In late 2014, when some counties in Georgia claiming to be “early adapters of technology” started the “BYOD – Bring your own device” program in their schools, it gave me a pit in my stomach. Children were welcome to bring their own iPads and tablets to learn in classroom environments. Are elementary school children equipped to handle super computers at their fingertips?

The corporate world is already reaping the side affects of the BYOD movement, where employees are allowed to bring their own devices, because it meant companies could save on the hardware and software maintenance of the devices. But, as a result, computer desks are seen littered with iPads where employees day trade and follow their cats on cat cameras in their homes. But, that’s the nature of the world we live, with the necessary evil – Technology.

Below is how Technology has been making waves over the past few years.

 

On Internet:  

When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning.
~ Nicholas Carr.

How the FANG Playbook, Facebook-Amazon-Netflix-Google Playbook works: None of the FANG companies created what most considered the most valuable pieces of their respective ecosystems; they simply made those pieces easier for consumers to access, so consumers increasingly discovered said pieces via the FANG home pages. And, given that Internet made distribution free, that meant the FANG companies were well on their way to having far more power and monetization potential than anyone realized… By owning the consumer entry point — the primary choke point — in each of their respective industries the FANG companies have been able to modularize and commoditize their suppliers, whether those be publishers, merchants and suppliers, content producers, or basically anyone who needs to be found on the Internet.
~ The IT era and the Internet Revolution by Ben Thompson

Once a new tecznology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.
~ Stewart Brand

The 21st century is about the management of all the knowledge and information we have generated and the value addition that we can bring to it.
~ APJ Abdul Kalam

The other day, a newspaper writer joined the chorus of angry voices about the bad effects of new technology. “There can be no rational doubt that [it] has caused vast injury.” It is “superficial, sudden, unsifted, too fast for the truth.” The day was in 1858, and the quote was about the telegraph. Similarly, the telephone, radio and television have each in turn been seen as a source of doom.
~ No, Your Children Aren’t Becoming Digital Zombies on WSJ

“What George Orwell prophesied in ‘1984,’ where technology was being used to monitor, control, dictate, or what Aldous Huxley imagined we may do just by distracting ourselves without any meaning or purpose — neither of these futures is something that we want.”
~ Satya Nadella on underscoring the issues of responsibility of those creating new technologies.

 

Silicon Valley Hierarchy of Needs

 

Our Modern Lives: 

The splendor of the world begins with the fragility of a lone woman.
~ An anonymous commentator about Océane, a 19 year old French girl who committed suicide while streaming it live on the Periscope app. 

If you’re single, struggling to reconcile the distance that the Internet somehow both creates and closes between potential partners, how better to avoid the social awkwardness of face-to-face interactions and assuage the fear of rejection than by sliding into some hot girl’s DMs, comfortable in the illusion of a personal conversation without actually having one? Perhaps young people are putting off sex in increasing numbers because they’re afraid that when the moment of intimacy actually arrives, they won’t know how to act. Not that the movements won’t come naturally, but that the accompanying emotional vulnerability we assume is supposed to exist will never arise afterward. Since 2008’s economic decline, Millennials have found that delaying most aspects of adulthood is in their best interest. Goldman Sachs reported that so far in the 2010s, the median age for marriage is 30 – seven years later than in the 1970s. In 2012, a very meager 23 percent of 18- to 31-year-olds were married and living in their own households. For the first time in more than 130 years, adults aged 18 to 34 are more likely to live with their parents than with a partner. Overall, Millennials are pushing back the age of adulthood, usually as a reaction to our environment – the difficult-to-crack job market, and the ever-rising cost of rent. Sex is just another step toward becoming an adult that Millennials are avoiding.
~ Inside the Awkward World of Millennial Dating on Rolling Stone.

Austin Gilkeson and his family received an Echo this past Christmas. They became immediately attached to it. They use it to play music, check the weather and field basic questions. Though the novelty of the device has faded, it’s become a daily part of their lives. The Gilkesons aren’t the only ones. There are nearly 54,000 reviews of the Echo on Amazon. Most of them overwhelmingly positive, and most focus not on the device, but instead on Alexa. The current top-rated comment mentions how Alexa is not just the perfect companion but the “perfect spouse.” When reached out for further elaboration on this comment, the commenter did not respond, but the core sentiment it suggests, that “If [he] knew relationships were this easy, [he] would have married thirty years ago, but now that I have Alexa, there’s no need” was deemed “helpful” by over 46,000 people.
~ Can Amazon’s Alexa Be Your Friend? by Aaron Paul Calvin

I tweet, I post, I blog, therefore I am.
~ Dr. Mark Federman

The internet is a F*ing miracle. Its a F*ing miracle. The things that you could be doing with it, the fact that you can be laying F*ing naked in your bed at 2am in the morning and doing productive sh*t is F*ing crazy. Its crazy.
~ Gary Vaynerchuk

“I’ve always wanted Americans to see what’s happening to their country from the comfort of their suburban homes and their smart phones,” Lawless, who lives in Cleveland, told CNNMoney. “I want people to see the beginning of the end of the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen: America.” “Their communal space is social media,” he said. “They don’t need to go to a mall where they can walk around, meet with people. There’s no need for that large enclosed space.”
~ On the death of mall culture in Autopsy of America: The Death of a Nation by Seph Lawless.

Going out for dinner, calling your mom or going to a party used to be about talking to people, about conversation. But during the last ten years something has shifted. Instead of talking about the food, we post a picture of it online; instead of calling our mother, we send her an email updating her on our lives; and at the party we’re busy showing other people YouTube clips and messaging with friends at a bar instead of talking to other people there. In short, face-to-face conversation is nowhere to be found.
~ Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle

On Social Media: 

‘I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mis-truth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.’
~ Chamath Palihapitiya, Former VP of Facebook

SnapChat, Instagram and Facebook are venues for group signaling. Signaling goods signal status and affiliation to other “like minded” monkeys. Signaling goods can be physical – handbags, watches and fancy cars. They can be virtual – political, religious, and tribal affiliations. Social media makes it easier to signal wealth via conspicuous consumption of goods like food, travel and clothing. Editorial outrage is a signaling good. News outlets have switched from facts to opinions and outrage. Social media has degenerated into a deafening cacophony of groups signaling and repeating their shared myths.
~ Naval Ravikant

Facebook literally changes your relationship with society, with each other. It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains. It’s a social-validation feedback loop… exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators … understood this consciously, and we did it anyway.
~ Sean Parker, Facebook’s first president

How we use social media and how we decide to use social media is the key. Social media is a blank canvas and we’re the ones painting it. If we don’t like what we see on it, I challenge you to change what you put on social media. Because you’re the ones filling it with content.
~ Cliff Lampe

On Children: 

Nearly one in twelve 13 year olds are afraid that they’re addicted to porn. Why? Because they can’t stop thinking about it. They can’t stop thinking about searching for a new video, watching a new experience, seeing something that they haven’t seen before. They’re looking for more and they’re looking for different. They can’t help it, because that’s how brains work.
~ On porn addiction in teens by Ben Halpert

What’s wrong with multitasking?
If teens are, on average, spending nine hours a day consuming media, it’s not such a surprise they’re often doing it while doing their homework. Half of teens say they “often” or “sometimes” use social media or watch TV while doing their homework. Some 60% say they text and more than 75% say they listen to music while working on schoolwork at home. And of the kids who multitask, most don’t think it effects the quality of their work. Nearly two-thirds say watching TV or texting makes no difference and more than 50% feel the same way when it comes to social media. “Teenagers think that multitasking during homework doesn’t affect their ability to learn and … we know it does,” said Steyer, citing studies such as one at Stanford, which found dramatic differences in cognitive control and the ability to process information between heavy media multitaskers and light media multitaskers. “It’s completely obvious that you can’t multitask and be as effective and competent.”
~ Teens spend a ‘mind-boggling’ 9 hours a day using media, report says on CNN.

What we’re actually doing is creating an entire generation of mini little addicts that are getting hardwired to believe that their sense of self worth and their sense of coping comes from a device and not from another human being.
~ On device addiction in adolescents by Simon Sinek.

On Distraction: 

There’s been a lot of attention devoted to how technology is scattering our attention and corroding our relationships, but less to how it’s impairing our capacity for solitude. We’re so overstimulated that being alone has become unbearable—a fact that was highlighted in a series of studies from 2014, where people preferred giving themselves electric shocks rather than sitting still alone in a room for 6 to 15 minutes. In the lab, we shock ourselves; in real life, we reach for our phones in a lecture hall, in line—even when we’re driving.
~ Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters.

If you’re driving 55 miles an hour, and look down at your phone for 5 seconds, you’ve just now driven the length of an entire football field completely blind.
~ Allison Graham

There are 4 major repercussions of over use of technology.
1. Increase in anxiety.
2. Decrease in our ability to attend and focus for extended periods of time.
3. Boredom.
4. New found ability to be unable to talk to anyone face to face.
~ Dr. Larry Rosen, The Distracted mind: Ancient brains in a high-tech world.

On Productivity: 

Here’s a digital curation strategy: Actively seek out and enthusiastically embrace technologies that provide core value. Be selective about technologies that provide you minor value and place boundaries around how and when you use them. Avoid technologies that can only provide you invented value (your life is too important to be a gadget in some random start-up’s growth plan).
~ On Value and Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

The productivity paradox: People are worried about robots taking jobs. Driverless cars are around the corner. Restaurants and shops increasingly carry the option to order by touchscreen. Google’s clever algorithms provide instant translations that are remarkably good. But the economy does not feel like one undergoing a technology-driven productivity boom. In the late 1990s, tech optimism was everywhere. At the same time, wages and productivity were rocketing upward. The situation now is completely different. The most recent jobs reports in America and Britain tell the tale. Employment is growing, month after month after month. But wage growth is abysmal. So is productivity growth: not surprising in economies where there are lots of people on the job working for low pay. Continued high levels of employment with weak growth in wages and productivity is not evidence of disappointing technological progress; it is what you’d expect to see if technological progress were occurring rapidly in a world where thin safety nets mean that dropping out of the labour force leads to a life of poverty.
~ Ryan Avent

On Addiction: 

According to neuroscientist Claire Gillian of Cambridge University, behaviors can stimulate the same areas of the brain that drugs like heroin and cocaine stimulate – and this includes many behaviors that take place online, such as playing video games, engaging in sex chats and gambling. In all of these circumstances, the neurotransmitter dopamine is released in the brain, which in turn sets off a feeling of intense pleasure. But this initial pleasure gradually decreases when the behavior is repeated. This causes people to make the addiction worse by spending more and more time online, in a futile attempt to recapture that first great dopamine high.
~ From Irresistible by Adam Alter

Men are more susceptible to compulsive behavior with online/video gaming, cyberporn and online gambling, while women are more likely to become addicted to sexting, texting, social media, eBay and online shopping.
~ On technology addiction by Dr. Kimberly Young

Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.
~ Bill Gates

“I don’t think any man or woman on his or her deathbed ever wished he or she had spent more time sending IMs or playing online poker, either. But hell, I could be wrong,”
~ Stephen King.

 

In 2012: 

In one study from Anxiety UK, 45 percent of people felt worried or uncomfortable as a result of not being able to access their social networks or email. And nomophobia—fear of being without a mobile phone—affects over 66 percent of the population, according to 2012 findings.

In 2013:

“Now, that said, there are certainly times to switch our phones to vibrate, put them in our pockets or in another room, and just enjoy the people we’re with. Most of us kind of know this in our gut: a 2013 survey found that 76 percent of Americans think phones at the table are inappropriate. What’s more, some restaurants hate the trend of constantly pulling out technology during a meal and will go to surprising lengths to get us to put them away—asking customers to stow phones in a box during the meal or offering deep discounts for those who can unplug. One Georgia Chick-fil-A restaurant challenged its customers to keep their phones in a “Cell Phone Coop” on the table throughout the meal. If they can successfully leave it there, they’ll get a free ice cream.”

In 2014:

The average American spent 444 minutes per day—nearly 7. 5 hours—in front of a screen, be it a smart phone, tablet, television, or personal computer. That’s higher than the numbers in most European countries, where people spend “only” 5 to 7 hours per day with screens, yet it’s not nearly enough to put the United States in the top five nations: China, Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines, and, in first place, Indonesia, where people spend 9 hours per day staring at a screen. The American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that, the average American adult spent four times longer watching television than “socializing and communicating,” and 20 times longer on TV than on “religious and spiritual activities.” The survey did not ask about hours surfing the web, but we can imagine a similar disparity.

In 2015:

Over 200 billion emails were sent each day. That translates to 28 emails per person. Prior to the advent of our modern technical age, when was the last time someone mailed 28 letters out each and every day? Or even ten letters for that matter. Heck, even one. This is where we’ve found ourselves now, and it’s a vastly different cultural landscape. Of course, it doesn’t end there. Emails are just one component of our 21st century tech-fueled writing-based lives. There are an estimated 190 million active blogs online. Eight trillion texts are sent each year. To boot, literally all social media platforms require users to engage in some form of writing. Heck, even the knuckle-dragging ignoramuses trolling YouTube comments sectionsare, in the most charitable definition of the term, ‘writers.’
~ Technology Has Turned Us Into a Nation of Writers, Huffington Post

In 2016:

This is how we balanced work and home:
Integrators: Work and home blend.
Separators: Clear line between work and personal life. Very low tech at home.
The Fusion lover: Almost completely mix work with personal life.
The Cycler: Switches between integrating and separating work and home.

In 2017:

It was predicted that e-books would overtake the paper book, that they would become the totality of publishing. In 2010, the founder of MIT Media Lab, Nicholas Negroponte, was precise about the hour that paper would perish. “It’s happening in 5 years.” Well, doomsday has come and gone. Paper books have held their ground, and e-book sales have failed to accumulate at their predicted pace. Actually, they have plummeted. In 2015, e-book revenue dropped by 11 percent, while brick-and-mortar bookstore revenue increased by nearly 2 percent. My turn away from the Kindle wasn’t an idiosyncrasy, but part of a widespread tendency. My hunch is that a good portion of the reading public wants an escape from the intense flow of the Internet; they want silent reading, private contemplation—and there’s a nagging sense that paper, and only paper, can induce such a state. The popular gravitation back to the page—not the metaphorical page, but the fibrous thing you can rub between your fingers—is a gravitation back to fundamental lessons from the history of reading.
~ World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech. Used with permission of Penguin Press. Copyright 2017 by Franklin Foer.

In 2018: 

Something very harmful and maybe irreversible is happening to human attention in our digital age. Not just distraction or addiction; social media companies are inducing people to give up their autonomy. The power to shape people’s attention is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies. It takes a real effort to assert and defend what John Stuart Mill called “the freedom of mind.” There is a possibility that once lost, people who grow up in the digital age will have difficulty in regaining it. This may have far-reaching political consequences. People without the freedom of mind can be easily manipulated. This danger does not loom only in the future; it already played an important role in the 2016 US presidential elections.
~ George Soros at at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Jan, 2018

 

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