Technology and Community

By Caleb Keith


If you haven’t noticed, The Jagged Word has some new authors and I am excited to be in the line up. I’ve written as the Junior Critic on my father’s blog a few times, but now I’m here to stay. I am “The Ghost in the Machine” and will cover technology, science, and popular online trends. Modern technology is amazing, and every one of us is surrounded by it. Computers have inundated our lives; in some ways that’s awesome and in others it is incredibly frightening. As a tech nerd I am here to navigate the swelling waters of humanity’s ever advancing technology, and as a student of theology and philosophy I am here to ask big the questions about the implications and consequences of such advancements.

I spend a ton of spare time combing through blogs and websites, reading about the latest in tech news. Last week alone was a big week for the tech industry because Google had their annual I/0 Conference. As I started skimming through the aftermath of blogs, this one from Gizmodo on the Apple vs. Android debate caught my eye. After reading this article I started thinking about the big deal behind tech ecosystems. iOS, Android, Windows, Macintosh, PlayStation, Xbox, and the list goes on in the tech world, but what’s the difference? To be honest not a whole lot; smartphones all have apps, computers all type, and consoles all play games. The answer comes down to ecosystems. Ecosystems are the proprietary software that each hardware manufacturer uses to lure in customers. I have spent thousands of dollars on all of my Apple products over the years and hundreds more on music, apps, and movies. Apple has me locked in and I am sure many of you have similar situations with your favorite companies, producers, or artists.


We all have our “ecosystems”. They can be in politics, sports, schools, or even the type of music we listen to everyday. Ecosystems run deeper than software or school colors; they are in a real way the ethos of a company or institution. Tech fanboys don’t just go to war over software and plastic, rather they fight over ideologies. Like political parties and clubs, the ecosystems of tech companies create a sense of belonging and community where people who think alike can join together. Community is a powerful thing and it is often something in which technology gets a bad rep. We are told smartphones, tablets and computers are tearing us apart and separating our culture, making us incapable of face-to-face conversation. Ironically the aim of these devices, which are said to be separating humanity, are meant to enhance communication and give the user access to their community even when away from home. Technology hasn’t broken our communities, it is simply a powerful tool that when abused does just as good of job tearing us apart as it does bringing us together. Technology has provided new outlets for community to exist, however we must be careful that we don’t let those new communities become our only ones. Enjoy your iPhone, play your Xbox, but also spend time with your family and get a drink with your friends.

Well friends, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I will be here every week to comment on something new, ask big questions, and perhaps answer some of yours. If you have any topics or questions related to technology, science, or digital culture drop them in the comments section and I’ll do what I can to answer them.