New Year Wisdom

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New Year Wisdom

After going to a New Years party for a few hours, I came home to welcome in the New Year online with okcforgottenman. I was railing on about the fact that a prompt site for which I wished to download an app only had apps for phones and tablets. When I asked if they had an app for my Mac computer, they said no, the place they went to set up the prompt site didn’t have a setup for a Mac computer.  This, in addition to the fact that more and more apps and software are being set up to accommodate the tiny screens on cellphones and tablets without taking into consideration that some of us are on computers has caused me to wonder if  computers are becoming obsolete!

The fact that many baby boomers are now well into their sixties and approaching their seventies means our eyesight is not going to get any better, and frankly, I need the bigger screen. In addition, somehow those born in previous generations (at least mine) seem to have been born with larger thumbs than more recent generations, for I find it is physically impossible for me to navigate a phone or Kindle or tablet keyboard with even my fingers, let alone thumbs.

I then mentioned how everywhere I went, people were all on their phones—playing games, talking to people other than the people they were with, reading the news or blogs or email. No one was where they actually were! He replied that this didn’t bother him but then seemed to do an about-face by admitting, “I think something big is going to happen that will bring about the end of civilization, but I don’t necessarily know what it is. It might be Isis and it might be iPhones!”

What he has just said has the ring of truth to me. I’ve been thinking exactly the same thing, but never put it so well. I am frightened about how smart phones have taken us away from our surrounding people and environments. We are no longer one place at one time. Even if we are not talking on the phone, there is the potential of every person we know calling us at any time and any place. And most of us make that call a priority over whatever is going on at the time.

Okcforgottenman then told me about a new app that photoshops the faces of those talking on the computer, fixing the glitches, covering up all those details that Photoshop is so adept at covering up. Again, I had a feeling of déjà vu,  because I’ve been reading Ultimate Jest by David Foster Wallace, and just today, he talked about a time in the future when people on social networks are able to download an app that Photoshops their faces.

Eventually, the app makes changes to the point where people no longer really want to meet in person, because they feel they have become the false representation of themselves—or at least prefer it. No need to put on makeup, comb your hair, get dressed. Virtually, they will be perfected!! The trend reaches its zenith when in time, the app doesn’t even bother to start with the real image of the speaker but instead uses the image of a movie star or other “beautiful person” who most resembles the speaker–eventually coming to the place where what they have in common is four limbs and the same color of hair!

What he describes is so close to what okcforgottenman describes to me that I get a chill down my back and the brain freeze I always get when I’m faced with a startling truth I’ve never thought of before. Is there any science fiction that will not eventually become fact????

David Foster Wallace describes a turn that eventually makes people reject their fake personas and to go back to voice-only conversations that do not even present any images at all. In time, those who use the visual phones with face and body altering apps come to be seen as narcissistic, gauche and behind the times. This is something I cannot imagine happening as our dependence on cyber unreality becomes more and more prevalent.

As we retreat more and more into fantasy and living in the far distance, what will happen to the immediate world around us? Will it cease to have importance as anything other than providing for our immediate creature comforts such as food, bed, warmth, water and medical attention? Will all of our psychological, artistic, amorous, social and familial needs be met through our online devices? And as these devices get smaller and smaller, will we ourselves evolve into miniature beings capable of managing them? Are we evolving back down to subatomic size, and is this a cycle? Has it happened before?

Ridiculous. I’m being ridiculous. And yet who among us, born in the forties or fifties, would have ever imagined we could communicate with both words and pictures through the air, watch a movie on a device smaller than the hand piece of a telephone, or that people would be living their “real” lives out and even choosing husbands and wives on TV for all to see? How do we tell the difference between what is possible and what is  impossible anymore? I’m afraid it is hard to predict with any confidence at all.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/stroke-of-midnight/

17 thoughts on “New Year Wisdom

  1. prior2001

    Hi – I really enjoyed your wisdom and hearing about your thoughts in this – side. It’s – I heard WordPress is getting (or has) an app for Mac – which seems so cool! And in my opinion- I think computers are here – as great as iPhones are – I think even younger generations might. Red a larger screen for things – but who knows – different gen for sure – and the photoshop photo facade is scary! However – I do think there is much good from some of the online saturation – many times there is rich conversing (like with you and your friend tonight) and I have had some awesome text bonding with family – so while what you write about is true – I think we miss some of the positive – like health forums – whew – and some people were. Ever really where they were even before all this connected tech – just thinking out loud here 💕💕

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Oh yes, I love my computer, as is evidenced by the fact that I spend more time on than off during the day. But I also recognize its dangers, even in myself. As I was talking to my friend last night online, I spotted a message from another friend and was reading a bit of it as I talked. Then I realized the irony of my doing exactly what I was railing against in my post. But, the difference was that I was not eye-to-eye with my friend as I looked at the message of another. I was supplanting one internet message with another. I am just always aghast that people would choose to meet for a meal or gather for a meal and then all sit on their “machines” ignoring each other.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. prior2001

        Oh I know exactly what you mean – and actually your post addresses things that really could be discussed from MANY angles – truly a loaded and hot topic!
        And two more tidbits to share – in 2012 I was at a friend’s for a weekend visit and her husband – a high powered job holding kinda guy – sat down to talk with us – maybe to bless us with his company – and he would ask a question – scroll his phone – the iPhone 4 I think – and then look back up as if he was not doing that. Wtf! So I called him on it – watching my delivery of course – but I said do you really think I am going to talk to you while u are scrolling your phone – he turned it over – but so rude – and so I refuse to talk with anyone that tries to do that (and I also refuse to talk with drunk (or buzzed) people about politics or religion- nope.

        The last thing was what bugs me about the current tech stuff – is that I was forced to get and use an Apple ID to get any apps- I do not mind being tracked I guess – but feels like certain companies have monopolies with stuff and they also know everything – and heard Apple is creating a server farm to harvest long term – and your picture for this post reminded me of it – and again I kinda don’t mind – but George Orwell was ahead of his time !!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. lifelessons Post author

        Now I have to look up “server farm.” I love what I learn through other people’s comments. The worst thing about some of my comments in the essay are that I’m guilty of them, too…Spending too much time online, for one thing. But I am never guilty of surfing on my phone or computer in a social situation.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. prior2001

        Well that is nice of you to admit – but I sometimes think there were always distractions – like j remember listening to headphones in the 80s and having plugged ears all the time (for a season) – but that really does not compare with having mini computers in our pocket of purse pouch! Such a temptation and like a knife – has good uses for slicing but can have bad uses like getting cut. But I still think Overall it has more positives than negatives – and maybe has folks connecting more – and more globally too – hmmm 🌍🌞

        Anyhow – the server farms were just on the news and if I hear of it again I will drop by and leave u a link. Really fun post u whipped out here – 🌸🌺

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Relax...

    I understand your disquiet. I’m on social media to keep in touch with far kids, but it’s like skirting a porn movie every day, or having an unwanted bit part in a Tarantino flick. Finally, the time of my returning the greeting of someone on their teeny fone in public who isn’t speaking to me at all has passed, but that still leaves me missing presence, decency and warmth. I fear it all is going to get worse before it gets better, and that this tech-loving new generation needs to pull up, pull back, de-screen a bit!

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  3. Tiffany Phan

    I agree. The accelerating advancement of technology and the blurred lines between virtual vs. real self, is quite unsettling. Many people spend their days “talking” to others online and go whole days without wholesome human interaction; because It’s easy. You can check over what you write before you say it. There is no need to respond right away when an excuse can be inserted conveniently (“Oh, I just went to the washroom.”). There are no “awkward” pauses.

    Who knows what things will be like 5 years from now. I feel a bit apprehensive about it, but I know there is nothing I can do to change the course of time. Whatever happens, happens. 🙂

    Thank you for this post Judy. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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  4. Marilyn Armstrong

    NO ONE writes seriously on a telephone or little tablet. NO ONE of any age. The people who believe that are deluded and are going to wind up screwing themselves. I do not know a single photographer or writer of any age who does not have either a desktop or laptop or both … in addition to a phone.

    Phones are convenient, as are tablets, but they aren’t a total solution. Microsoft found that out the hard way with Windows 8 — which was designed for tablets and telephones and fell apart in the face of people who wanted an operating system for their computers.

    Laptops are selling as well as ever, better, actually. Mobile phones and tablets sell faster because they are relatively new technology and thus become obsolete quickly. Being portable, they get broken or lost with some regularity. AND they are pretty cheap, especially tablets, so you can afford a new one.

    ALSO, they are still being improved, being a newer technology. Sales have slowed and will slow further, and finally level out. People won’t forever buy a new iPhone every 6 months … or a new Kindle every time Amazon puts out a new generation.

    Just because some companies, including WordPress have hitched their wagon to the mobile device star doesn’t mean they’ve back the right technology. I think they are wrong and I am pretty good at this kind of stuff. I may be old, but I’m very tech savvy and sensitive to market trends. I read.

    As for losing touch with live people, I’ve been watching my granddaughter evolution with interest as she spend less and less time on the computer and phone and more time out and about. Kid, generations, society … we go through fads and trends. Personally, I love computers. Being less agile and active and older is a whole lot easier if you have a way to easily keep in touch.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Okay, Marilyn. I’ll hitch my hopes to your star. I really do hope you are right. There are those who curse computers for ending the art of letter writing, but I think more people correspond now via computer than ever did via letter. This is evidenced by the numbers of emails received per day and latters received in the past. I think people go into more detail in emails because it is easier to do so. As you know, I’m pretty fond of my computer as well, so it was never computers I was railing against, although I do note that I spend an increasing amount of time on my computer. Probably without a computer I would still spend more time alone simply because it seems to be a tendency with most as they grow older. We seem to enjoy our own company more and require less social time away from home. I’ve always craved the company of others but as I reflect back I can see that I always did spend a good amount of time alone as well. I never thought this was by choice but I can now see that it was. In the past, I read or watched TV or gardened during this time, but since my fifties, I’ve spent increasingly more time doing art and writing in lieu of more vicarious activities. Again, I hope you are right about phones taking precedence over computers.

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  5. calensariel

    Fascinating post. I SO agree about the eyesight and the thumbs!!! And that book makes my skin crawl. But let me tell you, I logged on to an ancestry site that you could down load your picture to and then it would come back and tell you what star you looked like. OMH!!! I got Donald Rumsfeld! And the SCARY thing about it? It looked close enough to my picture I could have been his damn twin. TOTALLY freaked my the hell out! Damaged me for life!!! Not even a GIRL for hell sakes! No wonder I have femininity issues!!! Plato, help!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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