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My Thoughts On Technology Vs. Humanity
First things first... what is technology?
In order to start things out right (at least in my thought patterns), I thought it would be good to break things down a bit first. So let's go over what technology is, because I feel that it is confused a lot by our modern era.
Technology can be anything as simple as the spoken word, or it can be as complex as a tiny laser used to repair the human eye. Technology is essentially anything that is used to further our goals and I would consider it to be any tool that is not already attached to our bodies. Since the dawn of human existence, we have been creating "technology" or tools to help us get further and further in life. This includes electronics, medicines and money. Without many of these things, we would not be the species we are today.
What is humanity?
There are really only two things that separate humans from the rest of the species on this earth. It's the Thumb and the ability to continually Learn. These two unique qualities allow us to create for more than just necessity, which is what defines our consciousness, which I would define as our humanity. A fox creates a den and babies, those are the only things it truly creates. It needs a den for protection of itself and it's babies, and it needs babies so that it's species can survive. It doesn't create sculptures of other foxes so that future foxes will know about the history of foxdom. So far, the highest capacity we've seen for learning in animals, is the ability to learn where food, water, shelter and predators are. Other than that, they don't appear to have any desire to learn more. They don't read books or write dissertations. They learn what they need to know to survive and that's about it. Whereas humans want to know more. In fact, we have very little preoccupation with what's necessary because of our ability to create. We've created an environment where food, shelter and water are easy to get and predators are virtually non-existent outside of our own species. So we seek out knowledge, we expand our consciousness and create on a daily basis.
Now, I do not believe that other anmials, mammals and reptiles are not conscious or don't have the ability to have what we define as humanity, we just haven't found any evidence that they are conscious in the same that humans are. They are conscious of their surroundings, their bodily needs, their safety, their young, their prey and their predators. They don't appear to be conscious of the political needs of Ethiopia or the humanitarian needs of Fukushima. Human's on the other hand, can define humanity as a unique trait because we are able to be conscious of things that are not directly around us or that are not direct necessities for us.
Other primates have thumbs, giving them a unique edge in being able to use tools more adeptly, and through many experiments many other types of primates have proven that they will create things out of want instead of necessity, though this doesn't seem to happen often or without prompting. They may have thumbs, but they appear to be lacking that "human consciousness" that would give them a desire to be conscious of the world outside of their own surroundings. It's just not necessary to them, which could be a sign of how fickle our species is or simply that other primates have not yet evolved to our level but are almost there. Though this is an example about what I mean about having a consciousness AND thumbs at the same time. You can have thumbs, but that doesn't make you human. You can have consciousness, but alone, that doesn't give you humanity. It's the combination of thumbs that allow us to create and a consciousness that gives us the desire to create - that defines our humanity.
To expand a little, "humanity" is our ability to be human. It is what we consider to separate us from any other creature on this earth. In my perspective, having "humanity" means having a level of compassion, empathy and wisdom that exceeds necessity. It means being able to continually learn, evolve, connect and grow. To never cease to become more to connect more and understand more about everything around us. In order to be able to do these things, as a species we have become very 'social', which means we depend on each other in order to be human and have "humanity". It is part of how our species evolves,
The big controversy is the basis of this hub, as many people feel that the advent of such things as Social Marketing, Online Shopping and other technological luxuries have made us less human because we don't interact with real people as often as we used to. And looking on at things from the view point that people used to know every neighbor within a 1 mile radius of their home, be on a first name basis with their local butcher and grocer, get their haircut from the same barber who'd been their for 20 years and know all their kids teachers - I can understand this view point.
Others feel that the internet has actually made us more social then we previously were, just in a less physical way. Hence the 'controversy' part.
Technology Vs. Humanity
When it comes to the controversy of Man Vs. Tech, I personally don't feel that we are losing our humanity anymore than we are losing our thumbs. Instead, I feel that technology is more an extension of ourselves. It is the product of our dreams come to reality in some amazing ways. Everything from weapons to computers to social networking.
Though I will add in that many of these tools are easily just as dangerous as they are helpful and have the potential to help our species become more than it ever has, or cease to exist period. It simply depends on what ways we each individually choose to use technology. It can't replace everything that we do, but it can certainly enhance our experiences in many ways.
Take social networking for example, with something as simple as a birthday. Without social networking, you might only ever hear a few "happy birthdays" muttered from your close family and friends, but with social networks more people are reminded it's your birthday and they remember to come and appreciate you on your special day. When compared to the old form of hand writing letters then mailing them to people, social networking has made communicating vastly easier. Family that live thousands of miles away, can be talked to with the few clicks of a keyboard. Jobs can be found with the click of a mouse. Both good and bad news can be received almost faster than the speed of light.
I would dare to venture that technology has actually made us more social creatures, even if it doesn't require as much of a physical presence as it used to.
Humanity AND Technology
Personally, I don't feel it should be "man vs. tech", I feel it should be "man AND tech". I feel that we should look at what ways technology can continue to revolutionize our connections with each other. We should focus on how to use technology to bring more people together for the needs and advancement of our species.