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Technopolies, the Mother Of All Blog Prompts

I don’t think I’ve ever thought so deeply about technology and its effects on our culture and perceptions of everyday life, as I have after reading Neil Postman’s reading. I now have a view of our modern culture that seems to reflect a near Technopoly state. Unlike tool using cultures, where the tools and technology do not deeply affect traditions and values of the society, and unlike technocracies where technology does deeply affect the cultural and moral values; I believe we are approaching a state of Technopoly, in where technology and tools not only affect are life but control it so that we look to them to authorize and affirm our very existence. Technology has left the realm of being something we use to make our lives easier, to the realm of controlling and mandating how our lives are lived. This can be seen in many ways in technologies such as the telephone and email. There was a time when leaving the house meant that you couldn’t be reached by phone. There was a device called an “answering machine? that kept messages of missed calls. With the invention of the cell phone, people could be reached anywhere they had reception, which not only made the answering machine nearly irrelevant, but also made home phones less useful. With the advent of email and text messaging, people talked on their home computers. People then realized that if they wanted to leave their house, they would miss these important conversations. The new solution: The Blackberry and cell phone text messages.

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Another good example of technology running our lives is the international stock exchange. The NASDAQ stock exchange is not a physical place; it is a computer program that controls peoples transactions of technology stocks. What if this system was to some day crash, or be infected with a computer virus? How would anybody know their amount of stock shares? The buying and selling of futures and bonds is another non-tangible item bought and sold on Wall Street. The value of these bonds is assessed in an immensely complex computer model and valued accordingly. Traders just assume these values are correct and use these values in their own transactions. Technology is mandating their business, giving them information that they just assume to be correct, and therefore technology is controlling their life which is the definition of a Technopoly.

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I believe that if our culture doesn’t change its way soon, that we may face a crisis someday if all of our wonderful technology fails us. We no longer have the skills to live as a species without technology and therefore we are living in technologies stead. And someday technology may just fail us, and then we are really in trouble.

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