It's Time to Bring Back Techno-Optimism: Page 2

The loss of privacy and the constant flood of new gadgets is creating a backlash against technology. But unplugging isn't the answer.
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And Silicon Valley’s constant parties, awards, socializing and schmoozing -- reaching a crescendo at the over-priced and therefore exclusive SXSW Interactive event this month -- grate on the public nerve. People are getting tired of Tesla-driving elitist Glassholes living it up so publicly.

5. Social networking fatigue

Speaking of success theater, most adults have formed a love-hate relationship with social media. We love it, because we like to post food pictures and selfies and look-at-my-talented-kids photos and vacation snapshots. We hate it because other people like to do the same.

Social media has become a joyless compulsion for some. We’re like those dead-eyed gamblers you see on the nickel slots in Vegas or the Pachinko parlors of Tokyo robotically shoving coins into a machine and repeatedly pressing a button. What started out as a passion has simply become something we need because of a mindless addiction.

So what’s the answer?

The answer is to remember what we all used to believe -- that technology would always make the world better. And in fact, it can.

If we feel violated by the NSA, for example, the answer isn’t to unplug and go off the grid, turn back the clock and stop using products and services exploited by the mass surveillance agencies. No, the answer -- as Edward Snowden himself emphasized at SXSW -- is more and better technology that thwarts surveillance. The answer is to listen to Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and take back the web from the governments and corporations. The answer isn’t the negative resignation that’s spreading like a cancer, but for all of us to get excited about the possibilities of an Internet that can’t be surveilled or censored.

If we don’t like some aspects of personalization, then support technology that doesn’t use it. If we don’t care about speeds and feeds with our computers and smartphones anymore, then let’s leverage Moore’s Law to produce exactly the devices we really do want. Maybe we want giant touch-screen desktops. Maybe we want Google’s modular phone ideas. It’s Moore’s Law that will make all that possible, so let’s re-embrace it.

And social networking fatigue? Yeah, go ahead and cancel your Facebook account. Enough already.

The point is that the future is in our hands, thanks to technology. It’s time to get excited again, and to apply ourselves to building and buying and using new tools that solve the problems we care about. It’s called optimism. And we need it now more than ever.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Tags: Facebook, social media, Gadgets, NSA, technology addiction, Edward Snowden

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