Backtracks

Be Prepared!

I’m now living in my own future!

  • Do I understand this future life I now live? 
  • Am I in control and, am I actually more human? 
  • How does technology make me more or less human? 
  • How free am I? 
  • How can I prepare myself for the future and what can I expect? 
  • The book title through a dream: “This is the future! This is the time when so many of the promises I have been hearing for decades are supposed to be coming true.”
  • I was often questioning the technology, and the paradise of promises and the future of technology. 
  • Future not what I was expecting, arrived with a lot of baggage. 
  • Didn’t count on being overwhelmed by the technologies of this future. 
  • The promise of vast amount of leisure time has not materialized. 
  • We need to take a closer look; look around, see what is happening and ask questions to determine how our lives are impacted by technology. 
  • Bedbugs under the satin sheets.
  • How good are your spelling skills these days? Does being able to spell even matter anymore? 
  • Can we learn to see where and how certain technologies, social media for example, are eroding and even robbing us of our humanness and humanity? Who are your real ‘Friends’? 
  • How much are we tracked and surveilled? 
  • How safe is your personal information? 
  • How is your personal information and attention monetized by enormous powerful corporations? 
  • Can algorithms and corporations manipulate us? 
  • Is the Internet really knowledge at your fingertips?
  • What are we gaining, what are we losing and what are we leaving behind? Are we leaving behind aspects of our humanness and humanity? 
  • How does a particular technology make you more or less human? 
  • Do I really need it, and is this how I want my life to be? 
  • Do you want to change the way a particular technology affects your life and help you to be more human? 
  • Journey difficult work and will require time and effort. 
  • Technological world is extremely complex and may be growing out of control. 
  • The overwhelming, anxious, even depressing feelings you experience set you off balance. 
  • Learn how to understand this world of technology and how to be more human.
  • We are enchanted, seduced and captivated by technology, swept away in a stream of amazement that becomes an overwhelming torrent of burden. 
  • Surrounded by devices that vie for attention, they ask that you give them more of your time.
  • Does the Internet seem like the window to all human knowledge, connecting us all together in one gigantic community? 
  • Are you giving up the reins of your humanness and humanity by letting technologies takeover your life? 
  • Have you forgotten how to simply relax, think and imagine—letting your mind and spirit wander?
  • Will technological advancement slow down someday? Is there a ceiling to some aspects of technology, such as the speed of computer processors? What other inhibitors could arise to slow things down? 
  • Are you aware of movements toward a more organic lifestyle similar to the movement to organic foods? Would you join such a movement? 
  • Can we humans influence and alter the trajectory of technological change? Or will unbridled and unharnessed smart machines bring some unforeseen negative developments, even catastrophic results to humans?
  • We need to learn to be more intentional with our use of technology and carefully appropriate technology into our lives; to learn how we can redeem and reclaim that which we may have lost, retain and maintain what we have today, and protect our humanness and humanity in the future by being human beings and living in a world of technology.
  • Can we discover reasons for having hope for humanity? 
  • Primary focus to always consider is about being a human being. How can technology help you in being more human? When does technology dehumanize you?
  • How can your life be improved through a better understanding of, and management of, the technologies in your life? 
  • How do technology corporation control and manipulate your life? 
  • Can you take back control of your life? How can you be prepared for the future? Are you in control? 
  • Do you have a grasp of what to expect? When the unexpected comes along, what are the options? 
  • Can you unpack the baggage? 

Briefing

Orientation & Arrival at Basecamp

Beginning at Base Camp

Orientation & outfitting to clarify some definitions and equip ourselves with a few basic understandings. What is our base camp?

Some universities have a day or two of base camp for new students. They may call it an orientation day.  Almost always a mountain climb has one. The military also uses base camps. Certainly jungle safaris use a base camp. A base camp is a good place for us all to get oriented and on the same page.

  • Journey similar to a university education, and like climbing a mountain, or going on safari, a base camp is a good place to start. 
  • The Technojungle corporations don’t want us to know exactly what they are doing, so this is a sort of war.
  • Our Base Camp like foundations of a building with some understandings, terminology, and concepts. 
  • Protective jungle clothing, or knowledge, to protect our minds. 
  • Move from simple learning to more complex. 
  • As Bwana, I’m not claiming to be an expert.
  • Make the world more human, but you need to participate and be engaged as we safari. 
  • As guide, asking questions, expect you to question my conclusions and even my questions. 
  • Be challenged to look at, possibly even change, your thinking, assumptions, perspectives and perhaps even areas of your human life and the ways you live.

We are now in Base Camp preparing for safari. Let’s talk about the journey.

The Journey

Introducing the Technojungle and the plan for our safari.

“It’s a jungle out there!”, exclaimed an imaginary person in my dream as they came trudging through the door. I awoke suddenly with the idea that our world is just like a jungle. “It’s a Technojungle!”, I yelled in my head. “That’s what this technology-filled world we live in is.” It was a revelation!

  • Could you exist for even one day without technology? How about an hour? How about without certain technologies? 
  • Tarzan had a bit of clothing and swung from vines, so he used technology. 
  • Have we, or you, already lost control of life—that is, being a human being and living in this world of technology? 
  • What if the techno-breaks fail and we crash our lives—the world? 
  • Our fate can’t be left to self-declared experts thinking they know what’s best for you and what you desire your life to be. They’re part of technology corporations, profiting from your technology dominated life and your attention and information. 
  • The Technojungle, a jungle created by humans, can often dehumanize you without you even realizing! 
  • Have you thought about how our lives sit on technology that is piled higher than we can imagine; technology on top of technology for thousands of years? All these technologies are supposed to make our lives more comfortable, but do they? 
  • Can you think of anything that may or may not be a technology when used by a human? Does any fire, or anything, when utilized in some way by a human, become a technology? Can you list some of the technologies that possibly went into making a match? 
  • Home assistants are listening and recording everything in your house, someone recently told me.  
  • The Technojungle can rob you of your freedom and be dangerous. 
  • Isn’t what really matters what you think, believe and understand? Come to your own conclusions. If you mindlessly and thoughtlessly adopt without question what others say, it will not be part of you, so couldn’t that dehumanize you? If you arrive at your own understanding, isn’t it true that you will own it and it will become part of who you are? Won’t that make you even more human?
  • What is some of the latest buzz you have heard about the Technojungle? 

This is our journey—safari. Hopefully you have a better understanding of what this book is about. There’s more about the book coming up, but first, a look at a bit more of my life as author of this book and my safari trek to becoming Bwana.

Bwana’s trek

From Boomer to Bwana, meet your guide for learning about being a human being in this world of technology.

I was hooked on technology at an early age. I was being sold a future that would be a paradise of promises. It was going to be an amazing future. There was hope for humans in their world of the future. But one day, I woke up.

  • I found the future was being painted daily with pretty promises. 
  • President Kennedy stated and promised about the future and the space race.
  • Futuristic was a huge buzz word I used almost daily. I
  • Experts giving me eyes into the future—leading me to believe my wildest dreams were either coming true or going to come true one day in the near future. 
  • Could all the promises we have heard and hear today about our future with technology be some sort of evangelism?  
  • I had mixed feelings about technology, caused me to realize an urgent need for us to critically think through how to manage life in a technology consumed society where we may often be dehumanized. 
  • It is our responsibility to steward that which we as humans create.
  • If you ask enough questions, eventually you wake up. If you don’t ask enough questions, eventually you give up. 
  • I had a love for outer space and the space race and followed the rocket launches.
  • I had to know what the future would be like and began a lifelong journey of absorbing promises of what was in store for me and all of us humans in what I now call the Technojungle. 
  • 1955 was the beginning of a quantum leap in the velocity of change in the Technojungle. Rock and Roll music came along representing a fundamental cultural change in the youth. Somehow, technology was going to change the world, make it a better place and allow us to do things never dreamed of before. Have you heard any promises from futurists and the media that technology will one day solve all the problems faced by humanity—even the problem of having to work so we can have a life of leisure?
  • The future will never arrive as we expect, that is, if our expectations are built on unquestioned promises from futurists, marketers and other people. 
  • How many times have you heard ads for a new and improved laundry detergent? 
  • We always see things from our own perspective. 
  • More technology can only make everything even better, right? 
  • Flying cars was a techno-promise. 
  • Our car had power everything—technology is power.
  • Interstate Highways systems is a sort of jungle.
  • My study of jazz and swing popular music from the first half of the twentieth century has given me insights into a previous world of technology. It has formed my opinions of the current world and my predictions of the future world to come. I have a slightly different point of view on certain topics or situations from those of most people my age, or perhaps younger. This has forced me to think differently and causes me to write thoughts and ideas, such as “humans prefer analog.” 

Now you know about me, my journey, and a little more about the journey you are on and the one that we are going to take through this book. Now what about this book?

The future—a paradise of promises

Why did I write this book and how did it get its title, The Future Never Arrives—at least not as expected and it always brings baggage? What actually does arrive?

“This is the future. This is the time when so many of the promises I have been hearing for decades are supposed to be coming true.” “If this is the future I have been waiting for, where is it?” “This is not the future I had been promised, this is not the future I have been expecting.” “If the future doesn’t arrive, what does arrive?” It occurred to me that the future arrives, not as we expect it and it seems to bring baggage.

  • What kind of future have you been expecting? Is this the future you have been expecting? How is it different? What are you expecting your future to be like?
  • Futurists painting the paradise of promises seem to leave the jungle part off the sales pitch. Shouldn’t we be prepared for the future armed with both the good news and the bad? 
  • There’s jungle aspects in the media, little focus on what we could prepare for that might not be entirely positive.
  • What happened to the robot to do my work and give me a life of leisure, or my flying car, etc.? How about a nuclear powered car? 
  • Do you hear, “Scientists have discovered…,” or “…one day, we will….”? What is being promised? 
  • Do you have an electric car that can drive itself? Do you have a smartwatch that knows how to somehow give you more time? 
  • How have promises set up your expectations for the future? How does your life and this world differ from the promises and expectation you have held on to?
  • Am I, are we, really in the future now? 
  • Life is full of similar problems to life in previous generations. Difficulties solved replaced by other problems. Issues of concern are just different (e.g. E-mail). Can you think of any other issues that have been resolved only to be replaced by another issue?
  • We seem to be much better off than in the past, but how much better? 
  • Each step into the future, our world becomes more complex. Technologies come and go. Newer technologies arrive on top of the older ones adding more complications and complexities in our lives. Can you think of examples of technologies that have become obsolete? How about some old ones that have stuck around? Can you think of any problems introduced by new technologies?
  • People are more anxious and overwhelmed, often barely coping with staying afloat in a sea of changing technology. 
  • Does your modern Technojungle life seem easier, or does it seem to be getting faster, more complex, busier, and more stressful? 
  • The future is just as messy and human as the past. 
  • Technologies and the corporations behind them gain more power over our lives in ways we don’t understand or even suspect. 
  • The future we do get is a version comprising elements of the past, some promises of hope, and a huge dose of both the expected and the unexpected. 
  • In a rapidly changing world and a never ending deluge of information, people become more bewildered and disoriented. Many become sad, confused, or anxious. They may be so consumed by the present they are unaware of the positive or negative issues of technological change in their life. 
  • Is there hope for humans? We can understand what we are observing and experiencing, we find hope. 
  • Become more active and proactive, turn the unexpected of the future into the expected and avoid undesirable baggage. 

So, the future never arrives. It is never exactly as we might expect it. Let’s talk about the last part of the book title.

There’s always baggage

…and it always brings baggage. This book has a long title and we have talked about the first two parts. Let’s look at the last part. What is baggage?

It’s here, the future has arrived! Wow, that’s a lot of baggage, the future must be here for a long stay. We should unpack the baggage, but how?

  • Unexpected, undesirable issues arriving with the future called baggage. Can you think of baggage the future has brought to your life? 
  • Do you often feel burdened by information overload, instead of liberated by knowledge?
  • Three kinds of baggage. 
    • Personal emotional baggage tags along with feelings — love, hate, fear, that we have as human beings. 
    • Second is baggage we need so we can carefully and safely safari to explore and examine the Technojungle (e.g. eyes and ears, our minds in curious mode, questions to ask) good baggage,  luggage, to pack. 
    • Third is the baggage referred to in book title; the unexpected aspects of technological change we must contend with as we move into the future. 
  • Learning how to spot and unpack the unexpected baggage our technology of the future brings.
  • Baggage of our lives (e.g. negative feelings) from experiences of the past, our bad habits, the baggage in relationships. 
  • Our safari baggage, includes opening our eyes, ears and mind; to Look, See, and Ask.
  • My goal is to help make you aware of what to look at and for, how to see what is actually happening, and to ask questions that get you thinking. 
  • The Technojungle has risen from human endeavours and will always be flawed. Humans are not perfect and have plenty of baggage, the machines and technologies, even the information, of the Technojungle will probably always have baggage too. 
  • Might it be a huge mistake, perhaps even arrogant, to think that any man-made creation will one day become perfect and solve all the problems of humanity? 
  • Could faults of humans and unexpected baggage always exist in all we involve ourselves with, and from whatever arises through the endeavours of humans? Would it be naive to think that anything humans create might overcome and be devoid of baggage? 
  • Will having faith in the Technojungle for a better future always hold some level of disappointment and have unexpected results? 
  • We are going to discover what we may use to improve our lives and make us more human. 
  • Technology is part of what makes us human. It can also dehumanize us.
  • Technology isn’t our primary focus or the end goal of this book. 
  • Focus on learning and understanding how and when we are dehumanized by technology so we can begin to aim for our ultimate goal—being human beings and living in this world of technology—the Technojungle.

Baggage comes with being human beings and also comes with the future through the Tecknojungle. Just what does it mean to be human?

The human being in focus

If we don’t know what being a human being means, we can’t understand our future. If we don’t understand who we are as human beings, how can we know when we are dehumanized?

We need to always be searching for what humanizes and what dehumanizes us. We must learn to recognize and understand the difference. We must continue to struggle to answer the questions, “What does being a human being mean?, and, What does it mean to be human?” 

  • Some scientists say being human comes down to our DNA. Other experts, the way that we can walk upright, use our fingers and hands. Others our humanity and humanness comes from the fact that we have been able to adapt so well to most conditions. Or it is the way we can think about what we are thinking—that we are self-aware. 
  • For some people our humanity and humanness are contained in our way of socializing. 
  • Another expert claimed that being able to ask questions makes us human. 
  • The movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the ape using a bone as a club.
  • We are conscious, communicate in complex ways, think creatively and abstractly, is it possible to verify that we are the only species with these characteristics? What about whales and dolphins?  
  • Humanity and humanness can partially be defined by our abilities to adapt to and change our surroundings, communicate in sophisticated ways, and to do other complicated tasks so well together. 
  • Whales and dolphins well suited to their environment, whereas humans can alter our environment in negative ways. 
  • A large technological city may seem like an advanced hub of activity until you consider pollution, traffic jams and other harmful and dehumanizing byproducts; not to mention that nature was destroyed to make the city—a city that becomes a human-made jungle. 
  • I included what The Oxford Dictionary of the English Language has to say on the subject. Then I added some of my thoughts:
    • We are aware of our eventual death. 
    • We struggle to stay alive, prolong our life, and heal ourselves. 
    • Don’t we paradoxically and illogically also do things that decrease our lifespan? 
  • Can you think of some high risk behaviours where there are definite dangers, and people choose to continue with the activity and even defend their choice? Is doing something healthy to counter something unhealthy unique to humans living in a Technojungle? Can you think about some activities or practices that we humans do as a group that are not healthy for us or our environment? 
  • What about things we do that seem better, but underneath probably don’t make sense? E.g. Oil and gas, bike lanes that cause traffic jams, the eroding of human moral by the media, to name a few. 
  • Are morals a human only trait? How about ethics?
  • We walk upright, use our hands, with unique opposable thumbs and index fingers, to do things that other species are not able to do. 
  • Evolution says we came from an animal that crawled around on all four limbs and evolved into walking upright, freeing the hands for special uses, but do we know of any proof of this in the fossil record? Can we see living examples of animals that might be at the in between stage? Can apes have the dexterity that a human has? 
  • Is it our unique physical structure and abilities that allow us to create and use technology? 
  • Are there reasons why apes live in the natural jungle while we humans create and live in our own jungle—the Technojungle?
  • I talked about robots and asked if robots will one day become indistinguishable from humans? Will humans someday become robots by migrating their mind and essence into a nearly indestructible technological body?
  • Does wearing clothing make us human? It hides our nakedness, allowing us to live in colder climates and to adjust our temperature as required, it protects us, and we use clothing and jewelry as fashion. Is clothing and fashion uniquely human? In what ways do we use clothing to enhance our lives and to make a statement about ourselves as to who we are as individuals? Can clothing dehumanize us? 
  • Don’t humans also have a number of emotional and psychological differences from other beings? How does clothing play a part in these differences?
  • What is human love? What does it mean to you? What are some of the many ways various forms of love can be expressed? The Greeks refer to four kinds of love. Is love arguably the strongest emotion that humans experience? Do you believe other animals experience love? How might animal love compare with, or differ from, human love?
  • A person deemed to have thoughts, emotions or behaviours not normal, or inappropriate, even destructive, they may undergo treatments so they meet with social norms. 
  • Personal trauma of military experiences and other traumatic experiences in our lives, when untreated, can dehumanize people and their families. 
  • Is war unique to humans? 
  • In what ways have you noticed love and war being assisted by technologies?
  • Humans have some sort of faith or belief that there is a spiritual side to them and the world—that there are gods or there is a God. Does this understanding exist in all societies? It might be cultural or part of what it means to be human, or both. Could it be that the belief technology will solve all humankind’s problems be the fastest growing faith? People discarding religion and may be clasping to the notion that technology will resolve all human problems and difficulties, but could this actually happen? Is this a faith—salvation by technology? Could this be the new path to being human, or to being unhuman? 
  • Two words humanity and humanness could be said to define the word human and what a human is. Can you go deeper than a simple definition and look for the more complex meanings to what really makes yourself and all of us human, and what it means for you and all of us to be human? 
  • This is what this book is really about—being human beings. What roles does technology play in making you more or less human? How and why? 
  • We have had technology from our earliest days, however, now that we are in the future, it seems to be not quite what we might have expected. 
  • We find ourselves in a jungle of technology—a Technojungle.

Now that we, hopefully, have a somewhat better understanding of what it means to be human, we need to look at that which constitutes the Technojungle—technology.

Technology—not our main focus

Is technology really part of what makes us human? Could we still be human without technology?

With technology becoming so human-like, we should wonder how we can continue to be human, or will our technology overshadows our human abilities and rise above us? We need to understand what exactly technology is so we can learn to recognize when technology is robbing us of our humanity and humanness. I have heard that technology is neutral, it is how we use it that can be positive or negative to us as humans. What do you think?

  • Technology is not our main focus of this book. 
  • Our exploration, observations, and examinations are to better understand our world of technology so we can learn how we can strive at being human beings and living in this world of technology—the Technojungle. Living is the key word here.
  • Technology in this book refers to mechanical technologies as devised, created and used by humans. 
  • Technology also impacts our data and information. 
  • This book does not discuss, for example, bio-technologies which are prominent in the news as a result of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, although the use of the Technojungle has increased and has ever greater impacts on our lives. Therefore the points and discussions in these books should be considered as having even greater bearing on the vigilance toward protecting our humanness and humanity. Bio-technologies and any other technologies not addressed in these books are other worlds of discussion and should be reserved for separate books.
  • There is one exception. I am including language as a technology. Language might fit somewhere in both mechanical and bio technologies (DNA contains a language)
  • First we asked the important question, just what is technology? 
  • Is technology anything we harness and craft, through the application of scientific knowledge and skills? Technology helps us to do what we could not otherwise do ourselves. It makes our lives easier, more efficient and comfortable. Technology is created externally from our body, however, we may use technology within our body. Can we say that language is a technology because it allows us to express and convey our thoughts and ideas to others and this is external from our body? 
  • Is information and knowledge, or even an idea, a form of technology? To create an idea, don’t we have to think about the something, or another idea, using language? Do we talk to ourselves using the technology of language?
  • We took a closer look at language as being similar to other complex technologies. It allows us to think about how to build more complex ideas and concepts and to transfer these to other people. Each new idea or concept can be combined with those of other people and used to build deeper, more complex ideas and concepts. Can you see how language is similar to the growth and development of other technologies? With language allowing us to codify our thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions, we can create knowledge. Can we say that knowledge of how to do things, or the application of knowledge, is technology?
  • Can you think of ways we humans take various technologies and develop them from one simple form to more complex forms? 
  • When and how a particular technology humanizes or dehumanizes is important to understand if we want to remain as human as we can. Technology does seem to be tightly linked to what makes us human, but, should we allow technology to change what it means for us to be human beings? 
  • There was a sidebar discussing what the ancient people thought about technology.
  • In the complex life we live in this Technojungle, how do we actually move ourselves ahead as human beings? Or are we living so that our technology might move ahead? 
  • If we are overwhelmed by technologies of the Technojungle, could the same be said about technology and the Technojungle being overwhelmed by humanity? 
  • Look at the technological advances over the past one hundred years, can we say that our societies and cultures, our humanness and humanity, have advanced and progressed to the same degree? 
  • What do you think advanced humanity and humanness would mean or look like? Is an advanced civilization necessarily and highly technological one? Would being highly knowledgable and wise without the use of technologies such as the Internet be considered an advanced human being? How about a world where everybody could get along together?
  • Do you think early humans used a technology as simple as a club to perform both tasks of a positive nature and ones of a negative nature (killing) that propelled them into becoming the dominant species on Earth? In the absence of any other Technojungle technology, wouldn’t a simple tool such as a club be an amazing technology? Can you think of other early technologies? What may have come next after the club? 
  • The pace of technological change seems to have suddenly been accelerating exponentially over the past couple of hundred years. 
  • Can we actually outline some measurable parameters defining what it means to be human? 
  • What if we overlay the developmental progress of our humanness over the hockey stick-like graph of the acceleration of Technojungle development? Could the progress of humans be a similar sort of graph? 
  • Milestones as stepping stones of progress would be few and far between over most of history until recent times. 
  • What will happen if, at some point, the rate of change outpaces our ability to adjust to the ways in which our life changes? Do you think we humans will find a way to slow technology down, or will this happen automatically? 
  • In observing us in our daily living, what might another thinking animal think about us? Would it think that we are amazing because we create incredible Technojungle of technologies that help us? Or would it think that we are weak because we can’t survive without help? 
  • Can we even separate ourselves as humans from our Technojungle? Are we foreigners in the Technojungle, or have we become some sort of technohumans? As we develop more technology and integrate it into our lives, might we one day become our technology, or could technology become who we are? Might we become technology with some small amount of humanity and humanness? Could it be that some form of technology might one day become human? Has this to some degree already happened?
  • Can you see that, as we moved from machines for manufacturing and travel to computers, part of what has created the steep slope of the hockey stick happened as we crossed into the realm of digital technologies? If we have given our lives over to thinking machines that we have created, then we must ask the final question—What does it mean to be human in a world of technology—the Technojungle?
  • Finally, we had a couple more definitions of technology. Technology is what results from human creative thinking. Technology helps to overcome the limitations of, and to extend the abilities of, humans. What is your own answer to,”What is technology?”

I hope you have a clearer understanding of what technology is. Have you ever wondered where technology comes from? How does technology make us who we are?

Dancing with technology 

Do we create technology, or does it create us? How does technology shape our lives?

We humans created the first instance of technology which began the Technojungle, and a dance. But what has it done for us and what has it done to us? Once technological development starts it can act like the snowball and keep changing—creating, re-creating and re-inventing itself. Remember this is a characteristic of technologies.

  • Like dancing, we are constantly being re-created and re-invented by our creating of, and use of, our Technojungle technologies. How much and how fast the Technojungle changes reduces the time we humans have to adjust and integrate new technologies into our lives. Sometimes a technology or innovation may disappear and seem to die only to reappear at a time later when we are ready. 
  • How is the creation and invention of the internal combustion engine and the automobile a great example of how technology changed humans? The gasoline engine didn’t catch on right away, partially due to expense and partially because people were, more or less used to getting along with what they had and what their parents had used. Henry Ford created an affordable automobile and that changed the way people live. 
  • Early automobiles were electric, however they disappeared. What were the reasons? Why did the internal combustion engine acquire such technological gains? Why was the technology required for a good reliable electric automobile slower in development? What might our lives, society and the world be like had electric vehicles been recognized as the better alternative? Around 125 to 150 years later, technologies for reliable electric cars needed to be developed, then people had to be convinced to change over. The electric car is a good example where having some technological insight and oversight would have had a dramatic change in the future. This is exactly the sort of issue we need to be aware of as we safari through the Technojungle.
  • Hasn’t the automobile gone on to transform and re-create, not only the lives of humans, but the landscape of the country with a jungle highways? Henry Ford opened larger manufacturing plants employing ever greater numbers of humans in repetitive assembly line jobs that dehumanized and mechanized people. Didn’t the automobile also created a new group of humans who adapted and could travel great distances quickly and reliably? How did it provide a new freedom that perhaps could be seen as humanizing? What are some of the other ways the automobile, and its industry and related industries, changed humans and the world? How have they humanized or dehumanized?
  • Do you see that the more we enjoy and rely on particular technologies, the more they can control and manipulate, even humanize or dehumanize, our Technojungle lives? 
  • As you observe a technology on your safaris trough the Technojungle, ask yourself how it is influencing, shaping—creating you and the world? How is it changing your life? How does it humanize and how does it dehumanize you?
  • In what ways do humans dance with their technologies to find new ways to live? We can ask, “If this is dancing, who leads?” “Do we take turns?” If we lose control of our Technojungle technologies, we will certainly not be leading, will we? We can also ask, “What is the music we are dancing to in the Technojungle?” “Can we hear it, or are we simply following along?” 
  • Are we the same humans that we were a thousand years ago? How about a hundred years ago, even fifty years ago? Are we better off? Don’t we still face dangers and many problems just as our ancient ancestors did? The dangers are just different in the modern Technojungle. 
  • As we dance and change our technologies, don’t they change us in both positive and negative ways? Can you think of some examples? Won’t being aware of how we are changed, along with our world around us, help us to make the best choices regarding our use of technology and in being human beings in the Technojungle?

As we design, develop and use technologies, they shape our lives in sometimes unpredictable ways. It is important, as we safari, to maintain a good understanding of how the Technojungle humanizes and dehumanizes us. Part of what makes us human is that we are creative. What are some of the other words related to creativity and how do they differ?

Creativity, or…

Creation, innovation, invention, and perhaps improvisation. What is the difference? These are only some of the important aspects which make us human. They are important in relation to technology.

Can a machine be creative? Being creative is part of what makes us human and humans make machines. So as our machines strive to become more human-like, could we assume they will one day be just as creative as us?

  • We looked at the creative aspect of being human. 
  • What is the difference between creation, innovation and invention? Can you define these in your own words before reading on?
  • They are all deeply part of what it means to be human. 
  • Is creativity more closely related to the arts? Is innovation more often used in business, sciences and technology? What do you understand invent, or invention, to mean? How do you hear these words being used? How do you use these words? 
  • When one invents something, is that not an innovation? Creation, or creativity, seems to be part of the process of inventing and innovating, including the inspiration. I hear it being used mostly to describe a human endeavour that is artistic.  
  • I added another word to the mix, improvisation, or to improvise which I suggested seems to embody much of what the other three do. Sometimes we improvise to come up with a way to do something when we don’t actually have what we need. In jazz music, and often in other artistic endeavours, we improvise to make something new out of material on hand, or components of music in the case of jazz. What do improvisation and to improvise mean to you? Can you think of times when you improvised?
  • I suggested that, as human activities, they must include mistakes and failures. Aren’t mistakes and failures ways we learn and find new creative ways of doing things? Instead of beating yourself up over failure, embrace it and learn. Be child-like and play. Did you realize we can play in the Technojungle as we safari? 
  • Although the Technojungle is getting smarter and simulating more human-like attributes, these attributes should be among the most difficult for the Technojungle to emulate. Have you considered what artificial creativity might be like and how you might spot it? Can computers actually create or are they simply pulling together pieces from other human creations? Is this what we humans do? The activities of creativity, innovation, invention, and improvisation might simply be borrowing and repurposing parts of previous works. 
  • We added even more attributes including imagination, inspiration, ingenuity, insight, and intuition. We can be influenced by something to do something else, or we may act on impulse. People often have vision to achieve something. We also have cleverness, wit, genius, perception, and are expressive. We don’t know how most of these human traits happen, but once again, nurturing these traits and abilities would certainly help to protect from artificial emulations and make us more human. Do these come part and parcel with intelligence. 
  • A final human trait was added. This was curiosity, or inquisitiveness, toward everything. While that means a deep desire to learn about something; to ask or inquire, who, what, where, when, and why, there is something much deeper. We wonder about and ponder things.
  • I suggested that being curious, wondering, and pondering are other important human tools to pack in our baggage to take on safari through the Technojungle. 
  • I concluded by adding that it would seem curiosity leads us to creativity. If we want to become better at being human beings and learning to truly live in the Technojungle then we should seek to always be curious and to nurture our abilities of being creative, innovative, inventive and at improvisation? 

Creativity and curiosity are both deeply human. We can hope that our machines never become proficient at reaching into this realm of our existence, however they are trying. Our technologies and our creative abilities are intertwined. There is one technology that is at the heart of what makes this possible. It is an amazing technology.

Language—an amazing technology

You understand and then create using technology. But, how do you think, how do you understand?

When I hear and see written languages other than English, I am amazed and wonder how something as complex and technical as a language developed. Here I am struggling with my one language, English, and then I find out a teenager has learned nine languages. She told me she learned them by “…looking them up on the Internet.”

  • Began by looking at why language is a technology. It is used to codify thoughts and ideas into a message and then to transmit the message through a medium, often simply air, to someone else. We create complex communications which convey and help other people understand our thoughts, ideas, feelings, and emotions. Since our languages can be crafted into more complex varieties, such as new words, or dialects, they have the same attributes of what defines a technology.
  • Does the ability to have an idea require some form of language? Imagine you are alone, with no other being with whom to interact, would you even have, or need, a language? What would it be like not to have any sort of language? Would you simply experience feelings and emotions, but not have a way to understand them? Would you only be able to understand your feelings and emotions in a vague sort of way? 
  • I asked how you think our human languages began? Expressions, gestures and body language, sounds like grunts and groans. To express our human feelings and emotions, we need some way to codify them into something that has mutual meaning and can therefore be understood by more than one person. The process of thinking about what one is feeling and how to express a feeling or emotion develops more complex ways to communicate until, finally, we have language that can codify and express a vast range of human concepts, thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions—our humanness.
  • What are dialects? 
  • Human languages can be represented by encoding them with symbols that can be written, read and understood by other human beings. We considered the English language alphabet.
  • I mentioned some of my experiences with other languages.
  • Computers of the Technojungle have languages.  
  • Many computers can also understand natural human languages. With artificial intelligence computers can actually learn by combining various bits of understood information to build new understanding. Computers can use what they know to do things much quicker that humans. 
  • Have you tried using dictation on your computer? What was that like?
  • Language can be used in both good ways and bad ways as we express ourselves. One may say nice things or mean and even nasty things to another person. In certain circumstances they can become carriers of peace and empowerment of people, or word weapons of mass destruction.  Having thousands of languages in our world can be dehumanizing as it separates us into groups who can’t always easily communicate with each other. As the people of the planet all convert to the English language, will this help us at being better human beings and living in the Technojungle?

Have you ever thought of language as a technology? We use language to create something truly remarkable and closely associated with our technologies—data and information, and knowledge and wisdom, but what’s the difference between these?

Data to wisdom—it’s a long path

Is information the same as knowledge? If we have data and information at our fingertips, do we have knowledge at our fingertips? What are the differences between all these by-products of human activities?

By-products, they sound like something you may not really wanted. I see by-products of human activity as—never mind what you are really thinking—data, information, knowledge, understanding and wisdom. When I took a few minutes to consider what each is, I discovered that it’s a long complex path from data to wisdom. Do you know and understand the differences between data, information, knowledge, understanding and wisdom?

  • Is ‘knowledge at your fingertips’? Or is what you find through the Internet data and information. The Internet is called the ‘Information Superhighway’, not the ‘Knowledge Superhighway’. Is it knowledge to you if you have to look it up? Do you know it, understand it, and can use and apply it? How would you define knowledge?
  • When could you say you know how to spell the word? When you have the information, or when you have spelled the word following some information? Or, is it when you can actually spell the word on your own? If you want to say you know what the word means, you need to be able to use it correctly in constructing a sentence. What about skills and abilities?
  • We moved on to discussing social media. Who is actually your friend? Technojungle social media has utterly destroyed the traditional meaning of the word ‘friend’. Does ‘friend’ still hold special importance in forming a relationship with someone? With social media, you may have a digital Technojungle cyber-friend whom you know very little, if anything, about. There could be no actual relationship involved. 
  • ‘Likes’ in the Technojungle are collected as if they are endorsements, when they are seldom any sort of thoughtful opinions of interest. Do Likes in social media seem more like meaningless casual careless clicks? What about endorsements? 
  • What is out there in cyberspace of the Technojungle that people so often call knowledge? Is it somebody else’s knowledge? Other people have taken their knowledge, usually including their own opinions and perspectives, and turned it into data and information. It is just Technojungle data and information to you until you know it and then it becomes knowledge, usually through some combinations that include education, training, skill acquisition and experience. I suggested that we not allow the notion of knowledge to be degraded, but let us hold it in high esteem as that which we strive to attain. 
  • There’s something peculiar about looking up data and information in the Technojungle. Usually most people have to look it up again because it did not become actual knowledge to them. Because information is so easy to look up, they didn’t bother to learn and create their own knowledge. Understanding how learning occurs is important. It really helps to have an engaging experience with the data and information.
  • Misconceptions of information, knowledge and understanding versus truth and reality can create confusing, dehumanizing dilemmas in our Technojungle world. I’m sure you can think of one right now?
  • Remember that data and information come in many forms including signs, symbols, graphics, sounds, text, and much more. To a computer, everything is simply data—technojumble.  
  • Data and information are closely related, so how do they differ? Could we say then that when data is assembled into formations that can be more easily recognized by a human, it forms a message and thus it becomes information? Doesn’t information usually convey meaning while data may be more obscure? Do they both convey meaning?
  • What exactly is knowledge? If you know something, shouldn’t you be able to do more than simply repeat it, but apply and use it? You may be able to repeat something and still not understand it. Does the level we know something depend on our understanding?
  • What about situations when we memorize something and then say we know it? Doesn’t an actor who memorizes lines also have to have some understanding of the character and situation? Isn’t that more on a level of knowledge and understanding? 
  • Is it possible we are being told that the Technojungle Internet brings us knowledge so we will no longer bother to learn anything because we can always look up data and information we need when we need it?  
  • Isn’t learning a complex human process that does not necessarily occur from looking at information once on a Technojungle webpage? What does learning mean to you? 
  • What happens when you feed the Internet and the Technojungle with information from your human life, or about you? It gets broken-down into meaningless data, wrapped into many packets and dispersed through various paths before being re-assembled at the destination into your original message only in raw data form. In a way, it gets chewed up and digested in some way.  
  • Let’s not allow technology, the Internet—the Technojungle—to replace our human brains.  
  • Can you explain what understanding and wisdom are? 
  • You learn terminology, and then what the terms mean, including defining and explaining in your own words with examples. You learn to recognize the use of particular information by someone else and use your knowledge to know why it is used. Next you are able to apply information yourself in particular situations because to have a full understanding. Finally, you go out in the world and, not only use what you have learned, but you know when and how to do so in significant ways and even make modifications. This is mastery or wisdom. You use more than knowledge, by employing your own experience, understanding, common sense, insight, judgment, compassion, and even ethics.
  • Could machines one day exhibit wisdom? What would that seem like? Would it be real, or imitation? How would a machine show true compassion in wisdom?

Now we should be clearer on the differences between information and knowledge. We might even better understand what data and understanding are. Now let’s look at what we can do with information and knowledge and at how they get communicated. How do we transmit or share our information and knowledge?

Communicating—not as easy as you think

Getting our message across to another person is a complicated process. You may have wondered why it can be so difficult at times.

Over my many years, I’ve seen careless and even sloppy communications. This phenomenon seems to be getting worse, particularly through the use of Technojungle technologies. It happens even with highly educated people. Even worse is that people usually don’t bother to consider why their communication efforts fail and don’t seem to want to improve on their skills. I do get frustrated. I try to write clear thoughtful E-mails for example, reading and editing before I send. Often people don’t bother to read the entire E-mail and may just respond to the first thing that hits them. This is yet another frustrating phenomenon. Certainly the Technojungle brings us amazing ways to communicate, yet if not used carefully, Technology-mediated communication can be less effective than expected.

  • This chapter was about the crucial and complex task of communicating for which we require language to transmit our feelings, emotions, concepts, thoughts and ideas as information. 
  • We transmit feelings, emotions, concepts, thoughts and ideas through writing, but aren’t they simply letters forming words that, once arranged, become information on the page? What do readers need to do; what is their part; what must happen? They have to read the words, sentences and paragraphs, and then attach meaning and understanding. They may then have your own feelings, emotions, concepts, thoughts and ideas about what is conveyed. 
  • Can you think of a time when you told somebody something, only to find out later that they did not remember or did not do something you asked of them? What happened?
  • I mentioned a game where people sit in a circle and tell a story in the ear of each person. 
  • Experts say that most people can remember between four and seven things at once.
  • For centuries large amounts of information were transmitted orally, often through story, poem and song, which would help with memory and understanding. Why do you think we seem to be unable to transmit large amounts of information to each other orally? How could long ancient works, such as the Greek works of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey be transmitted orally for centuries before finally being written?
  • Is one-way transmission of information communication? Isn’t this actually broadcasting? I talked about radio and TV broadcasting. Would it be a good idea to include broadcasting as part of more general forms Technojungle communication? How do we differentiate between one-way and two-way communications in the Technojungle? 
  • How do you know if the two important aspects of communicating, receiving and understanding, are occurring? By some sort of acknowledgment or feedback. You might also need to know that, if needed, the message was acted on.   
  • Why can our communication attempts often become confusing and even fail? What makes good communicating? Are you careful to understand when your Technojungle communication experience is one-way or two-way? Do you consider the limitations of the way you are communicating through the Technojungle?
  • Suppose the person was busy when you attempted my communication and what if you didn’t have their attention? “ 
  • Researchers say around 80 percent of what a person says when they talk to another person is non-verbal, such as gestures, facial expressions, other body language along with inflections in one’s voice. If you want to communicate your message in the best way possible, shouldn’t you be face-to-face with the other person(s), not using Technojungle technology (other than language), and make sure you have their entire attention? 
  • What is the medium? Think about the various Technojungle mediums you use to communicate? How effective are they? What goes wrong? What is the main, most common and most important medium? 
  • Lip-reading might also become part of why face-to-face communication works so well?
  • We looked at noise. 
  • Can you think of some obstacles, ones mentioned and others, your message can face which can lead to your message being misunderstood? Consider perception and perspective on the topic. 
  • Can you think of other ways communications can humanize or dehumanize people? I mentioned some thoughts about E-mail. 
  • Observe one-way and two-way communication and how effective they are. Can you come up with some ways you can humanize your communications more?
  • Can you explain the differences between synchronous and asynchronous and give some examples? What might be the pros and cons of each? 
  • The communication model discussed, which includes feedback, falls under what is known as Transactional Communications.  
  • Ask yourself, how you, and all of us, are humanized or dehumanized by the various ways we communicate in and through the Technojungle?

You may begin to pay more attention to how well you communicate. It is absolutely necessary to have a shared experience with another person. Our creativity, language, information, knowledge and communications with each other allows for a very complex shared experience. What do we call this shared experience?

We are cultured

Where does culture come from? If we are unique individuals, what brings us together to a shared experience?

I admit that I am not much of a world traveler, so I have not had first-hand experiences with places and people much different than myself. The Technojungle has allowed me glimpses through various media, however, I still feel a great distance. What is it that I am missing? How is the Technojungle changing places and people of the world?

  • Human culture is how a group of people live, their beliefs, values, morals and ethics. It’s what a group of people do that makes them unique. A variety of shared notable attitudes and characteristics that distinguish one group from another group of people expressed through their unique language, art, and various other activities. Many groups share some of the same characteristics. 
  • Have you thought much about what culture is? How do you define culture?
  • What are some of the places and ways culture emerges in your life and society? What are cultural norms?
  • What do you see as causes of cultural changes?
  • In what ways have you seen cultures change, or even disappear, due to technological change and globalization?
  • How do you believe culture helps to define who we are as human beings? How is culture part of what makes us unique and individual, but also part of a group? While we do attempt to think individually, are we actually thinking more commonly within our group and culture? In other words, doesn’t the culture of our society, group or tribe tend to influence how we think? Is it possible to think outside of the norms of the cultures you belong to?
  • I mentioned some important aspects of our lives the Technojungle influences and reinforces, what are they?
  • How do you see technology helping to define aspects of our human culture and what it means to be human in both positive and negative ways?
  • The Civil Rights Movement was an example of how TV technologies brought about both negative and then positive changes. Think of some other examples of technology being used to influence cultural changes. 
  • As the culture around you changes, do you also somehow automatically change, even if you resist at first? Do you eventually give-in? Do you just try to adapt? Do you take on different approaches to life? Do you try to organize how you want to live within the constructs and structure of your society and culture? 
  • If you’re a world traveler, have you noticed any cultures using technologies in ways different from what you would expect?
  • What else can you think of that contributes to the creation of culture?  
  • In what ways do you see your culture reflected in, and related to, the Technojungle? Can you think of some examples of how technology and the Technojungle create culture, or how culture can create technology and the Technojungle? Does the Technojungle exert a greater influence on culture than most people think?  
  • How does power create sub-societies of upper class citizens with their own cultures. What is the phenomenon called the digital divide?
  • The Technojungle can give corporations enormous power which can create a separation of those who are in control of money, information and power from those who do not have much money, information and less power. Can the reverse somehow also be true? Or was that notion a promise that has evaporated into the ether of the Technojungle resulting in even more power for corporations?
  • Reflectors of culture. Music and technology have been dancing for decades. Our look included recorded music and how technological changes have influenced listening to music and influenced our culture.
  • How have formats of recorded music and distribution methods changed? Is it less about the music and more about the dehumanizing corporations making money? Has music become less of a focused listening activity and more of a blended noise into the everyday din of the world and the Technojungle? Do you follow your own musical interests or simply listen to an algorithm curated playlist? Can artistic aspects and the quality of the music suffer along with the reproduction and the activity of listening? Why do you think some people have made a change back to the musical experiences of the past, such as with the LP record?
  • Do you seek to find the groups that give you a sense of belonging, that suit you and what you find as a comfortable culture?
  • We considered cultural aspects that we have been born with, and others that we adapt or adopt to help define who we are as individuals—our identity. Why do you think human beings have a great need for individuality and personal identity as well as group cultures? What cultural aspects of you were you born with and which ones have you acquired either consciously or unconsciously? In what ways is your identity shaped by culture around you?  
  • Do the online Technojungle worlds have their own cultures? Is there an overall online culture? How do online cultures change your offline culture? Do you believe people think about cultural change, or do people just get swept along?
  • Do the characteristics of culture apply in the online Technojungle world in similar ways as they do in the physical human world? How are they different? How does someone’s online culture change if they are from a different culture from your own? What aspects of online culture have you experienced? 
  • What cultural norms do you find within the online worlds you visit?  Do you try to be the real you online, or do you change who you really are?
  • In what ways are we building an online Technojungle world that imitates and is also, in many ways, culturally reflective of the real human world? How in other ways is it different, perhaps even much less human? 
  • Can technology eliminate a culture, or does it only influence cultural practices?
  • Do you think computers could advance enough with artificial intelligence to understand, or adopt, human culture, or even develop their own culture? 

Our cultural practices can be very closely tied to technology and the Technojungle. Our culture may develop and use certain technologies and the Technojungle can shape and alter our culture. One cultural Technojungle phenomenon is recorded music. 

Have music wherever you go

The Technojungle changes music, how it is created, recorded, and listened to. Music, if you could call some of it that, can now go with you and be with you wherever you go. 

Ride a cockhorse to Banbury Cross,

To see a fine lady upon a white horse;

Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,

She shall have music wherever she goes.

“Ride a cockhorse to Banbury Cross,”

By Mother Goose

My mother used to say this nursery rhyme when I was very young. I may only have a wedding ring, and I may not have bells on my toes, but I do have earbuds. I can have music wherever I go.

  • I began by mentioning what listening to early recorded music was like. Have you heard ideas of the Technojungle bringing the demise of certain cultural activities such as music or theater?
  • I related my experiences with recorded music and how I watched the ways people listened to music as Technojungle technology changed. 
  • At least seven recorded music formats were mentioned, how many can you describe? Which ones represent the leap to digital?
  • What was the burst of piracy and why?
  • Why were early digital audio files made small in size? What was the problem with this?
  • Music could be carried everywhere and listened to through almost invisible earbuds. Thus people could tune-out the world.
  • We looked at the introduction of the MP3 format of music and the ways music was shared over networks. What two types of file networks were mentioned? Describe the huge problem with file sharing networks?
  • Does the convenience and quantity of MP3 formatted recorded music make up for the difference in quality? Is this possibly humanizing? 
  • Describe some equipment changes that occurred as music went from analog to digital? 
  • What cultural shifts and norms have you noticed arising from the ability for people to carry their very own music with them everywhere? Could any of these cultural shifts be considered dehumanizing? Should we also be concerned about the somewhat mesmerizing digital music that many young people listen to?
  • There was cultural push-back against technology and the Technojungle, what was it? What did I believe was another aspect lost in audio reproduction with MP3s and digital technologies?
  • Despite the drawbacks, what did I mention as other positive points about LP records?
  • We took an even closer look at this phenomenon of how changing music into various formats changed culture. What cultural aspect did albums allow?
  • After the digital version of LPs came CDs, then music began to be distributed in MP3 format, what happened?
  • What is streaming and how does it differ from its predecessor formats? What is a Playlist?
  • How do you listen to music? Do you like music to be playing in the background, or do you prefer to have music played when you can pay attention to it? What Technojungle technologies do you use when listening to music? How do the technologies influence the music and the ways you listen to music? Is music becoming more cultural specific or more general? Is music becoming more or less humanizing? 

The art form of recorded music has become mobil and has deeply influenced our culture. Our musical culture, as with everything that touches the Technojungle, is constantly changing. Sometimes it seems that the only thing in our world and our lives that doesn’t change is that everything changes.

Spare change

Many people do not like change, yet we live in a constantly changing world that affects our culture deeply.

For many years I had such a fascination, and still do to a certain extent, with the notion of change. I even had a column in the local paper. I watched as things that caused change helped with living in this world and disrupted living in this Technojungle world. I often wondered if technological change could be slowed just long enough for more people to adjust. Can the Technojungle keep up its rapid pace of change?

  • Do you think the Technojungle changes faster than we humans do? Do you feel you are always playing catch-up? Or are you someone who likes to have a lot of things around you changing quickly?
  • Describe the two debates about the changing Earth that were mentioned and why they are debatable? What are your views on these debatable topics? 
  • If we consider the Earth as being one huge natural jungle, could the human-made Technojungle be in competition with the natural jungle and possibly trying to take over? 
  • Are we humans some sort of disease, virus, or infection, to the Earth? Our desire to dominate has caused extreme devastation to the planet. Is the Earth retaliating in some way? Do you believe that one day humans will be able to use the Technojungle to attempt to control these natural events?
  • If the Earth is no longer a pristine natural world and the impacts of our human Technojungle can be seen from outer space, how has our relationship with the Earth changed? 
  • Everything seems to remain the same, unless some force acts on it. Our minds, thoughts, beliefs and values, for example, probably remain close to the same until something challenges them. A computer just sits and does not seem to be changing. This is the state until I press a key. Then the computer does something very quickly and returns to just sitting there again asking, “What next?” Is everything in the Technojungle like that, changing only when a human does something? 
  • The Technojungle heavily influences social change. 
  • Would life be boring to you if there was less change? It seems people need to reinvent ways to live every few years. 

Did you change your mind about change and what it means to you? Are you a person who embraces change or do you prefer to have things stay much the same? Have you ever wondered if the world really has to be so complex?

All systems go for launch!

We and our world consists of interwoven systems and processes that make our lives complex. “It’s complicated!”

Are ‘all systems go’ for launch always? All systems are not always go for launch, just ask NASA. I grew up following the US space race with Russia. At some point during the coverage of a launch, a man would announce, “All systems are go for launch” and the countdown would continue to blastoff. I lived in the US at the time and usually watched the CBS News coverage of all the launches. I recall that Walter Cronkite anchored almost all of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo launches. He had to carefully weave his commentary between the technical announcements that came from mission control. These announcements covered many of the systems and processes required for the final ‘go’ signal. 

  • What might happen without systems and processes? What do you think your life might be like? 
  • Can you define what a system is and what a process is? What are some of the systems and processes in your life?  
  • Do non-natural systems and processes always involve information, or communication, or some form of technology? 
  • We wondered if all systems and processes, other than in nature, rely on technologies, what do you think? 
  • Can you name some systems and processes in your computer?
  • Systems are definitely not always go for launch. This should be something we keep in mind as we safari. 
  • Don’t all systems, from time to time, experience human operator error or interference? What is a transient error? Have you ever heard someone refer to a computer glitch? Mechanical devices wear out. Could some sort of Technojungle digital device one day be able to operate forever, free of glitches? Maybe smart machines will get sick, or have a mental illness like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey. What is your opinion?
  • How do systems and processes help to make you more or less human in the Technojungle? Spend some time considering this question, since systems and processes are a huge aspect of the Technojungle and our future may consist of even more than we have today. 

Stop occasionally as you safari and see if you can spot the various systems and processes that surround you and even envelop you. We like systems and processes to organize our lives. Try to determine how, where and when certain systems and processes might be dehumanizing. Some systems and processes can’t be turned off. Let’s have a look at one of the most important systems and processes related to what we are studying.

The Internet Jungle

Where did the Internet come from? Where is the Internet located? How has it grown? Is there a plug to pull if one day we no longer want it? How did I discover the Internet?  

I remember the first personal computers. I remember using a modem to connect over phone lines to a computer or server. I remember using a modem to connect to the new world called the Internet. I remember the day a co-worker told me that he had just got cable Internet. “It’s just always there!”, he commented. That now seems to me to be a huge thing, a leap we never understood, never realized the impact of, and certainly never expected. It is always there, we are always connected to this vast unknown world that seems like a jungle—the Internet.

  • We took a safari back into the origins of the Internet.  
  • Are you old enough to remember a time without some of the technologies, such as computers and the Internet? What was life like? Have you talked about this with anyone of a younger generation?
  • If something catastrophic went wrong with the Technojungle Internet and cell phone systems, could we shut them down and turn them off? Could we somehow escape the hold the Internet has on our lives if we needed to?
  • In only a few decades, the telephone has become our best friend. We now call it a smartphone. Could you manage to live without your phone, or the Internet, or the Technojungle? Do you think you could manage to live your life now without a computer, the Internet, or a smartphone?
  • Originally, commercial and corporate use of the Internet was forbidden. When that changed course of humanity in the Technojungle was changed. Have you wondered if corporate pressure forced the change?
  • The ideas for connecting Technojungle computers together were being devised and developed back as the 1960s Can you think of some responses you might get if you went back in time to ask people involved those developments what they expected the future of connected computers would be?
  • I related my first experiences with the online world and the Internet. Along the way I mentioned how the US military was involved in the foundations of the Internet as part of the Cold War. What was one of the main reasons for developing the Internet and what was the most important characteristic necessary (hint, it may be sort of an urban legend)? 
  • Can you name a couple of reasons the Technojungle makes huge strides? The technologies of the Post-modern Technojungle, such as the Internet, are not the ingenious inventions of Edison-like inventors. They are the result of the political and economic efforts of governments and agencies, along with teams of brilliant people and unimaginable funding. 
  • Our online Technojungle, supported by the Internet, is the biggest most powerful business humankind has ever seen or participated in.  
  • What was the secret to ensuring a message or file would reach its destination? Can you explain how this works?
  • It was noticed that separate Networks could be linked together, however, they would have to share standardized protocols. Can you name a few that still today form the backbone of the Internet? Think of the many acronyms you use when dealing with the Internet and the online Technojungle world. 
  • I discussed how archaic the early Internet was, some early subscription services, and attempts to make computers and online systems more ‘user-friendly. What was the major change that made computes more user-friendly? 
  • The Internet is holding many carrots of promises in front of us to lure us into a future of hope—salvation through Technojungle technologies. What was the system I ran as a hobby? How did I connect it to the online world? Can you remember any other points in my story? What is the industrial strength operating system of the Technojungle world of the Internet?
  • I continued to explain my very first experience with the World Wide Web, webpages, and hypertext links through free software called Mosaic.
  • Business people were asking why they would ever need a website. Nobody had even an inkling of what was possible and where the technologies could go. 
  • The Internet has improved, but I find that it is still archaic at times. There are plenty of things that can and do go wrong. This makes me wonder why we trust technology—the Technojungle—with so many important aspects of our lives. How do you feel about the safety and security of your information on the Internet? 
  • It’s been around 50 years, and we have taken a seedling of the online Technojungle and grown a vast jungle of networks that has changed the course of humanity. This is such a short period of time, relative to human history and is an unprecedented massive growth compared to the growth of us as human beings. Take a moment to compare how we humans have grown as the result of the growth of the Technojungle? Have our lives as human beings improved as much as the Internet has? Did this, or any other technology, solve the Cold War, or was it our humanness and humanity? Are we that much smarter than we were before the Internet came into our lives, or has the Internet learned more about us? If the last 50 years of the Internet moved it from awkward and cumbersome to what we have today, what might the next 50 years bring? 
  • Is there a centre or core to the Internet, or for the entire Technojungle. Could it be shut down? If yes, then how? If No then why? Do you believe the Internet has something like the human trait to survive?
  • Why do we need to find ways to guarantee that humans are always in control—that we are prepared for the unexpected? Should we bother to gather ideas to ensure that we humans always have the upper hand and remain in control? The Internet is often presented as the go to place to do almost anything, but how humanizing is that activity you are doing?

The Internet has become the backbone of life in the modern Technojungle. Without it, our lives would be quite different. It is here to stay and now that we know a little more about it, let’s have another word about computers.

Byte out of the Apple

Knowledge and the Apple. There are some remarkable aspects of Apple.

When I look around as I safari (Safari is the name of the web browser software that comes included in the Apple MacOS), I see the positive and the negative impacts of technology, and I don’t mean just the obvious spread of good and evil information. I have heard people over the years state that technology, like everything we make, can be used for good or evil. This may be true, but could it also be true that some technology may be simply not as good for us as humans as we believe? Particularly if we are not careful how we use it. Is technology always neutral? Think about these questions as you read this book and go on safari.

  • What are we getting into and where are we going with all this high technology (hi-tech)? What is it and the Technojungle promising for our future? We began with these questions.
  • Do you have a love-hate relationship with technology? How about the Technojungle in general?
  • Should we believe that every technological advancement moves us humans forward improving our lives? Do you see any technologies as detrimental to our lives? Are we becoming more human in some ways and less human in other ways? Did we cross over to a new paradigm when we adopted digital technology? Do you find some things are fundamentally different in the digital Technojungle—perhaps less humanizing? While so much of this book focuses on the digital and online Technojungle, our true focus must be on, just how are we made more or less human by particular aspects of the Technojungle?
  • We looked at the birth of computers amid war and secret codes. 
  • Who was Alan Turing and what was his idea about a machine? What is the Turing Test? What about human idiosyncrasies? Analog human thinking is not only emotional it is imperfect in unpredictable ways. In the Turing test, what human traits do you think might indicate an answer came from a human?
  • I continued with the Turing story which ended in suicide. Then I asked: Should we tread carefully in the Technojungle given this story describing the roots of computers in war and espionage?
  • I wondered, if the Technojungle, in trying to think like a human and not quite being able to get it, will also commit suicide someday in the not as expected future? 
  • In which ways are you captivated by computers, the Internet and the entire Technojungle? 
  • Next we looked at what happened in the 1970s to take computer beyond the realm of corporations to personal computing introduced by Apple Computers Inc.
  • From there we looked at a few interesting aspects of Apple computers and the personal computing industry. First, what is a byte
  • What are some of the ways humans were transformed when personal computers entered their lives? Are computers just devices, or do they carry us into a foreign world which is incompatible with the physical analog nature of a human being? Can we actually say digital information exists, even when it does not exist in a physical form?  
  • One can go to a webpage without going anywhere. One can communicate with another person without ever meeting them, or be their friend without knowing them. What do these mean for us as humans? Can you think of any other paradoxes?
  • Isn’t the Technojungle an extremely confusing, …um, place, world, experience? Is all this real? Do we really know what the digital and online Technojungle is? Do we know who we are in the Technojungle? What should we, and what do you, expect in the future? I hope we can begin to clarify at least some of this as we safari onward with this book.
  • Have you ever wondered why we have onscreen buttons and other graphics to make the digital world look like our physical world? Isn’t all this contributing to a clumsy, awkward exchange between humans and computers? If computers get smart enough somewhere in the future, will this frustrate the computer into perhaps bypassing humans? Might the computer of the future, even the Technojungle, decide to control humans? Could this already be happening in some way?
  • Have you heard the statement that technology is neither good nor bad, that it is just how it is used? Is this always true? Have you ever wondered where technology and the Technojungle is taking us on the murky path into the future, or are you simply infatuated with technology and the Technojungle today and what you can do with it?
  • Is Apple, Inc. one of the kings of the Technojungle? What about the future?
  • In Genesis, we find the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden facing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Was it a bite, or byte taken out of the apple? Take another look at the Apple Inc. logo. Curious, isn’t it?

Apple’s motto is ‘Think different.’ I want your motto to be ‘Think yourself.’ I want us to keep thinking and not rely on technology and the Technojungle to think for us. This is the only way we can ensure we are not dehumanized by technology in the future and we can carry on being human beings in a world of technology—the Technojungle. 

Are you ready to go on safari?


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