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Amusing Ourselves to Death: Opposing Opinion?
February 1, 2010, 8:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

So I was reading my homework assignment for this Media History class. Chaper 7 focuses on Norbert Wiener. For those who don’t know, he was a Hungarian mathematician and communications specialist who also wrote a couple of books about Cybernetics, which is the science of transmitting messages between man and machines.

Wiener made an interesting point. His philosophy was that our relationship with machines would bring us well-being and a better quality of life. To him, it didn’t matter whether we were communicating to animals, machines or to each other – all the messages were equally important. Now, this seems to be the opposite of what Postman was saying in this book. He feels that our being engrossed in technology – especially with some of our ridiculous, instantly gratifying uses – could potentially ruin us. Wiener believed that technology is a part of our society and, just like in nature, we can only survive if we are able to adapt, respond to and learn to form a beneficial relationship with it. We can learn a lot about our society from how we communicate, he says, and I think Postman would agree on that point.

It just seems that Postman would say that such a strong relationship, even if it were beneficial, would eventually drain us of our morality and good ol’ common sense while Wiener would likely encourage this relationship because it could bring us a higher sense of awareness.

Agree? Disagree?


4 Comments so far
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Awesome question. I was reading that chapter on my way to school today and after reading your earlier posting for the Postman. I’d have to say that I’m neutral on the subject. For me, I really think it depends on the person that is involved in the relationship, as you know, we all handle “relationships” differently.

Some people are controlling, some are susceptible to being controlled, and some just cause destruction. BUT, if I had to choose between Wiener’s or the Postman’s theory… I’m leaning toward the Postman. We are visibly coming overly dependent on technology, and being overly dependent on anything… well, just isn’t good. 😀

Comment by creativeheart86

i certainly have to agree with Postman, because there is a difference to us, as humans, when we talk to a computer an animal or another human beings. i think i feel that way because with humans, u can see body language or use sarcasm.. any kind of these things.. like Engelbart was talking about; having”habits, strategies, rules of thumb…”
good post 😉 ❤

Comment by Tusti

I agree with both Postman & Weiner as there are truths in both. The key as with everything else is balance.

Comment by blogeriffic

i could say , i agree mostly and disagree as well. i agree mostly because lik u sed we have adapted and we have no choice but to be aware of what comes next with the media out here. And i could disagree because “some” people do take technology today pretty serious as if it has human like qualities.

Comment by ShangHiZone

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