Friday, September 16, 2011

Technological Evolution/Human Evolution

Library assistant Norweita Graham 
 displays a computer punch cardused in the 
library's check-out system in 1969.

      As computer technology evolves, so do people. That is to say, it almost seems like people evolve around the commercial technology, rather than the general population causing the evolution of it. I found Lev Manovich’s discussion on the trends of Flickr and YouTube videos particularly interesting and supportive of this idea. He mentions an explosion within a few months’ time in 2007 of image activity on Flickr tripling. A few months is a long time; not many savvy computer users in 2011 would find that statistic surprising. I certainly did not feel surprised while reading that section of Lev Manovich’s article, however when I think back on that as a newer image hosting website in 2007, the statistic is far more impressive. Ted Nelson wrote Computer Lib/Dream Machines with the intention of making the Internet and computer technology easily understandable and accessible to the general population. I feel as though there is evidence of this success in the popularity of image and other hosting sites that are now easily accessible and user friendly. Even though I have lived through the advance of the Internet and have had Internet access for most of my life, I was hardly aware of its history. This thought returns to the concept that technology evolves us. Computer users are so focused on the technology of right now that technology of the past hardly enters their minds. Doug Engelbart mentions, “we suspect that improving the effectiveness of the individual as he operates in our society should be approached as a system-engineering problem,” which—while published in 1962—is directly applicable to the concept that technology has become the new system engineer.


  1. I totally agree with that. People nowadays should find the balance between the internet world and their real world. All the inventions are invented to help people but not dominate their time and energy.

  2. Agreed! We seem to be letting technology dictate instead of the humans.

  3. I find it very interesting that most people don't know anything about the people who made the internet what it is today, and agree that, ironically, the internet is probably what created this lack of knowledge. WE don't really stop to think about who invented things anymore; all we care about is that they are there, and in front of us, and they work. The internet is so fast and so all-encompassing that we don't need to know ancient facts anymore. We want to know how to make vegan cake or how to tell if our boyfriends are cheating on us, and we want to know it now. It's like the internet happened so fast that we didn't have time to take a backwards glance to see HOW it got here.

  4. I also appreciate that you discussed the fact that technology is so rapidly evolving, but most people don't care or bother to know how it is getting to where it is. I think, as a society of people who demand and love instant gratification in all aspects of life, we need to take a step back to learn about things like the internet and computers. It would help us appreciate everything we have access to because of computers much, much more.

  5. It's the chicken and the egg again. DId users shape Facebook or is Facebook shaping the very way we interact with each other? Something to observe and contemplate....