Are You Being Controlled?

I wake up in the morning to the sound of the radio blaring out of tiny holes in my alarm clock. Rihanna is singing about her umbrella. When I turn it off, I cannot help but lie back down in bed and nuzzle under my sheets. Until soon after, the alarm on my phone goes off. The sound of which I cannot ignore. Both of these are examples of technology that people rely on in everyday life. They help me get out of bed in the morning, they tell me the time and it would be rather difficult to get to school without them. In Chapter 4 of Culture and Technology: A Primer, Slack and Wise discuss the topic of technology and the control it can have over society. They start off with the example of Frankenstein and the monster that he created in the very popular 19th century fable. Frankenstein’s monster is used as an example of technology controlling its master, when the inventor intended it to be the other way around. People rely on technology for everything, I cannot seem to start my day without it, so is it true to say that we are being controlled by the things we create?

Although the example of my cell-phone and alarm clock can also be used as an example of how technology creates convenience, there are other forms of technology which only seem to exist as a means of control. “…technologies change how humans perceive and interact with the world; in many ways, this changes humans themselves.” This from page 52 of Culture and Technology: A Primer, brings me to the example of media and how it works as a means of communication but how it very much changes people and the way they behave. Not everyone pays attention to media and television but a large majority of young people do. And these young people are being shown how to dress, act and live through the many media outlets that surround us. Technology has allowed for magazines, television shows and advertisements to become a prime example for society and it has changed the way that people live. An example that Slack and Wise use is how violent video games and television may lead to an increase in aggressive behaviour in children. But if the technology didn’t exist to show kids this sort of violence, then they would not have to worry about becoming more violent as a result of watching them. Technology surrounds us and it is true that much of it allows the world to work more smoothly but it can also be said that it is controlling and with media being used as an example, it seems alarmingly true. So considering that technology allows for media to send out messages that alter the way people behave, we must also consider that technology can control us if we let it.

By Ruby Flynn



Filed under Postion Paper

3 responses to “Are You Being Controlled?

  1. S Jobs

    Technology is not some mysterious thing that comes from the heavens. “Technology and it’s control over society”, is misleading I believe, since technology is created by humans, then it is really “certain humans and their control over society”. Perhaps it is our willingness to let large companies patent and control the technology we have become so dependent on that is the real issue at hand.

    As for the comment “if the technology didn’t exist to show kids this sort of violence, then they would not have to worry about becoming more violent”, I think is a bit naive. Violent video games are an easy target, but if you dig deeper and look at the statistics the argument starts to fall apart. If you want to see violence and it’s toll on children look no further than sports. Kids are encouraged to participate in real world violence everyday in the form of aggressive sports at school. Between 1931 and 2007, 665 kids died in the USA as a result of playing football. That is violence encouraged by schools and adults on children. The young men who flew planes into the World Trade Centre were not hard core violent video gamers.

    Technology is simply a tool used by the elite or small groups of people to further their control on large masses of people. To me the nature in which technology is being discussed here is no different than the control the bible has had over people. Both achieve the same effect, and both were tools created by humans.

    Are we controlled by the things we create. No. We are controlled by other people who know how to sell us convince in exchange for control in the form of market domination(Apple) and/or digital rights management.

  2. One of the most annoying things technology is doing for the next generation is corrupt their ability to communicate face to face – I agree with S. Jobs on the point about video game violence and media influencing what we wear, and listen to, political support, etc. that is down to the people behind the media. Where technology itself is disrupting the core values of humanity is in its ability to create a lack of care in young people. To encourage a generation that cannot communicate emotionally, physically one to one without the aid of mobile phones, or the dreaded face-book (Which is obviously used as another media influencing tool). That is what I find scariest. It’s not even this generation. The fact that my Dad has spent more time on his phone since I’ve been alive than with any of his family. My 12 year old nephew when banned from facebook, went from falling behind to straight A’s and is maturing, and exploring the world more. But when he was on it, he spent all his time frustrated, up until 2am most nights (secretly) and ultimately brainless, when he is probably the brightest kid I know. But he hasn’t lived in a world without MSN’s or Facebook and he can barely remember life without youtube. What will our children be like in fifty years time. I may be overreacting, but the thought scares me. If we stop communicating with each-other on a human level, human touch and senses and essentially become more robotic, then how much will our children care about others and will they be less emotionally inclined about certain issues and other people… reminds me of ‘Children of the Damned’. Now that’s scary.

  3. jofelson abracia

    if we remove technology in the world and think what would be the world without it, it’s quite boring. technology is what keeps you and me alive today. without it, we humans might not exist. but due to our “brilliance” we can’t stop technology because we need it. it is part of the world’s growth, which does not need an anticipation. everything changes, you can’t change that. there is no controlling happening. i do rather choose the term “rely”. cause, technology does not interfere our decisions, we still make our decisions. it’s just technology is making it easier for us to do so.

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