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Technology and Culture


#1

I’m starting this thread to allow the community to voice their input on how culture has influenced technology and vice versa. Please feel free to give your opinions and interpretations on this subject. I’m hoping this forum post can become a great discussion in regards to where we were, where we are, and what technology can become in the future.

Disclosure: I am an anthropologist and would eventually like to publish on this topic in the near future. I may or may not use responses, anonymously of course, from this forum post as data. I will actively engage responses posted but in order to avoid impressions onto responses I will not immediately give my own response to the topic.


#2

You could use examples like ‘Maschinenmensch’ (Metropolis movie’s central character, and fictional predecessor to our modern robot) to Dick Tracy’s watch (the mobile phone, and smart-watch being classic examples of fiction becoming a reality)


#3

Well as much as people hate the show, The Big Bang Theory sure has influenced technology and all things nerdy. Before the show being a nerd was still wierd and technology and nerdy stuff was still frowned upon. Now it’s the cool thing.

There’re other influences of course but you got to admit this is a big one.


#4

What do you think this means for how technology will be developed in the future? Because it’s so mainstream now do you think that technology will advance faster?


#5

Good examples. There is even numerous examples from the Star Trek series that have become a reality. So do you think we may have hit a wall with pop culture influencing our technology? Back in the past something like a fictional smart watch or tablet was very advanced but still grounded in reality. Is it possible that a lot of our interpretations of the future are too extravagant and less grounded in reality?


#6

No I don’t think we have hit the proverbial wall, as long as there are creative minds scripting sci-fi material or creative minds getting together, and saying let’s make this sci-fi concept a reality, then the possibilities are endless.

All new technology has often evolved from but a simple dream.


#7

I don’t think it will advance anything. I just think it created an awareness


#8

Just playing devil’s advocate here: So if we made technology, as a whole, more popular among various demographics shouldn’t that mean we’ve tapped new minds who may make faster or new discovers previously thought not possible just because they have a unique way of thinking?


#9

Disclaimer: I was an anthropology major in college, and my focus was mostly on cultural anthropology. This could get a little long winded…

Some clarification, are you talking about technology in general or ‘technology’ as in electronics, computers, etc? Because humanity and technology are completely inseparable. I don’t remember where I heard it first, or who even said it, but someone told me,‘Technology is anything invented after you were born.’ At one point, agriculture was the newest ‘technology’ and that wholly changed humanity forever. There are the differences between human culture as a whole and individual sub-cultures, and the influence of technology on either. And conversely, where tech influences sub-cultures which in turn can influence the overall human culture.

Presently (relatively speaking) the internet is arguably one of the biggest technological advances that will, and has, changed humanity similarly to agriculture way back when. I suppose the basic development of computers in general could be the start of that shift, but until the computers were all interconnected and generally widely available, IMO it didn’t influence culture on the same level. The internet has given innumerable sub-cultures around the world the ability to be connected on a global scale; look at this site and the countless others that are community boards where people with similar interests can gather. Whether that’s tech stuff, cars, or literally anything, there’s a 99% there’s a forum, blog, message board or some other internet gathering of like-minded people. On the other hand, there’s the argument that the internet and this massive interconnected-ness is actually splintering and dividing humanity as a whole, as it’s so easy to get stuck in an echo-chamber (see: 2016 election).

For the future, I can see the rise of VR and AI as two of the bigger challenges facing humanity and the culture we currently know. When VR reaches the level of ‘true reality,’ or at least damn near close enough, that is going to change a LOT of human culture. And if it coincides with near-sentient or fully-sentient AI, hold on to your butts. Between the automation of a large portion of the workforce and easily accessible VR, humanity will be more about escapism than anything else. Granted, this is a pretty bleak and pessimistic view of the future, but if you look at how attached people are to staring at their phones now just looking at Instagram pictures, fake news on Facebook, etc; it’s not hard to see how people will never want to come out of a ‘true’ VR experience. I don’t know how many people have seen ‘Avalon’ but that’s kind of what I’m seeing that future as. I think it will get to a point where humanity BECOMES technology; where we can infuse human minds into robots and live essentially forever.

This response may be of a wider scope than you were intending, in which case let me know, I can give my thoughts on more specific topics, but that’s be overall view of technology and culture.


#10

Perhaps. But I was more going for the “Nerd awareness” over the “tech awareness” when it comes to that show. Take my inlaws for instance. Their fav show has been BBT since it came out. Now they think video games and superhero stuff is super cool and trendy. I mean they wear star wars shirts but have never seen it, just because that the cool thing that the show as made mainstream. But on the tech/science stuff on the show they couldn’t give two shits about. Lets just say they are a bit of a Penny when it comes to science. (I actually lol’d at my own joke)

But anyways. I’m sure the opposite can very well be true. But I think it is true in a very small percentile.


#11

You don’t need to play devil’s advocate, that idea has already been proven true. There was a marked increase in ‘hard science’ interest during the moon missions. Even in anthropology you can talk to most professors/students about what first got them interested in anthropology; I’d be willing to bet that a large majority will sheepisly respond with ‘Indiana Jones.’


#12

I shouldn’t have to play devil’s advocate, but I will only because I’m not just interested in the hard facts on this subject but more importantly individuals opinions and interpretations on the matter. Facts are all well and dandy by themselves but we are in an age where it is more and more common to have a separate and intriguing understanding on subjects that is not reflected by the facts.


#13

That is a great distinction between nerd/tech ‘awareness’. At face value if you don’t think about it too much you can almost assume they are the same thing. But you are right: there is a a great divide between the two. It’s as if, and excuse me for being blunt, people join and adhere to the nerd culture and then immediately become a part of the technology side of it but with little contribution.

So out of curiosity do you think the people who embrace the nerd culture would do great if they also got active in the tech fields? What do you think could get someone in this situation intrigued and active in the technology field?


#14

I agree with the future of VR. But what about AR? More and more people are of the opinion that they would rather have a fully augmented reality than a virtual one. Do you think AR/VR will co exist but take drastically different paths? Similar paths?


#15

I think its easier for people who are into tech and science to embrace nerd culture than it is the either way around. Tech and science are “Mainstream” now a days but the real advanced and complex stuff isnt going to attract more people then normal, Especially not people who are into comics and video games.


#16

I think AR/VR could coexist, but I can see AR getting to the point of that crazy fake future video with ads everywhere and nobody wants to use it, or approach an uncanny valley-like area of not true reality, but not a virtual reality experience either. It’s hard to say, with good AR tech still in its relative infancy, and VR is a bit more developed. I think that getting the real and virtual worlds to mesh cohesively will be a big factor in the adoption of AR tech.