Wednesday, May 01, 2024

My Latest 3 Letter Acronyms and 'Technomania'

Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices, That if I then had wak'd after long sleep, Will make me sleep again, and then in dreaming, The clouds methought would open, and show riches Ready to drop upon me, that when I wak'd I cried to dream again. (The Tempest, Shakespeare - III.ii.135-143) 
New technology is cool! I am drawn to it like most.

Heck, I remember the very first time I talked a cell phone. It was at Legion Filed at the very 1st ever SEC Championship game in 1992. I called my wife on my friend's new phone and I was so excited that I was a Legion Field- away from wires, cords, antennas, and bases... this was me out in the open... on a phone!

I have watched much of it- lived much of it- when I say I played pong, I'm not talking about beer drinking. I'm talking about the first stab at mass market video games. I used an 8 track tape player, I had a cassette tape player in my car with audiovox equalizer and JBL speakers in my used 1975 blue Camero!

I first edited video on VHS.... I typed my first senior research paper on a typewriter!

When it comes to technology, I don't want to be the first, I want it to get some traction...but I also don't want to be left too far behind as well.

I pushed myself to learn to use GoPro cameras and photoshop, and this summer I still want to learn to fly a drone.

This attitude to embrace technology has helped- because I want it to help productivity.

My world right now has the latest 3 letter acronyms:

FFS- Forward facing sonar and how it is impacting fishing.
VBT- Velocity based training and how it is impacting weight lifting.

And every new wave of technology has detractors and critics......

In 2008 I read an incredible book entitled “Endurance- Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Albert Lansing. It is the true story of survival in Antarctica during the years of 1914 and 1915.

Amazing read! There are great quotes in the book and Shackleton’s 'undefeatable' will is inspirational!-But I was also struck with a quote by one of the crew in his journal.

While the men were locked on an ice flow- they began to exhibit an unhealthy obsession with the wind reports. They were dependent on the wind to move their flow closer to land. If the wind went in one direction they were closer to freedom, if it changed, they were pressed hard to hold on to hope.

This obsession with the wind was labeled ‘amenomania’ – literally, ‘wind madness’- The crewman commented “ This disease may be exhibited in two forms: Either one morbidly anxious about the wind direction and gibbers continually about it, or else a sort of lunacy is produced by listening to the other amenomaniacs.

As I read this, I couldn’t help to think of our modern disease of ‘technomania’ where we are constantly bombarded with 24 hour cable news and an avalanche of social media information about the state of the world and nation. Talking heads and rumor based posts wasting hours gibbering about their worldviews and pre-suppositions.

'Technomania' also comes with its own sort of FOMO where if you don't have the latest upgrade or gadget... are just a loser!

The constant drumbeat of the messages and those who have and don't have or those who understand or 'fallen behind' has produced division and cynicism in our world today. Our extreme negative views are supported and encouraged in the news desire to sell the things that make us watch. And because of human nature, we are disturbingly drawn to the tragedies and bloodbaths.

By the way, that is why I am constantly saying that our next generation of young people will have to be taught skills, understanding and new approaches to epistemology (teaching a system of justified belief) if we are going to survive this onslaught of data.

see the last post on a series about these concepts here: Day-5-developing-and-implementing a system of justified belief

Being an election year- it seems to get worse!

We have had our sense of reality so numbed by the constant flicker of fantasy, that we have educated all common sense, moral sense, and passion completely out of modern life. 

One of the dangers in today’s high tech society is screen manipulation or deception. As I have been reading and teaching revelation this quarter, the 'Beast of the Land' has powers of deception and manipulation.

In his mesmerizing book, Future Crimes (2015/Doubleday), Marc Goodman devotes an entire chapter to this phenomenon. It is Chapter 8, “In Screens We Trust”

He uses an attention getting quote to begin the process:
“The world isn’t run by weapons anymore, or energy, or money. It’s run by ones and zeros—little bits of data. It’s all electrons. There’s a war out there, a world war. It’s not about who has the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information—what we see and hear, how we work, what we think. It’s all about information.
Excerpt From: Marc Goodman. “Future Crimes.” iBooks. (emphasis mine)

Today, I asked A.I. to comment on this tecno=dependency and dangers.... the response:

Our dependence on technology, screens, Wi-Fi, and power has made us more vulnerable to various catastrophes in several ways:

Cybersecurity Threats: Our dependence on technology makes us vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Hackers can disrupt essential services, steal sensitive information, or cause financial harm.

Power Outages: Reliance on power makes us vulnerable to power outages, whether due to natural disasters, cyber-attacks, or technical failures. This can disrupt essential services, communication, and daily life.

Communication Breakdown: Dependence on Wi-Fi and screens for communication makes us vulnerable to breakdowns in communication during emergencies. If Wi-Fi networks go down or screens are damaged, it becomes difficult to coordinate emergency responses or seek help.

Information Overload: Our reliance on screens for information leaves us vulnerable to misinformation, manipulation, and information overload, which can hinder decision-making during emergencies.

Social Isolation: Excessive screen time can lead to social isolation, making it difficult to form strong community bonds and hindering collective responses to emergencies.

Dependency on GPS: Reliance on GPS for navigation makes us vulnerable to disruptions in GPS signals, which can occur due to solar flares, intentional jamming, or technical issues.

Health Issues: Excessive screen time can lead to physical and mental health problems, making us more vulnerable during emergencies.

To better protect yourself from the vulnerabilities associated with dependence on technology, screens, Wi-Fi, and power, here are some practices and steps you can take:

Back Up Important Data: Regularly back up your important data to external hard drives or cloud storage services to ensure that you can access it even if your devices are damaged or compromised.

Use Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication: Use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible to protect your accounts from unauthorized access.

Keep Software Updated: Regularly update your devices' operating systems, applications, and security software to protect them against the latest threats and vulnerabilities.

Be Cautious Online: Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources, as they may contain malware or phishing attempts.

Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks: When connecting to Wi-Fi networks, use secure networks with strong encryption and avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks without using a virtual private network (VPN) for added security.

Limit Screen Time: Limit your screen time and take regular breaks to reduce the risk of physical and mental health problems associated with excessive screen use.

Develop Offline Communication Plans: Develop offline communication plans with family and friends in case of emergencies when digital communication methods are unavailable.

Learn Basic Survival Skills: Learn basic survival skills such as first aid, navigation, and wilderness survival to prepare for emergencies when technology may not be available.

Create Emergency Kits: Prepare emergency kits with essential supplies such as food, water, medication, and flashlights to sustain yourself and your family during power outages or other emergencies. 
Jayopsis comment hereThis has a balance, 'mega-preppers' need 'mega-weaponry' to protect their stash if apocalyptic calamities strike and I don't see a lot of good coming out of that- but yes, short term emergency prep is smart.

Stay Informed: Stay informed about potential threats and vulnerabilities associated with technology and take proactive measures to protect yourself and your devices.

In the end, it is OK to embrace and use technology, it is by and large 'neutral' but we must apply these tools for good and positive productivity.

Let's make sure we love people and use these tools.... not vice-versa!

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