Welcome to this 21st day of October, 12-years into the 21st century. I wish thank all my online readers and radio listeners for their continued support. For today’s talk I will discuss many items having to do with our technology for domestic purposes; entertainment, safety, education, and personal communication. It all matters and it is changing the way we live, how we think, and our path forward into the future. Indeed, these are all interrelated topics which shouldn’t be necessarily viewed as separate issues in my humble opinion.

Okay so, before we being let me remind you of the format here; I talk and you listen, then it will be your turn to “like” or shout out pro or con with your own opinion – provided that your arguments are not pandering, preaching to the choir or mere talking points of some particular political persuasion – no need to repeat what’s been said elsewhere – for this is the place of original thinking and drilling down into the subject matter which affects us all whether we care to realize it or not. Fair enough? Let’s begin.

Is The Internet Changing the Way We Use and Buy Dictionaries?

Not long ago, I went to the thrift stores nearby to seek out used books. A friend of mine asked me if I could look for a dictionary, something he could use to flip-through perhaps 160,000 plus words, so not a small one, but definitely not a large unabridged version either. Without thinking, I said, “sure, I’ll see what they have,” and then departed for my used book shopping spree for the month. Generally, I find a dozen or so books to read, mostly nonfiction, but I do like everyone have a few fiction series I like to read by my favorite authors.

Due to all the new e-books and e-readers, one thing I’ve noticed is that it’s difficult to find the hardbound books at the used bookstores, or thrift stores before six months after they’ve been published. Previously it was quite easy to do this, but since fewer people are buying hardbound books, and are buying e-books instead, they are not being bought in the numbers they were before. It is quite evident that some of the big box retailers have been challenged by this, that is to say new book sales, but it is also affecting the used book market because people that have e-books aren’t allowed to resell them later. Therefore, it is affecting the hand-me-down market.

Now then, while I was looking for a used dictionary for my friend I found hundreds of them, I couldn’t believe how many there were available. But then again consider this, more and more people are merely typing a word into a search engine which auto corrects spelling, and then lists online dictionaries. Since most people are online all the time, and those who are writing or doing reports for school have the Internet running in the background along with the Google search engine, they merely “google it” and so they no longer need a dictionary at their desk. This is why everyone has donated them to the used bookstores and/or thrift shops.

Do you remember when you were in school and you had a writing assignment, and if you asked your teacher what a word was, she told you to “look it up” because that’s what dictionaries are for. Today, kids are using tablet computers in the classroom for learning, so when they look something up they also look it up online, and therefore this habit will probably follow them well into adulthood. In any case let’s talk about some of the technology in the classroom and how that will also affect the way we learn, think, and solve problems for ourselves in later life.

Technology in The Classroom – What About ADD and ADHD?

There was an interesting article in the science news from a psychologist specializing in learning disorders, she made a very interesting statement; “while videogames do not cause ADD or ADHD, if someone is on the borderline, it’s enough to push them over the edge,” and so, it could be said for the average Internet surfer that spends only 12 to 15 seconds on average on any webpage before clicking out, or going to a different page – that they are at risk of ADD or ADHD?

What we’re doing is we are training the attention span, and diminishing the level of human concentration with all of our technology. If we are to use the same technology in the classroom learning, that may appease the children, or keep high schoolers learning online and doing their assignments perhaps provoking their curiosity with novelty, but what about pushing kids over the edge towards ADD or ADHD? Do you see that point?

What about the challenges with human eyesight? Have you ever spent hours working on a computer project, or doing computer work, and then tried to refocus on something far away, or something very tiny like reading the label on a food package? Have you noticed that you can’t do it, and you have to wait for your eyes to readjust? Much the same as walking into a dark room, it takes a moment to readjust.

There are many challenges with learning that have to do with eyesight, the common ones are; lazy eye and dyslexia, along with kids who are nearsighted who have trouble seeing the chalkboard or viewing the lecturer – likewise there are kids who are farsighted and have a difficult time reading, they are completely challenged. Not only is it embarrassing for them when reading out loud in the classroom, but it often causes them nausea or they get tired easily with a read for over 30 minutes, meaning it is difficult for them to get through their schoolwork. Is our technology causing more of these problems in our schools?

There is an effect, and that effect would not be zero, thus, in effect we are experimenting with the next generation of schoolchildren? Surely, all those that make tablet computers and personal tech devices for education wish to push this technology into the classroom to drive sales and profits. Still, do we really know what we are getting ourselves into?

Further, if the kids can look anything they want up online, they start to trust that device or medium of education technology. We know what happens when adults start believing everything they see on TV, or what happens when folks of a certain political persuasion start reading only things which agree with them and their current POV (point of view) as they become jaded, and mentally boxed-in in their political views.

If people trust what their teachers say, or what they learn in college and there is a socialist or left-leaning slant, we will have more voters leaning that way, likewise, if folks trust the Internet, and there is any amount of filtration of content at the search engines, even by only one or 2% then it is enough to swing an election, and if you swing two or three elections in a row, you will end up with a different country in the future. People often note this problem with the mass media, but have they considered the Internet as it is integrated into our education system – we cannot stop the integration, it’s part of our society, nor should we, but we need to all be cognizant and question not only authority, but the devices which deliver us information, and the software and companies behind them – and their agendas, as they are not ALL purely profit motivated.

Now then, you can definitely see that, right? Just as TV has changed our society in many ways, most of them not for the better, and it has helped people into a bizarre type of consumerism due to branding, advertising, and marketing. Okay so, let’s get back to the political challenges and implications of all this in a few minutes, and instead address the challenges we have with e-commerce, advertising, marketing, branding, and perhaps the unethical side of it all online.

Internet Reviews and The Shrill Factory

Currently, we have a huge problem with Internet reviews. Unfortunately, if a business gets a bad review, or too many complaints and consumers stop shopping there. They trust what they read on the Internet, even though it was written by untrustworthy or unknown sources. Many times it was written by shrills or competitors trying to uplift their ratings while trashing their competitors. Why should this surprise anyone?

It happens all the time in the real world with consumer groups, or nonprofit consumer bureaus. It’s happening online, but unfortunately more and more people trust what they read online, and some people even reason that; it if everyone likes it, that reality will overcome the few negatives written by competitors posting negative comments. Well, one problem we have is that there are companies who will post positive reviews online for a fee by the dozen, 100s or even 1000s. You see that problem; okay, now back to the topic of political indoctrination in our schools.