November 29, 2020

Editorial: Technocratic world

Technology is a blessing. And our generation, the young and new, will forever be known as the technology generation. The eldest of us pioneered websites and features now commonplace. Music downloading, streaming video and social networking all manifested from the minds of these young men and women.
But our technology, like an Achilles’ heel, can insulate and isolate us. It can educate as well as brainwash. It can save lives. It can end them. The world is smaller, but more complex. Technology is instant, which means information is instant. When a candidate for president makes a gaffe in Iowa, papers in Beijing publish the moment.
Political and corporate movements have begun utilizing technology in a remarkable fashion. That is to say, it is remarkable the information generation could be duped by the information age.
Twitter might bring thoughts together from all over the world, but it also further condenses complex information into 140 characters. Facebook has nearly 1 billion users, and it seems all they want to discuss are movies and classes.
Rather than creating the smartest, most “jacked-in” generation, technology bred ignorance and insulation. We carefully comb the online world, weeding out any information that is boring or non-celebrity related.
Our young people read less, text more and have stopped memorizing important names and dates. We can find celebrity weddings and bikini photos but show no interest in government, history or art.
We’ve seen presidential debates take questions from Twitter, newscasters following Facebook feeds and LinkedIn chats with politicians. President Obama, forgoing a weekly radio address, issues weekly YouTube videos, along with any serious corporate or political force — he has a monstrous online operation, condensing an entire candidacy into a few web pages for your convenience.
But while conquering the problem of distribution of information, we’ve adopted the problem of oversimplifying information. Everyone can read about Israel or Watergate, but are they getting the facts? Everyone has an opinion, but are they based in reality?
Our increasingly simple message for increasingly complex issues is not worthy of us. It is not worthy of the country that pioneered so much in the fight for individual liberty. It is not worthy of a society with some of the best technology access in the world. It is not worthy of a society that has so-often done better. The greatest arguments and obstacles in the world never have clear, simple answers.
They require thought, patience,  diligence and dare we say, meditation. We should demand more complexity and less complacency. We should demand more of our technology. We should demand more from our most powerful citizens to better inform. We should demand more from ourselves.

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