Temptation in Advertisements

Every day we see and hear ads for any and everything. There is advertisements for new foods, clothes, toys, and of curse new technology. I do think advertising is a good thing but I also think it is what leads us toward new items. The advertisement tells up how we need this new version of an old item. Sometime the item itself is brand new and the advertisement tells us how much we need this new item that we never needed before.  If we did not see the new ad for the new items we may not want them. But put something new and shiny on TV and people will buy. The growth of technology is not bad but the effects of being too consumed by it are already in effect. We cannot love without cells phones. Who seriously would voluntarily live in a house with no air conditioning? Heck I do not even want to give up my cable. Aside from my rent cable is the next highest bill I have to pay. Even cable comes out with new technology. When I first heard about DVR I thought okay something new. No one I knew had it so I did not think too much about it. I even saw ads for it but still did not feel the urge to get it. Then someone I know finally got it and I tried it out. Once I used it I was hooked and had to have it for myself. Now it part of my regular cable lineup. I moved and had to keep it on my bill. I do not want to go back to watching live TV. I like to avoid as many commercials as possible. I do not need to be tempted to buy anything I do not need just because a TV commercial told me how great it was. When I am in the car again commercial after commercial telling me what new items I need to buy. Thank goodness for music downloading. Technology is helping me avoid new technology. I do not like the way google and other online spies monitor what I am doing online. I do not like that I can visit a website one time then next thing I know I am seeing that site advertise on my computer. I just want to say stop it but I can’t because I like using the internet and new technology.  Like most people I feel the need to have new things. Even if I did not want to I am forced to in society. At work I have to use the computer so I see different advertisements whenever I get online there. Even for school I have to have and use technology so there is no real way to avoid advertisements that lure us in with the new item shine.  I will have to continue to take the few steps I do to avoid temptation. No car radio commercial breaks and keep DVR to avoid as many commercials as possible.

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Technology Dependent

The culture we live in has a heavy dependence to technology and getting new technology. When I hear about people standing in line for hours or even overnight just to get the newest item or latest edition. Even if they have never tried it or know anyone who has. This makes me think of how all the other ways technology controls human behavior. I cannot think of a time where I voluntarily went without my phone. Heck a lot of the times that I am not supposed to have it I sneak and look at it anyway. I use a computer at work and I have no clue how I would successfully do my job without using the internet. Even when it comes to school I much rather type a paper than to hand write one. Another piece of technology that I am dependent on is air conditioning. At my grandmother’s home she does not have air conditioning I actively avoid going over there on hot days during the summer.  During this class when we had to give up something it was a bit challenging to give up my phone. Now that I think about it more I wish I would have given up TV I notice I have it on a lot, even if I am not watching it. I will turn on the TV put it on mute then do homework and not even pay attention to the TV. I tried to turn it off but it felt weird sitting without it on. People went years without TV or electricity.  Today we have electricity and grew up on it so we are used to having it around. Cars are another technology that I am dependent on. I do not live close to where I work or go to school so I need a car. We have new technology already being created and still holding on our previous technology. As time goes on we are becoming more and more dependent on them while still looking for new technology. In some cases the new technology replaces the old but in others it is just an addition. We constantly are upgrading our technology. We have to have the newest version. I recently purchased a new smart TV and I love it, the features on it I just could not pass up. I like it way more than my previous TV it’s bigger and has more features.  If this company who makes TV would not have felt the need to upgrade their TV’s. New technology is constantly advertised it looks nice and has great features that people did not even know they wanted until it was put in front of them.  This class has really made me consider how much I depend on technology. I think from this point forward I will pay more attention to what technology I use and purchase. Also I want to ensure that I take some time away from technology from time to time and cautious of the new technology I get.

STRIVE: Preventing PTSD

I am doing my final project on a now form of therapy. The therapy involves using virtual reality to treat and possibly prevent PTSD. The therapy is called Virtual Reality Exposure therapy. It takes soldiers through traumatic events they may have experienced while at war. The program not only uses images but smells, vibrations, and props. The soldiers go thought this program with the guidance and care of doctor’s and counselors so they are able to deal with and work-though their traumatic experiences.  Since this form of therapy has been successful in treating PTSD a new program has been designed to prevent PTSD. The program is still virtual reality and is called STRIVE which stands for: Stress Resilience in Virtual Environments.  Instead if soldiers going through and dealing with events that already happened the soldiers are experiencing events they might face while at war. The goal of STRIVE is to emotionally prepare soldiers for battle. PTSD usually occurs when people experience or witness and traumatic event and are not able to fully process and deal with the feelings that event caused. STRIVE takes soldiers through possible traumatic events and with the help of doctors and counselors they are being taught how to process the emotions they may face. While active in the therapy the soldier sees, hears, and smells what it is like to be at war. This virtual world the soldiers experience is meant to represent a real world experience.  We spoke about material metaphors in class and I think this is exactly that. The virtual reality they are soldiers are experiencing are digital representations of real locations and experiences.  This is another way humans have evolved with technology. If this STRIVE program works it could help prevent a lot of solders from experiencing PTSD.  One reason I really like this form of therapy is that is not medication based. So many conditions are treated with medication it is refreshing to see one that is not chemically based. Because of I also think more soldiers would be willing to go through this program. The website says that large controlled trials are being done now to see how effective STRIVE is. I am really curious to see the results of this study. I think it could be a great tool for preventing a lot of soldier’s pain. I do have some concerns about the long-term effects this could have. This program is essentially altering their natural emotional responses to situations. I hope the program works out well there are many soldiers who experience PTSD and if it can be prevented I am all for it. If this program works for PTSD I wonder what other conditions it could possibly help resolve. Only time will tell if this material metaphor has had a positive effect in preventing PTSD.  I do not see any problem with ensuring soldiers are fully prepared when going to war that includes their physical and mental health.  Hopefully this program is successful and provided to more soldiers. I plan on following up on this program after I finish this project.

http://ict.usc.edu/prototypes/strive/

 

 

Deciding What’s Natural

Earlier in the term we read American Polygeny and Crainiometry Before Darwin by Stephen Jay Gould along with a list of topics to discuss. It discussed race matters of the time. One topic mentioned are views on interracial marriage during that time.  Interracial marriage and biracial children were described as sins against nature. The topic question asks “How is the idea of what is natural today used to legitimate our preferences and biases?” Although I do believe there are still people bothered by interracial couples but right now the focus is on same-sex marriages.  The struggle to get same-sex marriages legalized shows just how big of a deal this is in our society. I think consenting adults should be able to choose whom they want to marry. Who is to say what is or should be natural to a person or a group of people?  If we are going to talk about what is natural then everything man-made is not natural.  One of the most prevalent things people use to say that same-sex relationships is a sin against nature is religion.  I think that no matter what your preference is as long as it is between consenting adults do what feels right to you. Being gay, straight or bisexual no matter your preference that is your natural self and it is not a sin against nature. What I consider a sin against nature are pedophiles, molesters, and rapist.  Now those are the people that are going against what is natural and what is good in the world. If more focus and effort were put in to identifying and being aware of these type of offenders’ society would be better off. The effects of their behavior is devastating to not only their victims but their families as well.  They are true detriments to society. I really do not understand why people are fighting so hard against same-sex marriage. I saw a documentary on HBO called Proposition 8. In the state of California a judged ruled that same-sex marriage was a violation of the constitution. Because of this same-sex marriages that had already taken place where no longer considered legal. Proposition 8 is a documentary of the fight to change that ruling. It is so sad to think people in same-sex relationships have to go thought all of this just to get married all because people are prejudice.  Hopefully as more time passes problems with same-sex relationships and marriage with be a thing of the past as the issues with most of the prejudices against interracial relationships. Being in a same-sex relationship is not harmful to the individuals in them or a bad influence on society. It is most certainly not a sin against nature. There are no victims and people in same-sex relationships are willing participants.  My hope for the future is that people don’t focus on who is dating who and focus on crime and improving society.  There are many problems in our society and same-sex relationships is not it.

Virtual Human

I saw this program online it is designed to be an online interactive counseling session with a SimCoach. When I first saw this I thought what a nice tool for therapy.  I saw the ad for this on YouTube what sticks out to me is that the SimCoach describes himself as a “Virtual human made up of the thoughts and experiences of war heroes and their families”.  I found myself stuck on the term virtual human. In class we spoke about different species, and I wondered if this could be considered a new species of human. With all the technology being created and people becoming more and more dependent on technology it makes sense that the next species is based in technology. I would like to know specifically how many people made up this character. I went on to the website to check it out and see how smooth it went. You can definitely tell that it is still in the early stages and improvements will need to be made.  If this program works well more services could be offered with virtual humans becoming more prevalent. Since the virtual human reacts, thinks and responds to a person’s inquiry it could be treated as an actual person. I think about how people could use a virtual human as someone other than a coach. I picture people using it to recreate loved ones that have died. This is what will become the next species of virtual human. I picture people and families creating virtual humans based on people they have lost in their lives. Which could be okay if done on a short term basis but I doubt people would stop using, and it would end up only prolonging their pain. This makes me question can my personality, thoughts, and feelings be put in to someone else. As humans we are full of our ideas, views, and opinions. If we are able to take that and attach it to a virtual human I question whose thoughts are they really? When the virtual human is responding are they the computer saying what it thinks you would say or your thoughts. A virtual human could essentially never die. A person who is dying could create a virtual human of themselves to interact with their family after they die. This virtual human that looks like, thinks, and responds just like they would if they were still around.  I do not know if this program will grow but it is very intriguing to wonder about but a little to creepy for me to actually want to try.  Personally I would rather speak to an actual counselor than a virtual one. I am sure I could find a counselor or therapist that would video chat if we could not meet in person. I am aware that there are online support groups and therapist already so I think both of those options are great. I don’t see why someone would pick a virtual human over speaking with an actual human. Is so annoying calling into a place and getting stuck their VRU. I much rather deal with an actual person than a machine.

 

Here is where you can try the SimCoach:

http://www.simcoach.org/

Green Home or Smart Home

Recently I started watching HDTV from time to time, and they have a promotion where a winner wins a fully furnished house.  They promote it as a “Smart Home”, it is beautifully designed and full of new technology. Each room has its own new technology that makes it special. I wanted to see exactly what technology the house had so I went on to their website to explore. In one I saw a room had a media wall with 3 TV’s in it, who needs 3 TV’s in one room.  There was shower that could be programed to up to four people’s specifications, and the shower could be turned on with a remote. I want to know who thinks of these things. I never once thought it turning on a shower knob was do difficult it needed to be simplified with a remote. Between having to clean the remote and keep track of it having a remote actually seems like more work. As far as I could go back was 2008.  The first few years of this program they gave away green houses, but in 2013 and 2014 they gave away smart houses instead. The green houses where considered special because they were eco-friendly and most of the materials where from other recycled materials.  I found it interesting and a little sad that they stopped focusing on being environmentally friendly to focusing on having the newest technology. It really makes me think about the direction the desire for new technology has over other worldly matters.  It was a specific choice for them to eliminate the aspect of having a green home in favor of a smart home. They could have done a combination of a smart and green home. The smart home had things people really do no need at all. I am still trying to figure out why that one room had 3 TV’s in it.  I must admit a lot of the things they have in the house seem wonderful and I would love to have in my home, but I would also like some of the features from the green houses as well. I think it is scary to think that technology was chosen over being environmentally conscious.  The culture we live in is more and more dependent on technology. I feel like societies craving for technology is unstoppable because we do not even crave new technology until introduced to us, then we have to have it and cannot live without it.  I wonder if HDTV decides to go back to giving away a green home would they consider it a step back or just an alternative option. I is sad to think that in this case that the affect technology has had on people is that technology was chosen over the environment. New technology is fun and there is always something new to look forward to, and we know what to expect when dealing with going green. Going green does not have the same thrill as getting new technology but it is just as important.

 

Here is the link to look at the homes and features they offer.

http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv-green-homes-past/package/index.html

Handwriting and Technogenisis

 

In class we spoke about technogenesis it made me think about an article I read in The New York Times about learning to write is no longer being taught in some schools.  The article points out how handwriting is good for the brain. People use computers to type papers and do most assignments. I remember learning how to write in cursive and print in elementary school, we had practice sheets in class and homework to do afterschool.  Computers in the classroom are putting an end to handwriting, people type and text more now.   I know in my years of schooling I have never had to actually handwrite a paper that was something other than a short response to something. I have spoken to people who remember actually handwriting papers that were five or more pages. The thought of that alone give me hand cramp.  Even when I do write now it is in print. The only time I write in cursive is my signature. I much rather type something than to handwrite it.  I have app on my phone that are colorful post-it notes that I use instead of handwriting notes. Recently I was going to a store with my aunt and she asked me to get a piece of paper and a pen for her. I told her to just tell me what she wants and I will make the list on my phone. At that moment I did not realize that I did not even consider writing down the list. The species in our culture is one that has evolved from handwriting everything to typing. Technology has changed the way written communication is done. There are times when I do have to write like going to a doctor’s office there are always forms, and I always print.  I went to a new eye doctor earlier this year and they told me I could print my new patient forms online and bring them in. I did just that but instead of printing them out and writing I downloaded the forms, typed in my information and then printed it out.  I much rather read what someone typed than what they wrote out.  At work I have to read paperwork people fill-out. Some people write horribly illegible you have no idea what they wrote. Sometimes it is even hard to read neat cursive writing because it is so tight and small.  Those are the times I wish the documents were done on a computer. I do not know anyone personally who did not learn how to write as a child. The next step in the evolution of typing is that kids could learn how use a keyboard along with handwriting letters in elementary school.  Hopefully typing does not completely take over being able to handwriting something could be an import factor in communication. On the other hand new technology continues to emerge and out culture embraces it.  More and more things are starting to have voice command feature, so typing on a keyboard could eventually be a thing of the past.