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Anthony Ramey

Period 5
Major Assignment Two: Synthesis

Technology, the bearer of answered questions and online wonders, is at the fingertips of

any person in this day and age. From the first oversized computer made in 1936 to mobile

phones of today, technology and its wonders has followed us over numerous years. In normal

life, one may consult technology hundreds of times a day, making the impact of its evolution

apparent. Over a span of 50 years, this evolution has lead to a decline in the attributes of life

within a common human.

Human relations of today are not as they were 50 years ago. The people of today would

rather spend time in isolation with technology than with others. In Angel Boligan’s 2008 cartoon,

a young boy is depicted, in black and white I might add, transfixed by a television screen within

a desolate room containing only 1 window. This cartoon may be interpreted in multiple ways,

but as I see it modern human interaction is depicted within the picture, as there is not any at all!

People, children and young adults especially, would rather spend time isolated in front of a

screen than spend time with others, and this is the theme that the image casts. The child’s room is

desolate and prison-like, yet he would rather stay transfixed by the images on the screen than

leave it for human interaction. In a way David Gelernter supports this notion in his article Should

Schools Be Wired To The Internet? by stating, “Our children’s attention spans are too short

already, but the Web is a propaganda machine for short attention spans.” Although dated, this

article depicts a normal human interaction fitting today’s standards. When a conversation gets

stale or stalls instead of starting anew, one party may begin to interact with their phone and not

the person within arms reach of them. Technologies evolution has served as a way for

commoners to dodge conversation, whether it be completely or partially.

Writing was, and is still, a part of the English curriculum although it seems less writing

than it is typing. An example of this being true is Arthur H. Rotstein’s article Books Are Out,

iBooks Are In For Students at Arizona High School which details the aforementioned school

switching to a laptop oriented school. The belief was that the technology would further

engagement in classes, when in all reality it took away from writing skills, among other subjects.

Steven Johnson, a journalist for the New York: Basic, has written an article noting his

dependence upon typing stating,”Fast forward a decade or two, and I can’t imagine writing

without a computer.” Take into account that this sentiment is from that of a grown adult, and

translate that into the youth of today. This sentiment is fully reflected in schools today, as the

number of students writing out papers continue to dwindle. While typing out papers may be

easier for a teacher to grade or read, this is taking away the skill and technique needed to write a

comprehensive paper. Tact that is not needed within typed papers as it is in written essays is

deteriorating as the skill is no longer required.

Relationships and skills such as writing make up one central trait, intelligence. Ones

group of friends may dictate their intelligence as they mature, and skills such as writing are

essential to growing more intelligent. Once again referring to David Gelernter he provides us

with a quote which can be paraphrased to say that the Internet grants us a doorway to any amount

of information, and yet children now have not touched any classical or truly insightful reading

such as Shakespeare or Mark Twain. This lack of experience in reading skills causes a gap in

intelligence for those that have and have not read some of these stories. A skill is also subtracted

from those that have not read classic works, as they are heavily used in popular culture almost

subliminally, and for those that cannot identify the use may find themselves confused while

others fully grasp what is happening and where the inspiration came from. Esther Dyson wrote
simply, “We’re living longer and thinking shorter.” The thought processes and general fluidity in

academic challenges has declined, which is easily apparent within a high school, due in part to

technology consuming days of people's lives. This consummation of time is time that could be

spent on an assignment or paying attention in class. The declining lack of true reading experience

and shortening of time usage has translated into an average decline of intelligence, as depicted in

schools across the nation.

Human interaction, writing skills and intelligence are not the only functions of human life

affected. Some smaller areas, such as imagination, are affected as well. In source C, it is

explained that today’s information rich environment is serving to limit a child’s imagination

(Dyson). The images that children see today, as presented by technology, make it so that children

do not need to imagine anything, as thoughts they may have are more than likely already made

possible on the internet. Our internal clocks, or sense of time, has also been drastically affected

as, in the words of Esther Dyson, “We are living longer and thinking shorter”. This is prevalently

shown within our natural habits. If one does not know the answer to a question instead of

pondering on it, they simply look up the answer. We are always finding shortcuts around

thinking deep, instead we find the easiest way to explain occurrences and problems and believe

those answers to be undoubtedly correct. In conjunction with a lack of imagination, the lack of

outward thinking has thwarted the levels of opinion and beliefs within ourselves. As humans, we

were able to make make our own opinions upon a subject, say politics, but with the evolution of

technology came the spread of propaganda, which some cave into not imagining the

consequences of their choices and not forming their own genuine opinion.

With the evolution of technology over the past 50 years came a decline in human

function. As life surrounded by technology advanced, life littered with meaningful human
interaction has declined. From talking to others face to face, conservations have turned into

conversing into ones phone, while their conversant stands in-front of them. When one cannot

verbally conversate, they may find it hard to put thoughts into writing, and with technology

writing skills have further declined. Some may not be able to pay attention to their writing, due

to daily technological distractions, or may find writing instead of typing difficult. An

unimaginative, or less opinionated, society due to information taken from technological advances

has aided in the decline of critical and deepened thinking too. All in all, the rising of the iPhone,

computer, television and more has negatively impacted our evolution as humans, while also

aiding in the evolution of technology as well.

Works Cited

Boligan, Angel. Cartoon. El Universal [Mexico City]. Cagle Cartoons, 9 Jan. 2008. Web. 17
Aug. 2009.

Dyson, Esther. Untitled Essay. What We Believe But We Cannot Prove: Today’s Leading
on Science in the Age of Certainty. Ed. John Brockman. New York: Harper, 2006. 192-

Gelernter, David. “Should Schools Be Wired To The Internet?” Time. Time Inc., 25 May 1998.
Web. 18 Aug. 2006.

Johnson, Steven. Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and
Communicate. New York: Basic, 1999. Print

Rotstein, Arthur H. “Books Are Out, iBooks Are In For Students at Arizona High School.” St
Louis Post Dispatch 19 Aug. 2005: C2. Print.