Is technology making us smarter? Or dumber?

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Is technology making us smarter? Or dumber?

With this past weekend’s Trayvon Martin trial coming to an end everyone seems to have an opinion. Personally, I want to run from all social media based on the comments and statuses people I know are posting. First of all, I would be embarrassed if I were some of these people posting what they do. I mean, I believe in freedom of speech, but I am seriously starting to think technology is making people dumber. I want to ask some people who are making some of the postings they are if the actually read or watch the news. Also, if you are going to write a post, maybe actually type the word, or don’t include acronyms like “SMH.” It took me two weeks to learn what that meant. And here I am working on my Master’s degree! Sheesh! The pub argument is dead. Google killed it with a little help from your smartphone. Instead of long fought debates about who’s right and who’s wrong, an answer is nearly always within easy reach.

This doesn’t just include posting on Facebook and Twitter about current events, this is everything in society today impacted by technology. This case just got me thinking about what technology has done for society. Imagine one day without your smartphone: you would probably be unable to recall your to-do list, find where you need to go, and keep up with boredom. Now remember how much you over-spent on music, travel, movies, and food 10 years ago.

When I started my career about five years ago I was a trade show coordinator. I would go all over the country and help tear down and set up these elaborate exhibits. I would have to locate a Target, Home Depot and Lowes all the time in cities I never knew. Somehow I could always find what I needed and get back to where I needed to be without a GPS. Now, I need GPS in a town I have lived in for nearly five years. Yet, I got around major cities like Las Vegas years ago without any help, and I am pretty sure I could still find that Home Depot with no assistance. Now if you asked me to go somewhere I had to get to across town once a month ago with my GPS, not a chance in hell I could get there on my own!

Life has become more complex but we hardly ever notice it because technology has made complexity simpler than ever.

A recent study suggests that our modern lifestyles are making us “less intelligent” than our ancestors, at least at a genetic level. This research echoes concerns Einstein had when he supposedly said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

The immediate availability of information has created a particular conundrum in our modern society. When it takes a mere few seconds to find information about almost any topic, the value of knowledge and expertise is being devalued as information becomes cheaper and more accessible. This is despite the fact that information, knowledge and expertise are fundamentally different entities.

As for the way we define intelligence, it may be time to consider people’s willingness to solve complex problems as a key ingredient of IQ. Technology will continue to evolve and the gap between what can be solved with and without it will only increase.

Ultimately, the future of technology-enabled learning and education is in a synthesis of the science of learning and the art of teaching. Developing expertise in expertise will help us figure out how we can educate future generations of students to become wise and knowledgeable in a world where information is cheap and easy.

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Is technology making us fat?

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Is technology making us fat?

So as I continue with my blogging with my love/hate for technology I come to my next point: my waistline and the scale.

Like every other college student in America, I gained weight when I went away. When I moved home after college I was determined to get it off. Through the help of a nutritionist and the gym I began to lose 2-3 pounds a week.

I spent the first year after college working at Olive Garden. When I finally got my first full-time PR job I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t losing weight. A colleague who was a personal trainer on the side explained to me it was due to my job. He explained to me the additional activity running around at Olive Garden and the lifting of heavy trays up and down helped me lose extra weight compared to my PR job where I sat at my desk all day. Wow was this a slap in the face and also shocking. But when I thought about it, it really wasn’t that shocking.

It comes up with a surprisingly consistent statistic: For every 10 percent rise in what a country spends on information and communications technology, there’s a 1 percent increase in obesity rates.

Technology doesn’t just keep people in their chairs and on sofas, according to the report from the nonprofit Milken Institute. It changes the way people eat, also – adding even more pounds than the lack of exercise alone would.

These alarming statistics constantly get me thinking about how our parents worked on their feet and how today everyone is in a cube at a desk. Sometimes I wish I could go back to waitressing at Olive Garden for the extra running and weight lifting of trays full of the all-known and loved soup, salad and breadsticks. But as well all know, there is just not enough hours in the day, especially with a desk job.

Today I will blame technology for my fat-ness. I got stuck at work until 7:30 preparing for a big meeting tomorrow. By the time I left I was exhausted, so I stopped for a Little Cesar’s Hot-N-Ready Pizza. I was so tired and hungry, I may or may not have polished off half of it while posting this. Technology/computer: 1 Neely:0. Whoops.

My love/hate with technology continued….

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My love/hate with technology continued....

This week I was traveling heavily for both my job and a wedding I was in out of town for a great friend from undergrad in college. In the span of five days I mentally made note of how big of an influence technology is on my life and those around me. All I can say is WOW. I flew to Nashville for work. When you fly mid-week first thing in the morning and late afternoon home you run into so many business travelers. The first thing I noticed when I boarded my connector flight to Nashville as I walked through first class was how many people were connected. EVERY single person in first class was either on a smartphone or tablet as I boarded the plane. more than a dozen people. All too busy to look up. It got me thinking, just how connected am I myself? Am I too connected as well? Or not connected enough?

As I sat down in my seat there I was on my smartphone reviewing e-mails from the office and pulling up graphs to confirm orders and shipments. At the same time, flying home I wanted to get some school work done on my laptop while we were delayed in the airport, unfortunately there was no wifi. I felt naked and stressed out. It seemed so hard to be disconnected with a laptop in front of me. So crazy. I remember being a kid and getting excited to “play” on a computer. This usually meant I would go on paint, make scribbles and color them in. What would kids think of that today???? Hmmm….

Then, while traveling to the wedding using the GPS on my phone we hit major traffic. This delayed our trip and killed the battery on my phone. Before I knew it I was in a shear panic because I was afraid my phone was going to die before I reached my destination. I had no back up plan….other than to stop some place with an outlet to get some juice in my phone to use it.

I love my technology products for assistance on getting work done and assisting with travel to name a few, but are we using it too much and relying on it too heavily?

Maybe it wouldn’t kill me to throw a map in my car? Or a book/notepad in my briefcase?

Or should I just invest in a car charger?

I have decided to focus on my love/hate with technology and its influences for the semester. After all, I question it on a daily basis. Kind of like working out. I need it to achieve my goals, it is helpful and makes me feel better…..but do I really like it?

Starting IMC 619 with my continued New Year’s Resolution to Blog that I clearly suck at…..

As I start this blog I have already failed myself…..I am a few days late with my first post. 

For the last two  New Years (2012 & 2013) my resolution has been to keep up with a blog. I thought it would be a great way to look back on each year and how I have grown and changed within my life. I also have been told by several people that my life should be a sitcom or a book.

I thought blogging would be great way to put a funny spin and laugh at my crazy life experiences. Also, I thought maybe I would be a great way to keep my journalism skills up and maybe even get something more out of it. Inspire someone even. Look at Julie Powell. She was a woman who blogged about her journey through cooking all of Julia Child’s recipes in her Joy of Cooking book. She turned it into a novel, then it was turned into a movie. Another favorite, Jen Lancaster. A woman who busted her butt trying to be a career woman who gets laid off in the process during the recession. She starts her blog by making fun of the companies who don’t hire her. She keeps a running tab of “companies that suck.” She knows she has made it when one company finds out they are on her list and refuses to hire her. She sent the HR a copy of her book when it came out. She inspires me. So I start each year with this amazing idea and start out strong through January, slow in February and then come to screeching halt come March.

Part of the reason I fail and the reason I am here in IMC 619…well in Internet years, I am old. 

I graduated college in 2007 and I amazed at how much about technology and social media I don’t know.

When I was a senior I learned Quark. I don’t know anyone who still even uses it. I had it on my resume, but people chuckled so I took it off. A friend of mine called me about a job at Hershey to do social media. I told him I am too old and with five years experience I still am under qualified. So here I am. Hoping to grasp technology and social media by the horns and form a better understanding. 

Media is part of our lives from the second we wake up, until the moment we go to bed. I know I am constantly connected with some form of technology almost 24/7. In my opinion, it causes too much noise and although it has some major positive effects on society, it also has had some negative ones as well….I plan to focus on the effects of media and technology throughout this class in both my postings and blogs. My opinions and why. Also what I am learning to escape the excess noise and use technology and media for the better.

So let’s start with a goal, two posts within the next week! Here’s hoping!

~Neely