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Who Designed This Crap? The Dark Side of the Internet

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June 26, 2006 10:45:48 AM

The Internet is a wondrous place that some misuse in a way that can be especially devastating for us all.
June 26, 2006 3:15:42 PM

I myself am more concerned over the attitudes that people use 0nline as opposed to the decrease in face-to-face social interactions. People have a nasty tendency to be overly rude, in-your-face and downright annoying, especially when it comes to posting on forums or making provacative vvebsites. Most things that would get you punched in the face if you were to say it in public just aren't cool. I suppose this is balanced somewhat by the ability to say that which isn't popular and express your opinion when you're not being a jerk. After all, there are times and locations where saying you're pro-A or con-B will make people get pissed off, if not attack you.

The good news for social interaction, I think, is that it's becoming easier than ever to talk to people who are farther away, or those who are close but not willing or able to stop by just to say "hi" briefly. Between vveb-based text, audio, and video conversations, you can talk to people who because of distance or being busy you wouldn't otherwise be able to converse with.

One thing that should be kept in mind when talking about 1nternet usage is the variety of things it's used for. My family loves to group "computer usage" as one activity and ignore the plethora of tasks I'm working on. Sure, I could read the newspaper or a magazine or a book. Or I could do it online. I could pick up the phone and call someone, or I could drop them an IM. I could watch the news on the TV or listen to a radi0, or see video clips and related articles on the internet. I could spend some time doing a crossword puzzle or Sudoku or another little mind/board game, or I could find some flash or shockwave based games. I could read up on something or browse around for news on it and search Wikipedia. Many activities that I do online could be done elsewhere, just not as conveniently. It doesn't make me any more removed from people, as I'd normally be doing the activities alone.

The other thing to keep in mind is that, whenever a new techn0logy comes out or becomes popular, everybody freaks out about it. As this article briefly mentioned, other things have been accused of changing social interactions before. I recently had a course on the history of information sciences, and that's putting it mildly. People thought that the telegraph would create world peace. And the radio. People also thought that the television would turn us into propaganda-sucking, mindless, overweight and apathetic drones. Half a century later and people still bitch about the governments and world around them; so much for that. People will also freak and say the internet is cannibalizing other things, including social interactions. If things go as they always have in the past, it will either not come to pass or it will become a social change that occurs, like it or not.

People used to sit around and watch gladiators fight to the death, and when that wasn't allowed anymore, they gathered to watch people being excecuted. So you see, not all social changes are bad ;) 

[Intentional use of numbers and symbols to keep the site form putting so many damn pop-up links on my post. Which, it would seem, had no effect at all... >_<]
June 26, 2006 6:24:55 PM

It's too late! The Dark side has already taken over. Look around you at how many people are driving around with cell phones attached to the side of their heads or keying info into their blackberries or just sitting at Starbucks with their laptop for hours on end sipping double or triple shot hazelnut mochas... How many of us sit down to enjoy a 2 or 3 hour dinner with friends or family. It's very unfortunate but social interaction will become as rare as the hand written letter or those long Sunday morning talks in bed with your wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend.. Eventually we will all have a personal assistants in the form of a Sony Robot to talk with, who will send our email, order our food, postpone meetings with friends and relatives, tell us jokes or just play music for us.. Soon bionic parts will replace damage limbs and chips will be implanted in our brains that will be attached via wireless network to our laptops, blackberries or the new Vizatech 007 personal assistant which will directly communicate with our brains and for who knows what kind of self centered activity. We will probably be able to adjust our dopamine levels directly from the Vizatech 007 personal assistant. The future wireless device that we will have with us 24/7... What a wonderful life... we will become extinct without even knowing it... Once wireless remote sex becomes available followed fast by Sony's Replicant Pleasure Model, you know the end is near !!! And what an enjoyable end it will be!!!!!!!!
Testa
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June 26, 2006 8:53:28 PM

I think the internet has alot to offer people as far as communication, specially with people who live far away from relatives or friends and need a cheap easy way to keep in touch. I agree completely over the social downsides though, I took a break recently from my computer all together for about 3 months. I was suprised at how much I got done, spending time with family and painting the house and many other things. I was shocked to find out how much free time I had when I wasnt spending 5 or 6 hours a day sitting at my computer playing games and surfing the internet.
June 27, 2006 2:37:51 AM

Yes definitely time is much more efficiently used then me sitting in front of the computer.

But time to me is not the true evil, the true evil is the change that i sometimes see in people once they stray to the "dark side" of going online. I would talk to these same people online and they would have excellent IM conversation skills but when time comes to talk in person, they are of a different breed...unsure of themselves and lacking a plethora of body language (they werent like that before).

It worries me sometimes and i hope the future interaction of people is not mainly through fiber optic means.
June 27, 2006 5:17:33 PM

For some time now Barry Gerber has been regaling us with poorly-written articles that show an absolute dearth of analytical capacity. Need I remind everyone of the "Smart Phones vs. PDA Phones" or the iPod "Who Designed This Crap?" articles? I have been baffled as to why Toms Hardware has ever posted these articles as it has been painfully obvious that Barry has absolutely no clue what he is writing about, when it comes to technology.

Unfortunately, this latest attempt only serves to reinforce this notion, and to continue to degrade the image of Toms Hardware as a serious technology site. This 'article' is little more than a commentary regarding social engineering, and has little or nothing to do with the technology being 'written' about. If you want to write this article, then great, but why soil TH with it? It would be much better suited on any number of other sites, but this is supposed to be a serious technology site.

Additionally, while the thrust of the article may be correct, and even the vast majority of it may be decent; it is also peppered with such wonderful comments like this:
"For example, war and other kinds of violence become easier for these folks to accept because they don't have the empathy that comes with face-to-face interaction."

This could have just as easily been stated as follows:
"For example, supporting groups like the United Nations, which coddle 3rd world dictators that starve their citizens and treat them as little more than chattel becomes easier for these folks to accept because they don't have the empathy that comes with face-to-face interaction."

Or even:
"For example, standing by and negotiating or talking for 13 years while someone tortures and rapes their own citizens becomes easier for these folks to accept because they don't have the empathy that comes with face-to-face interaction."

But then again, either of those statements would be taking away from the thrust of the point, like the poorly-thought out statement that I am referring to. Regardless, however, none of them have any place in what is supposed to be a serious technology site. If I were coming here to read mindless drivel from some psychologist/political scientist, commenting on technology, then I could just as easily have gone to ZDNet or CNet, which write for a far less sophisticated audience.

In fact, as Toms Hardware continues to put out these articles, and other articles that are quite plainly not well researched, it seems to be the point, in that Toms Hardware appears to be trying to become a mainstream, and less sophisticated, hardware site. Why? Why would you ruin your site and reduce it to this?

How sad.
June 27, 2006 6:21:17 PM

And here we all are...on the internet to read your garbage. Blah blah blah. The person who designed this crap we call the internet is the person who alowes YOU to have a job writing crap on the internet. If you hate the internet so much i hear McDonalds is hiring...all the face to face you can handle. "Can I take your order?"
June 27, 2006 6:35:11 PM

Overall, yes there is a reduction in human interaction skills. Unfortunately there also seems to be a general lack of spelling and grammar skills(now watch as I make several mistakes in the lines to follow ;-)).

I will say however that there are many ways to make the internet and computer use in general a face to face interactive environment.

What I have done is convert my living room into a LAN room. I have 7 computers in there all hooked up to the cable modem. Friends come over constantly and we talk with eachother and play network/internet games, chat on forums, etc. For us it is largely a face to face interaction.

Also if you just chat like an adult rather than a teenager then you will avoid making a lot of the inflamatory idiotic statements that proliferate across forums on the internet. It really isn't hard to treat other people decently online. I think the majority of what you may be noticing is that adults are interacting with teenagers and finding that teenagers really do treat eachother pretty badly, they just don't know the ages of the other people involved so it feels like something new.

Now I do not mean to imply that all teenagers are this annoying, just that as teenagers they are less likely to have developed the social interaction skills of adults and so often resort to posturing, bragging, and insulting as a standard MO. There are some more mature teenagers online who do act a lot better, as well as a few adults that just really need to grow up.
June 27, 2006 6:49:33 PM

Windaria, is it not in a organizations own best interest to perform internal "audits?" Is it not appropriate to point out to the readers, who some would agrue are the most at risk, the effects?

Regardless of your opinion, the article is actually glossing over the impact of the internet. The biggest difference between the internet and other forms of information disemination is that the internest as americans tend to use it, is a solo experiance. This tends to hinder a persons interpersonal skills on many levels. And not just "development." Not to play into the phrase, but "desensitization to social meta-data" is a real effect from internet usage.
June 27, 2006 6:53:23 PM

Quote:
In fact, as Toms Hardware continues to put out these articles, and other articles that are quite plainly not well researched, it seems to be the point, in that Toms Hardware appears to be trying to become a mainstream, and less sophisticated, hardware site. Why? Why would you ruin your site and reduce it to this?

How sad.

Sigh. I just LOVE the brilliant people who post things like this. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean you need to do some bullshit whining about how it's a burden on you for it to exist. If you were at a store, and they were selling a product that you didn't particularly care for, you might have some grounds to complain in that it's taking up space for other things which might be better. This is an ELECTRONIC resource, not a physical one. Putting up mostly-text articles such as this one isn't going to take up valuable space and prevent you from enjoying other articles. If you don't like this guy's articles, then don't read them. It's as simple as that. It doesn't cost you a damn thing for him to make them.

I'd like to point out something else, too. Just because you include some "less sophisticated" stuff on your site doesn't drag it all down to hell. THG still puts up massive CPU and graphics card benchmarks and articles, enthusiast articles on computer building, modding, and other goodies. They've got graphs and stats all over. They made their own damn criteria and hardware for benchmarking monitors, which the average person wouldn't understand at all. This isn't some pissy website where they say "that monitor was way cool and felt good to use and was teh cheap too," they do quality work.

But oh no, some of the stuff that they put out isn't researched and fancy with pictures and shit. Cry me a river. Why don't you complain about the news stories, eh? They post little blurbs about rumors, they don't always find 50 sources to back up a claim, and they don't do a 75 page analysis of the possible implications of RFID tags spy on bartenders. Frankly I don't give a shit about bartenders, RFID tag spying or not, but I don't complain. I just glance over it for the 1 second it takes to decide not to click it, then move on to something that looks interesting. It seems you lack the self restraint to keep from clicking on something that looks like you might not like it.

How sad.
June 27, 2006 7:23:09 PM

blancj, Twile...

I wasn't trying to say that I didn't like the article, or even that I don't agree with it overly much, at least the core of what the article was about. I was mostly commenting on the overall degradation of the kind of information that is found on Toms Hardware anymore.

And yes, you are right, there are still great technology articles here, such as the following:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/06/27/xxl_displays/
http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/06/26/xeon_woodcrest_p...
http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/05/23/amd_reinvents_it...

The problem is merely that they are being degraded with a constant barrage of fluff that you have to sift through, and even those technology articles that Toms still puts out are starting to become less detailed and more poorly researched, such as the following:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/04/17/thecus_brings_sa...

For example, had the writer of the previously listed article even gone to Thecus site, when writing the article, they would have seen that Thecus already had a NAS version, and that it didn't use the theorized method of implementation at all. All it would have taken was a simple visit to the manufacturer's site, but they didn't even bother to do that. Toms did eventually review the N2100, and it was a good write-up, but one of the few.

In fact, even this bit of writing could have been more in-depth, and could have covered different methods of people actually communicating on the Internet, and ways in which this limitation is being overcome, slowly but surely. That said, did the writer do that? No, instead this entire article was one large lump of fluff that was written out of thin air with little in the way of concrete references other than a mention of a study that was done in the '60s, and that should have been nothing more than an anecdote.

For quite some time I have had two hardware sites that I visit when I want serious information: Anandtech and Toms Hardware. During this time Anandtech has stayed true, however has been unable to write much in the way of serious content. It is as if the writers for that site do not have the time that they used to, and that is sad.

Toms Hardware, on the other hand, has increased the number of articles that they put out, however many of them are fluff and contribute nothing worth mentioning to the site, especially poorly researched pieces of drivel (such as the article to which this is a response to), where, even if they had a good point, they do little to back that up. Even those product reviews that Toms does have been starting to suffer as well (such as the previously mentioned N2100), in that they are not as well researched as they once were. Content has become king, and quality has gone out the door.

You don't think that takes away from a site? It most assuredly does. Just look at CNet or ZDNet. Every now and then they have a gem, but they put out so exceedingly much drivel that no one would ever look at them as a serious technology site. Toms isn't there yet, isn't even anywhere near the ballpark, but if they keep going in that direction then they will be, and I just don't want to see that happen, for I know of no other good SERIOUS technology site.
June 27, 2006 7:42:26 PM

Windaria,

I guess all I can say to that is....

Even the hardest TV news magazine, 60 Minutes, does the occasional puff piece. Oh and so do Time and News Week.....

I will have to Word to Twile and say, Turn the page!
June 27, 2006 10:15:36 PM

Well, Im one of those guys <gasp> that was about 3 class's away from a bach in Sociology right along with my computer science degree.

I really don’t see this as a problem. I have read all kinds of studies and such relating to this very thing with TV and you know, opinions are cheap on it. I believe there would be a direct coalition with behavior and any form of anonymity. For example, people feel relatively anonymous in their cars which leads to lots of road rage. I’m not worried about it.

I’m more worried about the people I see playing games like WOW for months on end, 20 hours a day. theres a real social dysfunction there. Escape from reality.

People use the internet to escape from reality. Americans in particular spend way to much time at work socializing all day long and many of us want to go home and escape what is mostly negative social reality in the extremely stressful corp America today on the internet.... in different worlds to take their minds off the real world until the next morning.

I would call that healthy in moderation, much better then drinking and drugging.

I would fix the real world first....
June 27, 2006 10:33:52 PM

I havent read the article and will not read the forum. I will not read anything of that liar Barry Gerber. Since his smartphone artice I have come to the descion that no human could be stupid enough to make those mistakes so he must just be lying.
June 27, 2006 10:50:38 PM

"This problem" as people have been putting it, has been brewing for a long time now. High time it gets some more exposure.

I spent a bunch of time in serch of the proverbial perfect date and ran smack into people who had an "online self" and a "RL self" VERY rare was the person where those 2 were the same. THIS is whats sad..

Ive also seen the "keyboard anonyminity" others call it by different names.. but the concept is all to familliar.. people spout off and say stuff from their keyboard they would never say face to face.
June 27, 2006 11:42:24 PM

Then again, if nothing else, what stuart says is true. Read the smartphone article. Either Barry Gerber is an absolute buffoon or an outright liar, and it does put Toms Hardware in a negative light that they continue to post his writing.

And yes, the occasional fluff piece is one thing. When it accounts for nearly half of your published material... that is another thing entirely.
June 28, 2006 12:13:13 AM

Hi Barry,

<cynical but true?>
Don't worry it all comes down to personal responsibility, the main risk as I see it is that over exposure may lead to the confused belief that time spent online/connected is actually living.

Fortunately the telecoms governments and ISP's have limited the interaction capability on my end to (dial up) on the basis of cost location and the depth of my wallet.

The benefit of the Net as I see it is the flow and availability of information
the chance to self educate and also share information.

This of course is the last thing the holders and seekers of power want hence the paranoia over DRM and content control.

However it is worth while bearing in mind that as far as the social adaption
to the Interenet experience and technology in general ( we have only had
cars electricity and flight etc for a very short time), I believe that we will eventually adapt our social structures to accomodate the new living experience.

I find it more concerning that idiots will still go to war for the same old reasons led by the same old power seekers and their friends?

</still cynical but living on the edge> <g>


Best Regards
Michael
New Zealand

"PS I know the thought police are watching so I have stopped thinking,
I am safe now, you could be too, just repeat after me "?".

:) 
June 28, 2006 1:05:23 AM

Most things in life are fine if taken in moderation. You need to have a balance in your life. A little of this a little of that. The problem is that some people get addicted to things and for those personality types it can be devastating. Just like drug/alcohol, porn, smoking, food, whatever. Some people can handle it and others can't. If you are spending all of your time on one thing and that one thing has become a destructive force in your life then maybe you need to rethink your life. But if what you do makes you happy and is not destructive in your life then don't worry about it. I agree that there are some things that I don't do/neglect because I am on the computer, but then if it was not the computer it would be some thing else. Also many people that go out and socialize don't necessarily have a better life then those who do not. Don't worry be happy. :D 
June 28, 2006 4:06:48 AM

Quote:
And here we all are...on the internet to read your garbage. Blah blah blah. The person who designed this crap we call the internet is the person who alowes YOU to have a job writing crap on the internet. If you hate the internet so much i hear McDonalds is hiring...all the face to face you can handle. "Can I take your order?"


Ha ha ha that's great. Truthful AND cynical; a nice double shot.

Quote:
And yes, the occasional fluff piece is one thing. When it accounts for nearly half of your published material... that is another thing entirely.


I agree. Just look at mainstream media. Current affairs programs would be comedic if they weren't so pathetic.

Another issue I feel Barry Gerber forgot to touch upon is the destruction of the English language, partly due to the internet (u no wat im talkn bout!). The TH forums would have to be one of the few forums I've ever been to where the majority of posters actually make an attempt to use legible English. Maybe that's because the hardware enthusiasts that use these forums actually realize that:

a) They already have enough jargon to cope with and
b) They know that using "txt spk" will make them sound like a 12-year old girl, which will make it impossible for anyone to take them seriously.

Thanks to everyone who attempts to use legible (if not gramatically correct) English, especially if you are good enough at English to be able to condense what you need to say into fewer sentences.
June 29, 2006 3:23:28 AM

As you can tell by now, The Dark Side has taken over... If not, then why are people keep posting and reading on this thread? (Just keep paying attention, that I am doing it too)

well, then there is the scary thing. I am actually interested enough to read all of the 5 pages.

but then I'd say it is the perfect analogy of fairy tales; the magic/special power that the people are getting/seeing simply empowers/encourages them to make odd decisions.

for example, the popular analogy of "Kissing frogs" which comes from some modified version of a fairy tale, here are the problems:
1) if it happens to be a FROG, maybe it isn't the set of creatures you should be looking for in kissing, unless you happen to have some weird habit
2) pay attention to the prospective mate the FROG is trying to attract... if it happens to be a FROG, the mate would have to be either some other FROGS or some woman who is weird enough to kiss frogs
3) finally, the writer is trying to tell us there exists some women who is weird enough looking for FROGS who like women kissing FROGS

The analogy to the internet: Online Dating.
1) If the guy happen to have such low self-esteem to pay for the company to [pimp (replace with more appropriate words, if you may)] him, maybe he isn't the usual kind of guy you want to be with, unless you have some weird habit of exclusively dating losers
2) Pay attention to the image he is projecting to the prosppective mates. if he has to do it through email/instant messaging, yes, he doesn't like you enough to look at you, especially if his computer has multiple monitors (who knows what is happening on the other end?)
3) what goes on the other monitor(s) pretty much tells the guy that such example exists (again, depends on what goes on the other monitor(s)).
June 29, 2006 3:46:48 AM

Several posters lament the change in Tom's Hardware over the years. They argue that data and statistics are the "real" content. I believe these opinions may reflect a segment of the readership who suffer from Asberger's Syndrome. People with this disorder have difficulty with social interactions and may be obsessed with technical specifications. They might, for instance, be interested in measuring the diameters of spools on VHS cassettes down to the micrometer level.

What people of this nature may have difficulty realizing is that as technology becomes integrated into daily life, and hence becomes truly useful, the focus should change. If we lived in a society composed only of people obsessed with data collection, we would not have had Picasso, but instead people interested solely in measuring exactly the composition of paint pigments. We would not have Stanley Kubrik, but instead people focused only on making film cameras run faster than 24 frames per second.
June 29, 2006 4:28:55 AM

Are you are a doctor with a PHD in psychology and an expert in diagnosing asberger's syndrome? Your diagnosis of some of the posters on this site as being people who suffer from asbergers is unfounded and some what insulting to people and children who truly suffer from the disorder.
July 4, 2006 12:38:57 PM

Well, there has been no dearth of interesting replies on this topic.
The original reply indicating that Barry's article was US-Centric was valid.
Not all geographies suffer from such "dedicated" internet behaviour.
Some of the negative responses were uncalled for. Personal attacks on the author (whatever your opinion) serve no purpose, except to illustrate the "quality" of your repartee. If you have something to say, it is wise to keep a response articulate. State your view.
Others may or may not agree with you.
I am replying to Barry's article to state my view.
Many of you may disagree with my view, no doubt including Barry.
That is certainly your right, and I am stating here and now that I am aware that many others out there will not agree with my view any more than they might agree with Barry's view.
Anyway, this is the specific point that I am replying too:
Quote:
I won't go into great detail, but a lack of face-to-face interaction leads people to devalue themselves and others and this leads to some wacky personal and social behavior on their part. For example, war and other kinds of violence become easier for these folks to accept because they don't have the empathy that comes with face-to-face interaction.

There is an alternative view than the one put forward by "social psychology" (and this alternative view has been around for over 2,500 years):
Basically, one must know oneself, before it is possible to know others.
To know oneslf requires solitude. Time alone with yourself.
No Books.
No News.
No Music.
No TV.
No Video.
No Internet.
Just oneself. Looking inward into your own mind, your own thoughts.
Only when you know yourself truly, and you can understand and forgive your own actions, can you be expected to understand, and be empathic towards others. The journey to mindfulness is the most important journey that any of us will ever make.
To be blunt, this ststement "a lack of face-to-face interaction leads people to devalue themselves" is quite contrary to the truth. In fact, solitude - a lack of face-to-face interaction - is absolutley essential in order to value oneself.
Only after this has been accomplished will face-to-face interaction be fruitful, beneficial, and rewarding.
And more. After this has happened, it would be a waste not to share your lessons, your insight, your joy with others.
I'm going to cease now, with 2 important alternative ideas:
1) "We think we're important. That is a delusion"
2) "I am not a follower, because that would mean that I am not taking complete responsibility for my life. Neither am I a leader, because that would mean that I am taking responsibility for others".
(Sayadaw U Jotika).
July 5, 2006 12:52:45 AM

Quote:

Just oneself. Looking inward into your own mind, your own thoughts.
Only when you know yourself truly, and you can understand and forgive your own actions, can you be expected to understand, and be empathic towards others. The journey to mindfulness is the most important journey that any of us will ever make.


So how do you expect people to develop social skills if they don't talk to other people?

It's unfortunate that text lacks the intonation required for truly meaningful conversation. Your post was excellent, and I do hope that you do not see my question above as patronizing.

However, it must be stated that since a mere human cannot possibly hope to know everything (I'm an atheist, by the way. I'm not insinuating religion is the answer and please, no replies concerning religion), it is useful, and, perhaps for the sake af advancing the human race, imperative that we share knowledge, which is impossible without social interaction.
July 5, 2006 5:36:05 PM

Hmm . . . The responses to the original post seem to make the whole exercise worthwhile. One of the positive aspects of internet communication.

It is excellent to see so many people who are able to think in paragraphs. This has become a rarity; most folk are doing well to put a single sentence together.

I have also learned things, reading this. I had thought, for example, that babies were born with cell phones attached. You mean the cell phone is still an option? Well, there goes my research into the genetic possibilities for a third arm (an extra-cost, after-market option for the rich, of course).

The anti-cell phone group, however, fail to tell us how we would deal with the possible disaster of having someone attempt to contact us while we were walking down the street. What if we missed a call? WHAT IF WE MISSED A CALL? (Oh, sorry, Mr/Ms Moderator; I did not intend to post such a horrific thought; it just slipped out. Gee, I sure hope we're all well over 13 here.)

Cell phones have provided so many busloads of otherwise bored people with marvellous insights into the private lives of cell phone users. Not only that, but a case has been made that cell phones cut into cigarette-smoking time, as it is hard to do both at once. (Hence I had planned another genetic option, the 4-arm model, but I'm afraid it too will come to nought. Such a shame. And the 4th arm was to have been fireproof.)

At another level, I feel the internet does indeed provide a way for a great many people to communicate. Included are many, many alienated people. They have every reason to be alienated, especially if they are young, bright, sensitive, and individualistic. Face to face social interaction would be preferable, but face to face with whom? Many of the young people I'm talking about would have nothing to say to the cell phone robots, or even to the robots of the so-called "news" hegemonies.

Some people had hoped internet communication would by itself forestall war worldwide, but people worldwide love killing people, perhaps next to their love of chopping down trees. Hard to channel folk against the things that turn them on. Gee whiz, even with the great diversity of real-time killing that humans amuse themselves with, there is still a huge market for theatre and game-arcade killing, just in case somebody has missed some way to do the job in the real world.

I s'pose I'd have begun this thread with "Who Designed Money? The Dark Side of Human Nature". Money isn't the cause, but you'll notice that money usually shows up very soon in discussions of war, poverty, environmental destruction, and, generally, one person's exerting his personal fears or power over another person. (You can substitute "nation" for "person" if you like.)

But I really like hearing the voices of the alienated young people (and old people, too) on the internet. Any open valve for communication is good. I believe for many people the internet is a life-saver in this regard. As I said, sure, face to face is the ideal. Of course it is. But it has probably been some aspect of face to face that has caused these people to become alienated. What really matters is that we can still share our thoughts. And forums allow us to breathe, or to wait awhile, before replying—and that, too, can be valuable. It may even teach us to consider what the other person is saying.
:wink:
July 8, 2006 4:11:54 AM

Quote:
Are you are a doctor with a PHD in psychology and an expert in diagnosing asberger's syndrome? Your diagnosis of some of the posters on this site as being people who suffer from asbergers is unfounded and some what insulting to people and children who truly suffer from the disorder.


I am an M.D./Ph.D, but my doctorate is not in psychology. I do research in genetics, including that of Asperger's and other forms of autism. I did not state that any specific individuals reading Tom's Hardware suffer from this disorder - of course a diagnosis can't be made by reading people's messages! However, in my research and clinical practice, I've been very surprised by how many people who work in IT/computer professions have been diagnosed with this disorder. Some of the messages on this forum reminded me very much of comments from people with Asperger's. Their focus tends to be on quantifiable aspects of technology, and not on the social or user viewpoints. Of course, people without this disorder may hold similar beliefs.

But, I think it's interesting to consider how Asperger's has influenced the computer industry. As you are probably aware, a number of experts think Bill Gates may have Asperger's, and several well-known computer scientists have been diagnosed with it. This is interesting in the same sense that understanding how bipolar disorder has influenced various artists and writers is. In some ways, these disorders shouldn't be viewed as disorders, because they have led to much creativity and innovation.
July 9, 2006 3:06:03 AM

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At another level, I feel the internet does indeed provide a way for a great many people to communicate. Included are many, many alienated people. They have every reason to be alienated, especially if they are young, bright, sensitive, and individualistic. Face to face social interaction would be preferable, but face to face with whom? Many of the young people I'm talking about would have nothing to say to the cell phone robots, or even to the robots of the so-called "news" hegemonies.



I'm much the same. When I see the cliche iPod owning, latest-phone using, oversized-sunglasses wearing, Big-Brother watching 'chiks', who usually use 'txt spk' and tell the world that they are, somehow, a princess, I feel like doing them a favour and ending their superficial existence. Same with emos, but that's a different story. Damn unoriginal, procrastinating retards.

However, I tell myself that hating them is a waste of energy, and that I shouldn't bother with them. It doesn't help when you see the 'chiks' walking around like they're in a commercial (stop being so pretentious bitch, you live in Adelaide, not Monte Carlo).

Now when I see these 'chiks', I don't get angry. All I do is laugh to myself, because I know that they can't rely on their looks forever, and that when they get older and realise that, "Shit, men aren't as shallow as I thought; it looks like I will actually need a personality", it will be too late.

Cynical? Me? Never! :D 

By the way, some people may be bright, sensitive and individualistic, but that equates to nothing without adaptability. Today's world is a globalised one (much to the chargin of many world leaders who are somehow convinced that foreigners are evil), so adaptability is a very much a required skill for today's society.
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