Interacting with technology

For readers who enjoy the social sciences e.g. music, politics, culture, history & everything in between… Integrated circuit designer Intel Laboratories has a division devoted to anthropology called User Interaction & Experience. Apparently this is not unusual! The Intel research team is led by Australian author Genevieve Bell PhD. Bell is a really fascinating character (believe it or not, most historians & anthropologists are cool people) who grew up in working class Melbourne, then lived side by side with indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory once her mother started pursuing a career in anthropology. Bell studied in the United States & eventually found her way to California’s Intel.

Technology changes culture in many ways. Some people deliberately don’t take any technology (e.g. mobile phone, laptop & netbook) on holidays (above) and they rave about how liberating the experience was. A damning indictment of how ‘connected’ one is otherwise forced to be? Some researchers claim social networking changes the brain structure in negative ways. Does the excessive use of technology promote anti-social behaviour such as insidious on-line bullying? Are we losing indispensable skills like simply ‘chatting’ to strangers because handheld technology means, for instance there is little need to be spontaneous & ask strangers for directions? But blogging surely is a cultural change for the better, right? Ha ha. How will the next generation (this blogger’s yet-to-be-born children) manage technology appropriately?

Terminator 2

Blade Runner 1982

How is technology changing culture in different nations around the world? Listen to the interview which aired on ABC Classic FM & Radio National. The download is 50 megabytes encoded at 128 kbps constant bitrate stereo MP3. Bell’s chosen music alone (including Chisel, the Waifs & Goanna) is fantastic.

Is the smartphone potentially ruining an otherwise balanced life? Talkback radio announcers pose the question ‘Are we giving our smartphones more of our attention & love than we should?’.

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