03 November 2010

La Technologie

Tomorrow, we'll begin the chapter entitled "les sciences et la technologie" in my French 201 class.  My assignment is to write a paragraph about my relationship with technology.  Mademoiselle Garver posed the question, "La technologie, cause-t-elle plus de problèmes ou de solutions?"  

Joe's owner summarizes some of the pros in "A Logic Named Joe":

If you punch for the weather forecase or who won today's race at Hialeah or who was mistress of the White House durin' Garfield's administration or what is PDQ and R sellin' for today, that comes on the screen . . . .  Also it does math for you, an' keeps books, an' acts as consultin' chemist, physicist, astronomer, an' tea-leaf reader, with a "Advice to the Lovelorn" thrown in.  The only thing it won't do is tell you exactly what your wife meant when she said, "Oh, you think so, do you?" in that peculiar kinda voice.  Logics don't work good on women.  Only on things that make sense.

Logics are all right, though.  They changed civilization, the highbrows tell us.

No one could argue that computers don't have any merit.

However, what happens when we have too much information?

This fella punches, "How can I get rid of my wife?" Just for the fun of it.  The screen is blank for half a second . . . .  Then the screen says, "Hexymetacryloaminoacetine is a constituent of green shoe polish.  Take home a frozen meal including green-pea soup.  Hexymetacryloaminoacetine is a selective poison which is fatal to blond females . . . .  You cannot be convicted of murder.  It is improbable that you will be suspected." 

Could technology really think up the perfect murder?  Perhaps not the computer itself, but what about the pool of intellect available to anyone with wifi?  The craigslist bank robbery is an example.  While we're on it, we can mention pornography, online dating, and stalking that lives on the internet.

I'm not sure, Mlle Garver.  I can see both sides.

As for Tibetans, this is an interesting angle that I hadn't thought before.  I've written about the potential for digital literacy to improve the situation for Tibetans in India.  How could it damage their lives and hinder their goals?  Certainly digital tools facilitate quick problem solving and swift interpersonal connections, and I would argue that digital literacy encourages political action and cultural preservation, but in what ways is technology harming the Tibetans?

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