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Access To Information Has Never Been Easier!

04 Apr

One of the main points that I understood from the readings this week is that technology is affecting the way we live and function as human beings. It’s not a case of technology changing and humans watching this drastic change. The fact of the matter is, if technology changes, humans change too.

With technology also comes new ways of living life. Technology is changing us socially, whether we like it or not. It’s inevitable. Technology has the power to change the way we live our lives: the way we socialise, what people know about us and the way we process information. Social media websites allow us to socialise with people we’ve never met before, from all over the world and from different walks of life. We can chat to people who have the same interests as us, going by what they put on their profile for everyone to see. We can learn so much about a person without even meeting them! This was not at all possible just a few years ago. There is concern that these social media websites are causing us to become anti-social. We’d rather just type to people instead of meet with them face to face. This prevents the development of social skills and has been a worry amongst some, because technology is changing the social aspect of society. Technology has also caused a problem in the area of bullying. There are more opportunities now for people to get bullied online, known as ‘cyber bullying’. It has become such a major issue that there have been campaigns to put a stop to it. Here is one below:

 

Publishing has allowed a whole new social lifestyle to emerge that has become the norm. This has brought some good points and also some bad ones to the table. Publishing has allowed us as a society to communicate, store and organise thoughts, theories, information and knowledge. People can express their opinions, acquire more knowledge, research and learn. It has eradicated the barrier that used to exist to access information.

There are however, some bad points of this digital revolution. We are now more aware of how much personal information we make public. It can become quite dangerous if someone knows all your personal details, as they could use this information to steal your identity, or stalk you etc. But on the plus side, you are able to connect with people who have similar interests to you.

Because there is so much information available now, this has made us lazy as human beings. We don’t have to retain information the way we used to. Our memories aren’t being used as much because we don’t have to remember anything. All facts are being published and accessing this information is so easy. So, this gives us an excuse to forget information. For me personally, it has at times caused information overload because everywhere you look, there is more information to be read.

All this available information can cause information overload

Picture Source:

http://aiimknowledgecenter.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/07/16/information_overload.jpg

There is also speculation that all these technological advancements have made our attention spans worse. There are so many distractions, so much information available in the one place (the Internet) that we only navigate to the information that interests us. In my opinion, I don’t really see this as a major issue. The mass amount of information that is available to us hasn’t shortened our attention spans, rather, we just choose to read information that is of interest to us because it’s readily available, and this has always been the case. Why do children like looking at colourful picture books for hours, yet they can’t sit still for two seconds to solve a maths problem? Because to them a colourful picture book is way more interesting than a maths problem. It’s just human nature.

A children's book is far more interesting than a maths problem

Picture Source: http://carinbondar.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/book-hungry-caterpillar.jpg

Why read boring material when there is readily available material that interests you? The only thing that I think is a concern is that with online publishing, people aren’t usually heavily engaged with information they read online because they usually have another window open that is a distraction. So in a way, they are ‘half reading’ both texts but are never fully engaged in either one.

The Commons in relation to publishing is also an issue. Should publishing be open access? I think it should. Everyone has an opinion and if they want to share it with the rest of the world, why shouldn’t they? It’s everybody’s right to publish whatever they want, as long as it’s their own work and not someone else’s. If it is someone else’s work, then they need to be acknowledged for it. Different forms of publishing such as file sharing, P2P and niche music sites allow people with similar interests to give and receive files, videos and audio to each other of the similar subjects they are interested in. This allows people with similar interests to find published works that would have been difficult to find.

 

File sharing has allowed people with similar interests to share published works of those similar interests

Picture Source: http://www.life123.com/technology/file-formats/file-sharing/peer-to-peer-file-sharing.shtml

Publishing nowadays seems to make a lot of knowledge and information available for everyone to access. But should it really be this way? Does anyone own this knowledge or information? I personally think that knowledge is something everybody has the right to acquire, but at the same time, if you are acquiring knowledge from someone else’s hard work, they should perhaps be acknowledged or be compensated in some way. I think the fairest way to display information these days is to have basic information accessed for free, and if anyone wishes to increase their knowledge further, then they can pay for the extra, more in depth information. This is already being done in the music industry. The site www.bandcamp.com have promoted and exposed some musician’s music for free, but for a higher quality version of a song, people need to pay. I think this is quite an effective strategy to deal with the commons and publishing, because ease of access to information will always be here and there will have to be a strategy put in place for this current grey area.

Bibliography

Kinsley, Sam (2010) ‘The Technics of Attention’, Paying Attention <http://payingattention.org/2010/10/12/the-technics-of-attention/>

Kinsley, Sam (2010) ‘Tiziana Terranova—The Bios of Attention’, Paying Attention <http://payingattention.org/2010/09/07/tiziana-terranova-the-bios-of-attention/>

Kinsley, Sam, (2010) ‘Day 3 > Michel Bauwens’ Paying Attention, <http://payingattention.org/2010/09/09/day-3-michel-bauwens/>

Rock, David (2010) ‘New study shows humans are on auto pilot nearly half the time’, Psychology Today, <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-work/201011/new-study-shows-humans-are-auto-pilot-nearly-half-the-time>

Robin Good and Michel Bauwens (2010) ‘From Open Business Models to an Economy of the Commons’, Robin Good, <http://www.masternewmedia.org/from-open-business-models-to-an-economy-of-the-commons/>

Yoffe, Emily (2009) ‘Seeking: How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that’s dangerous’ Slate, <http://www.slate.com/id/2224932/pagenum/all>


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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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