In their article, Cohen and Krugman (2012) provided excerpts of a conversation that they had with several scholars regarding the effects that modern media, in general, and the Internet, in particular, have on people’s lives. Cohen and Krugman (2012) aimed to find out whether the increasing rate of engagement in online communication deprives people of their basic ability to interact in reality, therefore changing the way people think.
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Greenfield makes a very legitimate point by stressing the fact that modern technologies have been “a means to an end” (Cohen & Krugman, 2012, par. 6). Indeed, much to the credit of the authors and the participants of the conversation, there is a strong tendency for people to view technology as a thing in itself. However, the problem in question can be addressed with the help of a clever promotion campaign and a well-designed program. With the help of these tools, the perspective on the usage of technology will have to be altered slightly so that it could be viewed as a tool for achieving a particular outcome.
Therefore, it would be wrong to expect the advent of an apocalyptic future where people become slaves to technology. Instead, it is rather likely that people will learn to filter the information that they receive on a regular basis from the corresponding social networks. Consequently, the target population must develop immunity toward the wide range of data that they have to deal with due to the participation in social networks, as well as the usage of other communication tools.
Cohen & Krugman, 2012, par. 43
Popova points to the fact that her opponents have digressed from the subject and mentions the concept of turning into a cyborg, which the conversation started. Specifically, Popova brings a very interesting point about the interpretation of the term “cyborg” in modern culture. In modern connotations, the term is viewed mostly negative, although it basically denotes “an enhanced human” (Cohen & Krugman, 2012, par. 43). Furthermore, she also addresses the fact that the very phenomenon of a human mind has not been researched fully. Therefore, it is barely possible to identify the change that will supposedly happen to the target population as positive, negative, or neutral.
Indeed, there is a very fine line between the human mind and the notion of a cyborg. Supposing the latter is interpreted as artificial intelligence, even the promotion of online communication and participation in social networks will not turn people into cyborgs for a very basic reason. Particularly, people are capable of emoting and have a cognitive perception of reality. Cyborgs, in their turn, are deprived of the abilities mentioned above.
Therefore, the threat can hardly be viewed as tangible. For instance, a person spending five years communicating only via social networks will still be able to learn using their basic five senses and to be emotional, whereas a cyborg cannot. Herein the primary difference between the human brain and the AI lies.
A comparison between a cyborg and a human engaged in social networking can hardly be considered legitimate because even nowadays there is very little information on how a human brain operates. Thus, the fears of people turning into cyborgs are barely valid. Moreover, the very concept of being a cyborg needs to be reconsidered so that a line between a human being with enhanced abilities and a mindless puppet could be drawn.
With the advent of the era of information technology, the issue of users’ security is becoming increasingly more topical. Since a range of companies views the Internet as a plethora of marketing opportunities, the fear for personal data seems quite legitimate (Turow, 2012). Despite the fact that the article by Turow (2012) and the one by Cohen and Krugman (2012) address different aspects of the problems related to online communications, both authors tend to agree that the increased pace of IT development sets premises for creating the environment that is very difficult to control.
Although both Turow (2012) and Cohen and Krugman (2012) prove their point in a rather efficient manner, the paper written by the latter seems to have more consistency in it. Despite the fact that some of the statements made by the authors are rather arguable, Cohen and Krugman (2012) clearly structure their article in a better manner. Specifically, they avoid adding summative quotes in contrast to Turow. Although the idea of listing the key ideas for the readers to check seems rather alluring, it may create the impression of being manipulative, which Cohen and Krugman (2012) wisely abstain from.
Therefore, when considering the articles written by Turow (2012) and Cohen and Krugman (2012), one may give preference to the latter due to the lack of persuasion in its tone. It could be argued that, arranged as an interview, Cohen and Krugman’s article lacks structure. However, it creates the impression of a conversation, thus, inviting the reader to participate. Therefore, it feels more natural than Turow’s paper.
Cohen, R., & Krugman, P. (2012). Are we becoming cyborgs? The New York Times. Web.
Turow, J. (2012). How companies are ‘defining your worth’ online. NPR. Web.