It"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Going to lunch used to be a social thing, but then you get everyone looking at their cell phones, checking email or playing games instead of conversing while waiting for food.

Before phones going to lunch meant sitting in a room eating and drinking while listing to boring people talk about their boring lives with their boring opinions.
I hate these lies about the good old days. If you want to talk you talk. If not there is always your phone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: No Denying It
by darknexus on Wed 6th Jul 2016 17:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No Denying It"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Or perhaps you don't go with those people in the first place. It's no one's fault that you don't find them interesting, and they probably find you as boring as you find them. Go find some people you don't get bored with. Your view of in-person conversation might change.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: No Denying It
by Fergy on Wed 6th Jul 2016 17:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No Denying It"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Or perhaps you don't go with those people in the first place. It's no one's fault that you don't find them interesting, and they probably find you as boring as you find them. Go find some people you don't get bored with. Your view of in-person conversation might change.

It is rare that I get the choice. The whole point of going to lunch for most people is that they have to go to school or work and so the place of lunch is fixed. Of course I would meet up with cool people to lunch of I didn't have to be anywere.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: No Denying It
by shotsman on Wed 6th Jul 2016 18:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: No Denying It"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Your definition of who is 'cool' is probably the same as others 'boring old fart'.
The thing about us humans is that we actually gain more wisdom and experience from mixing with people who have different opinions/lives/expereinces/etc/

Being with the same set of so called 'cool dudes' all the time is my idea of bloody booring.
Now I'm off to the Biker Cafe for an eveing run. The people who ride out are from a huge range of backgrounds and lives.
As the saying goes,

Variety is the spice of life.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: No Denying It
by leech on Wed 6th Jul 2016 18:49 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: No Denying It"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I completely agree with the difference between communicating and socializing. It's just different. It's like "I have 1000 friends on Facebook!" Is very much different than "I have 5 close friends that come over for poker night." Social media is almost the most anti-social thing around. "No, I'm not going to talk to you Vinnie, because Alkazar is on facebook right now and you're just over here with a beer." Again, just different and pretty much you're an asshole when you do this.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: No Denying It
by Fergy on Fri 8th Jul 2016 18:15 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: No Denying It"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Your definition of who is 'cool' is probably the same as others 'boring old fart'.
The thing about us humans is that we actually gain more wisdom and experience from mixing with people who have different opinions/lives/expereinces/etc/

Being with the same set of so called 'cool dudes' all the time is my idea of bloody booring.
Now I'm off to the Biker Cafe for an eveing run. The people who ride out are from a huge range of backgrounds and lives.
As the saying goes,

Variety is the spice of life.

I think you are assuming a lot. Where did you get I like to hang out with old or samey people? How can you not see that most people are not that interesting?

If I don't learn anything from the conversation it was boring. Talking to an old woman on the train about her adventures was interesting.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: No Denying It
by StephenBeDoper on Wed 6th Jul 2016 21:41 UTC in reply to "RE: No Denying It"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Out of the whole article one thing consistently made me realize I myself and countless others have indeed been affected by all of the modern things... spelling. My spelling has gone down the toilet, since I now mostly depend on spell check to fix things for me. It's atrocious. Otherwise you do notice, especially working in the tech industry, that people don't actually talk to each other anymore.

Going to lunch used to be a social thing, but then you get everyone looking at their cell phones, checking email or playing games instead of conversing while waiting for food.


There seems to be a lot of silliness on both sides. On the one hand, I know plenty of people who fit the description you gave: using smartphones as an electronic babysitter for adults. Personally, I think that it has a lot to do with the relative newness/novelty of the devices - I think that smartphones tend to be less mesmerizing after having had one for a few years. Geeks are just ahead of the curve, since many of us had smartphones before they became commonplace.

Then on the other hand, there's the folks who assume that all smartphone use is frivolous & and go off on trite, self-righteous "you need to be in the now" tirades if you so much as glance at an incoming EMail in their presence.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: No Denying It
by darknexus on Thu 7th Jul 2016 17:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No Denying It"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I'd argue that the majority of those who use their phones as you describe, glancing rather than being absorbed, are not the target of this article. Those people are not the annoying ones. And regarding your other post: if you ever find a way to make said servers etc constantly behave, please do share. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: No Denying It
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 8th Jul 2016 18:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No Denying It"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd argue that the majority of those who use their phones as you describe, glancing rather than being absorbed, are not the target of this article.


Probably, yeah. My point was more about the general tendency, in discussions of smartphone use, to reduce it to two extremes: people who can't go 5 minutes without checking twitter/facebook, and people who don't use smartphones at all.

Those people are not the annoying ones. And regarding your other post: if you ever find a way to make said servers etc constantly behave, please do share. ;)


Hah, I wish! The only solution I've found is to just go "Oh, server's having a problem? [Click] Okay, the server is now off, problem solved." (Un)fortunately I haven't gone far enough down the "BOFH" route to take that approach.

Reply Score: 2

RE: No Denying It
by davidiwharper on Wed 6th Jul 2016 15:06 UTC in reply to "No Denying It"
davidiwharper Member since:
2006-01-01

The 20th Century was an unqualified success!


I imagine this was tongue in cheek, but still...

Technology was I think integral to making the 20th century the bloodiest in all human history. BUT it also took humanity to the moon, lifted countless millions out of abject poverty, and (through medicine particularly) saved countless lives. So I'd propose a more balanced assessment.

Now more on the topic of the article: the more things change the more they stay the same.

Two anecdotes:

1. When the printing press was invented, a Benedictine monk complained:

They shamelessly print ... material which may, alas, inflame impressionable youths... They persist in their sick vices, setting Tibullus in type, while a young girl reads Ovid to learn sinfulness. Through printing, tender boys and gentle girls, chaste without foul stain, take in whatever mars purity of mind or body; they encourage wantonness, and swallow up huge gain for it.

Which sounds exactly like someone moralising about the Internet today.

2. In Australia at the moment there is a housing bubble in some of the major cities. The ABC recently compared press coverage of the previous monster bubble, from the 1880s, in which the reporter found "articles [from the period] that almost repeat word for word stories that we read today" (http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rearvision/how-to-spot...).

I think these anecdotes, and the article linked, review the underlying similarities in much of human thought processes. Technology has evolved faster than our general abilities to comprehend the world, and so those of us outside academia (and perhaps some within) fall back on the age old patterns when we look at what's going on in our world.

And suspicion of newness is as old as memory itself. To quote the article: "Plato, as his oral culture began to transition to a literary one, was gravely worried that writing itself would erode the memory."

Reply Score: 3

Beautiful article...
by dionicio on Wed 6th Jul 2016 14:55 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

Thanks for the link, Thom.

As witness of History easy is to say that 'things eventually settled down'. From there, tempting to say that our time problems will also. Tempting also to leave them to the times, that everything 'heals', eventually.

But things don't settle down, but get fixed by smart and diligent people. Things that aren't end at the history' bin.

Those Points and lines of the article' drawing -reproduced with kind permission of punch.co.uk- became our contemporaneous 0 & 1's. Fixed.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Beautiful article...
by dionicio on Wed 6th Jul 2016 15:07 UTC in reply to "Beautiful article..."
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

"...and a man’s capital and labour are expended less in doing anything than in persuading other people that he has done it."

Well, Roman Generals used to create History -mostly spoken at the time- of Great Battles and Heroic Postures. Costly indeed.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Beautiful article...
by dionicio on Wed 6th Jul 2016 17:33 UTC in reply to "Beautiful article..."
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Also thanks to Melissa Dickson from University of Oxford about her invitation to Converse about the very long history of tele-presence and virtualization.

Reply Score: 2

Our beloved little 'crows'...
by dionicio on Wed 6th Jul 2016 16:04 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

Bending over a little screen. Peeking here, and poking there. We are not too far, at our PC's.

Youngster are dismissing, and we are disremembering the dancing art of the conversation.

Ironic to me result the article appearing at a site called "The Conversation".

Reply Score: 2

Qoheleth Was Correct
by shollomon on Fri 8th Jul 2016 02:00 UTC
shollomon
Member since:
2008-07-06

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9

Reply Score: 1

RE: Qoheleth Was Correct
by darknexus on Fri 8th Jul 2016 17:25 UTC in reply to "Qoheleth Was Correct"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I prefer the Douglas Adams version:
* Anything that happens, happens.
* Anything which causes itself to happen again, happens again.
The difference being this one doesn't constrain thought like that book you quoted does.

Reply Score: 2