Monday, April 7, 2008

Sobering the Cyber-Generation

In Chapter 2, CyberWalden: The Online Psychology of Politics and Culture, John M. Phelan incorporates a conservative point of view into the progressive idea of cyberspace and the increasing importance of the internet's capability. Phelan states the reiterated idea that the internet may not be able to replace tangible interaction. Seeing pictures and reading about a city on the other side of the world is not the same as actually being there, and a conversation over AIM or even through video web cams using programs such as IVideoChat or Chatablanca is not the same as a conversation face to face. Phelan actually states on page 54, paragraph two, "In this broader cultural context, cyberspace can in some way be a step backwards." Although the internet has introduced an entire new culture of ways in which we can obtain information faster, or reach people easier, we must take this efficiency in context. Since the internet is such an incredible invention, that has developed more within this generation than any prior, I think our generation has formed a type of obsession with cyber-culture. As the internet continues to grow, specifically through channels which allow anyone who can get online to contribute (Wikipedia being an obvious example), our generation continually builds upon this idea that our we have helped to contribute to the boom of what is possibly the most extensive technological advancement ever. Being the first generation to be effected by the internet, as well as foster its growth, there is a astronomical idea that we are the first generation to recognize the human "need" for digital interaction over the internet. I agree with the comments from John Phelan in this chapter which look to sober the obsession that our generation tends to accumulate with the excitement of the internet's growing capabilities. Cyber-culture and the internet have proven to be a cutting edge way to access information, interact with people, and even complete menial tasks (such as banking or paying bills), but this does not mean that the creation of the internet has created a human need for its capabilities. The internet is a tool, not a necessity, and the effects of the internet on a society which aims to expand online capability towards the idea of Universal Service will reflect this. The effects of an incredible technology on our society will not supersede the effects of issues in our society which actually do constitute human needs. While we are worrying about how porn on the internet is going to effect the sexual decorum of our children, people living in the physical world are dealing with starving poor living in inner-city slums, and natural disasters which might point towards global warming. We must look at the internet as a tool to help us solve issues in the world which actually effect our human realm of necessities, rather than obsessing over our adaptation to the technological capabilities of the internet and the resulting effects.

1 comment:

Lance Strate said...

I agree that one of the really interesting things to look at is the interface between cyberspace and real space, and the potential of interactive media to help solve the real problems that plague the world.