Sunday, September 10, 2017

reaching back toward lost individuality.

An editorial from the Washington Post, asks fascinating questions about loss of individuality as we each become more enamored with what is offered online, and we do less to express our own personal circumstances and individual creativity.

The online world presents an illusion of control, as computer algorithms shape our experience and even deliver the right groceries on the very day
before the milk runs out.
"When it comes to the most central tenet of individualism — free will — the tech companies... hope to automate the choices we make as we float through the day. It’s their algorithms that suggest the news we read, the goods we buy, the paths we travel, the friends we invite into our circles... It’s hard not to marvel at these companies and their inventions... But we’ve spent too long marveling. The time has arrived to consider the consequences of these monopolies, to reassert our role in determining the human path. Once we cross certain thresholds — once we remake institutions such as media and publishing, once we abandon privacy — there’s no turning back, no restoring our lost individuality."— Franklin Foer is author of “World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech.”
 Yesterday in the wood shop, I made a stack of wooden boxes as shown. While they all fit a basic construction formula, each is different in subtle ways. In schools, when it comes to cursive, each child develops his or her own style. That is not the case when it comes to data, shaped to conform to exacting standards through tapping on keyboards. The point is not that cursive as an exercise is precious, but that the individuality of each and every individual is.

It has become clear that the online world presents a serious threat to our humanity. Engagement in the arts is a means through which we might escape what ails us. The promise that proponents of high tech make is that it will make things so easy. The satisfaction that is to be found in human life is dependent on doing difficult and demanding things. Are we to "float" through each day, or are we to grasp pen (or some other real tool) in hand and begin to make a real difference in our own lives and the lives of those around us?

Make, fix, create and increase the likelihood that others learn likewise.

1 comment:

  1. I was pondering recently how I do not know the handwriting of friends I have made in recent years. As in I have never even seen it. The closest glimpse of personal penmanship might be only the scribble of a signature on an iPad receipt.