2012: Technology vs. Socializing and Intelligence

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posted on Nov, 26 2012 @ 12:15 AM
I have been doing some reading on different time periods in order to get a feeling for what different decades were like before the 1920's. I'm working on the late 1800's now, so I don't know much -

But I do know a few things. Reading books from the 1800's made me realize that they are very well thought-out and often much more dense with ideas and references to events at the time than books we read these days.

I read a preface to The Communist Manifesto written in 1880's by Engels, and they were distributing that thing to the factory workers. Marx thought that the factory workers back then would hold conversations about his philosophy while socializing, and he was right. It is true that kind of dialogue is held here on ATS - and thank goodness, for there is no where else I can find to participate in it.

But that is different than holding those kinds of conversations in person... and could you find a random co-worker these days willing to discuss something like advanced political philosophy?

I just recently read an editorial by someone who described how, when he had to do his fiction writing on a typewriter, he had to think of the story in his head ahead of time.

I think this processing of ideas in the mind is an essential part of higher thinking - people these days tell me just to start writing, and see where it goes - well, my personal opinion is that it is not as thought-out if you do that.

The next point I am going to make has to do with socializing, and it started happening around 2001 but got worse once Facebook was invented in 2005 and people started using the internet and losing their attention spans, and ultimately, at least some of their ability to use higher level thinking skills.

This also resulted in is people becoming acquaintances and meaningful friendships or relationships disappearing over time. . Here is one article from Psychology Today to read: The Effect of Technology on Relationships

This has been accelerating. I remember in 2008, it was getting harder to get people to plan ahead because they were always doing things in the moment. Back then, though, there were time periods where a bunch of my friends would get together and hang out doing our own thing.

This is best described in this video JiggerJ was kind enough to share with me:

One thing I notice the most about this, which is described in JiggerJ's video, is the fact that people don't have to listen to you if you text or IM them - this means that pretty much everyone will experience being rejected at some point while trying to communicate, and as this goes on over time, they could lose the ability to communicate effectively, or the willpower to.

And, since I recently added dating sites to my limited list of "Things I Don't Like" I would like to toss this out there - don't use them. This has nothing to do with bitterness towards females, but research by OkCupid suggests that girls are getting up to 100's of messages to their inbox every week, while guys may not even see a reply for a year or more. I have also found that with ready access to guys, girls who you find on a dating website may easily stop talking to you and start talking to someone else, etc. etc. etc. cycle cycle cycle.

But I must stop with that somewhat irrelevant tangent and get on with the point. Now most of my friends are only willing to talk for about 60 seconds or less on the phone at a time, or send two words of text per day, that kind of thing. They are not willing to commit to conversations longer than 2 word text messages, a few sentences of IM, or meeting to hang out in-person at all.

That doesn't seem sustainable. In fact, it is possible that with each new generation of youth the human race will find ways to adapt technology to its own desires - something that in the past was thought to be working out in the opposite manner.

My main point is, what if the end of 2012 is like a singularity - with maximum technology and minimum intelligence / social interaction? In the next cycle, we could learn more about ourselves, others, interactions and spirituality than traditional science. In addition, we might start dealing with issues where science has gotten out of control, like side-effects of medicines, genetically modified foods, etc.

I had a dream once, where I was in the year 3,000 and tribes of people lived in abandoned cities that had become over-run by forests. Maybe 2012 marks the year that we start to see increases in socializing and decreases in technology?

This is wishful thinking, I know. But if technology increases, frankly, I don't give a damn. I would rather see relationships and thinking skills improve.

One thing I am going to do about it in my own life is start spending less time online and see if I can't find more people to hang out with in person. I am going to attempt to start re-developing social skills and higher-level thinking skills I have lost, and hopefully come out okay. Possibly by doing this, I will attract people of a similar nature.*

Lots of stuff to think about.

Disclaimer: A lot of what I say is from my personal viewpoint, which could be biased by my surroundings and situation.

*I believe that is a good principle to follow - if you want something in someone else, find it in yourself. It has its roots in psychology, in fact - all of this complaining I am doing about other people's behavior might, and probably is, a projection of my own faults onto others. With exclusion to the dating site thing - that is supported by empirical research, and don't use those. Ick.
edit on 26-11-2012 by darkbake because: (no reason given)
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posted on Nov, 26 2012 @ 12:33 AM
The "dumbing down" of today's society has more to do with everyone buying in to the idea that they are surrounded by idiots, when oftentimes it's just not true

People still go out and socialize and discuss complex and challenging topics with friends and family. They also read stimulating and informative nonfiction - don't buy in to the "everyone is on Facebook and can't think their way out of a paper bag" BS.

edit on 26-11-2012 by Hawking because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 26 2012 @ 12:41 AM
Yes it is a changing dynamic but you should not plonk it all on technology.

For over half a century I have watched as extended family shrunk to the stage where few even like their families. People used to know their neighbors and even like some of them. Children would play with others and the parents would know each other. Police would wave and be as polite as.

Teachers would like their jobs and love their pupils, some more than others. These days they can not even physically touch an injured 5 year old.

People serving in shops knew what they sold and gave advice. These days you are bloody lucky if they point in an approximate direction.

AS a kid I didn't need a sign on a house to tell me it was a safe house. I could knock on a door and just ask.

Life as we know it has changed, it has changed dramatically and for the worst. It was never perfect, always had problems, many were swept under the carpet.

But now we are so insulated from each other, brrrr time to change. We could use a massive EMP right about now.

edit on 26/11/2012 by pheonix358 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 26 2012 @ 01:02 AM
reply to post by darkbake

Hey darkbake,

That was a really well written and intriguing post, I think that your approach to navigating the future is a really positive one and I share a lot of your sentiments.

Strangely, my generation sort of straddles the past when there was not, and the present where there is all pervasive digital technology. I am cognizant, for instance, of how silly young people-bots look as they are careening around trying to walk and use the smart-phone at the same time. Personally, I pull over.

Anyhow, I think I had a very concentrated experience of what you are talking about while playing a game that I love called Dwarf Fortress. It is an RTS and if you have not played it I highly suggest that you give it a try.

The game is well known for having a tough learning curve, but most notably, the entire thing is rendered in ASCII..

What I find interesting in the case of DF is that although it is not necessarily an example of going from being 'tech-saturated to going 'off-the-grid', the graphics are stunningly low-tech, by today's or even maybe 1997's standards, enough that some interesting changes in cognition take place.

This is from a really good article on the game...

The Brilliance of Dwarf Fortress

The game’s unofficial slogan, recited on message boards, is “Losing is fun!” Dwarf Fortress’s unique difficulty begins with its most striking feature: The way it looks. In an industry obsessed with pushing the frontiers of visual awe, Dwarf Fortress is a defiant throwback, its interface a dense tapestry of letters, numbers and crude glyphs you might have seen in a computer game around 1980.

A normal person looks at ♠§dg and sees gibberish, but the Dwarf Fortress initiate sees a tense tableau: a dog leashed to a tree, about to be mauled by a goblin.

Though it may seem ungainly at first, the game’s interface — rendered in what are known as extended ASCII characters — has a sparse elegance. As seasons change, trees, represented by various symbols, shift from green to yellow. Goblins’ eyes appear as red quotation marks; if you shoot out an eye with an arrow, the symbol becomes an apostrophe.

On a message board, one fan likened the ASCII experience in Dwarf Fortress to the immersive pleasures of reading a book: “You can let your imagination fill in the gaps.”

I have had the same experience, due to the ASCII, my mind goes in to overdrive, creatively filling in all the visual blanks. It has been a very rewarding experience, I don't get to play much anymore, but it started me to thinking along the same paths as you have.

So, I suspect that the tech will become less and less ubiquitous as societies get a handle on how they want to live with it.

In the meantime it's gonna be, I think just like the sloppy old wild-west; a bunch of new technology dumped on a stunned populace caught in the tumult of those trying to control it. Good stuff, the future is bright.
edit on 26-11-2012 by Xoanon because:

posted on Nov, 26 2012 @ 01:19 AM
reply to post by Xoanon

I am seriously going to have to try that game out! And cool discussion. There was definitely a time period during my stay at college where Facebook seemed to be dumbing people down, but these days, I have seen numerous friends delete their profiles.
edit on 26-11-2012 by darkbake because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 26 2012 @ 02:57 AM

Whether he actually said that or not doesn't really matter; I tend to agree with it regardless. Most people only really interact via Facebook (as you said) and Twitter, and those are full of so much vapidness that I feel like Dr. Farnsworth: not wanting to live on this planet anymore.

I feel sorry for much of the current generation, plopped into a world of smart phones and other very convenient technology. They are pretty useless, to put it harshly.

Facebook especially is a breeding ground for the herd mentality (where critical thought is neglected): What's the latest cultural and technological fad? Lets all plop onto it like pigs in mud. YOLO, #SWAG.

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