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Technology-Based Social Change

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the bits-and-silicon-for-the-people dept.

Christmas Cheer 132

vivekg writes "BBC has published an article featuring the highlights of technological social change from around the world for this year. It is amazing to find out how technology is being used in very different ways for very different communities. Victims of the Tsunami disaster, Virtual Wallets in Japan, and the Indian government, bringing technology to rural areas, all have been touched by the positive use of technology. Hope to see more good community-based collaboration in 2006."

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Too connected? (5, Insightful)

Scoth (879800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327291)

I miss the days when I could go out and have a nice dinner without people yammering on cell phones, tapping on PDAs, talking about computer problems, etc. Sometimes I think people are a little too connected and socially technological these days.

I'm sure there have been positive effects too though.

Approaching overflow (4, Insightful)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327333)

I have to agree... with the internet expanding exponentially and more and more collaborative tools being concocted... there is a point at which there becomes just too much information out there...

Sure, you can find something on anything, but the lines of truth blur in the presence of so much information... and valid opinions and ideas become easier to overlook...

I don't know, there are definate upsides, it is easier to communicate with people who I couldn't keep in close touch with, but in the old days, they would have just slipped away... and one day wondered 'I wonder how mister_llah is doing?' ... and then they would call me... now... they will know, and won't call, the curiousity is sated....

Plus there is something to be said for face to face conversation and *whoa* physical contact... *shrug*

Re:Approaching overflow (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327473)

Another problems is ID10T's running around calling the Internet the internet....

Re:Too connected? (5, Insightful)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327438)

The problem is that some people do not use good judgement about the use of technology. They must forget that their cell phone has voice mail and that they don't necessarily have to answer their phone every time it rings. Some people just naturally have poor judgement and don't think about why they shouldn't be yapping on the phone during a meeting/concert/church or other place where quiet is expected. I think eventually social manners regarding technology will catch on, and shouting into a cellphone while ignoring your dinner companion will be considered to be about as rude as picking your nose at the table.

Re:Too connected? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327589)

Cell phone companies in india dont yet offer voicemail feature. They dont have a concept of voicemail or answering machines.

Re:Too connected? (4, Insightful)

travail_jgd (80602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327470)

Rude people will find a way to be rude, technology or no. The people on cellphones would just be having loud conversations with someone in their company. Some of the folks using PDAs would have their little black books, or planners, or folios with them. Teens always find a way to be loud (been there, done that :).

Sure, there's bad with the good. Technology hasn't changed human nature, it's just a visible scapegoat.

Re:Too connected? (2, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327509)

The relationships between humans become more superficial, as technology-induced connectivity goes up.

You miss body gestures, nuances and postures and become completely dependent on technology to get to know a person. I mean, you communicate at least as much on the phone and on IM/e-mails as you do in person; and while they maybe fruitful communications, they just aren't the same.

Heck, I communicate with my room-mates over IM far more than actually walking down to their room and talking to them about something. While it certain has benefits, it also has downsides.

Re:Too connected? (4, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327545)

You miss body gestures, nuances and postures and become completely dependent on technology to get to know a person.

In other words, the rest of the world becomes just like I've been all along. I've got Asperger's Syndrome (NOT self-diagnosed) and I always felt weird growing up. No wonder I'm far more verbal in text based communications than in real life.

Re:Too connected? (1)

tylernt (581794) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327755)

I think many people are more "verbal" in email communication because of the pace. Face-to-face, dead air is a sin, so you're pressured to blurt half-cooked thoughts before they're done baking. In an email, you have time to think about how to word things so they sound somewhat intelligent. You can also edit things if you don't like the way it came out the first time, something that's impossible in voice (or IM, for that matter).

Asperger's or whatever, I think many people just don't think quite as fast on their feet. At least, I don't. :)

Re:Too connected? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327819)

My point was- for me in person, in real life, is just as much guesswork as e-mail. Verbal clues, posture, body language- these all go right over my head, they are meaningless to me. That's one of the determining factors between REAL Asperger's syndrome and the self-diagnosed variety. It can be a real headache (in more ways than one, another symptom for me is migraines) trying to figure out emotions- thus I'm much more comfortable with the emotionless nature of asynchronous text based communication.

As you say, even IM destroys the asynchronicity aspect- and thus I stay away from it.

Re:Too connected? (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327889)

I have a 5 year old who currently is diagnosed as PDD-NOS, which will probably later be changed to either Asperger's or something in the same territory. I've been considering setting her up with an email account to try communicating with her (she's been able to read for almost 2 years now), as face-to-face conversation can be so difficult sometimes.

As someone who's been there, would you recommend this approach?

Re:Too connected? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327928)

Had it been available 30 years ago, it probably would have helped with me. I could read by age 3 also, but the real big plus will be in teaching her to type; many of these disorders come with associated nervous system disorders, which makes learning to write difficult at best. Be sure to turn on the spell checker in whatever e-mail program you choose for her; us early readers are word-recognition types and therefore sometimes learn to spell incorrectly from misprints in books.

Re:Too connected? (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328206)

She can type (hunt & peck, but that's enough). She even gets the puncuation. She likes to put in, though it's in her favorites now so she doesn't type it anymore. The word recognition I've seen in action, it's occaisionally very confusing when she tries to use a word that she's never heard but has only seen written. The usage is usually correct, but the pronunciation can be a little funky.

Thanks for the info. I may just try this.

Re:Too connected? (1)

hazah (807503) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327951)

I'm no expert, but I wouldn't recomend that. She will need to learn how to communicate face to face eventually, and as her parent, you are in the best position to help her. If you're going to avoid this, there's no telling how/when she may learn, if she can learn at all from others (will they be as patient as you?). I also think you should be open with her, and explain, in plain english what she can expect. "When ppl roll their eyes, it can mean they are frustrated" or "If they stare into space, they are thinking about something" things like that, that would help her at least know *what* to pay attention to. From my limited understanding of these "conditions" (I hate that term), this is pretty much a textbook lesson, but I'm obviously not assuming it's that simple.

Re:Too connected? (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328161)

I'm considering it for occaisional communications, not 100%. There are times when I have absolutely no idea what she has or hasn't understood. My thoughts on the matter are that if she CAN effectively communicate via written means, then it might be an excellent outlet for her to express herself sometimes. As near as I can tell, she has NO means of clearly communicating many ideas to people.

Re:Too connected? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14328133)

Verbal clues, posture, body language- these all go right over my head, they are meaningless to me.

I don't know much about your condition, but I am curious about something - can't you learn these by memorizing what they're supposed to mean, even though you may not be able to make an emotional connection to them? Why didn't the people treating your condition give you, say, a list of them for you to learn?

Re:Too connected? (1)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328077)

> Face-to-face, dead air is a sin, so you're pressured to blurt half-cooked thoughts before they're done baking.

What a great way to put it.

Does this apply? (4, Insightful)

Asakusa (941025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327531)

I wonder if this feeling applies to solely older persons. Being 21 years old, I don't remember a time when you could go to dinner without people yammering on cell phones, as you point out. Having grown up with technology, it seems a natural order of life. I enjoy it. I use 3 different e-mail addresses, AIM, my cell phone, texting, Myspace and so on. I have about 7 ways to contact a single person, but it's convenient and it doesn't bother me. Maybe in 30 years when everyone is connected directly to the back of my brain I will reminisce about when we used to use cell phones and PDAs.

Re:Does this apply? (2, Insightful)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327779)

The next logical step would be turning those 3 emails, AIM, cellphone, myspace and so on into a single address.

When there's a single address which *will* get hold of you if you are available, there's only one thing to turn off.

Re:Does this apply? (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328348)

Bingo. Welcome to societal evolution. No offense to the grandparent...but your views on technology overload are gradually being replaced by younger generations who have grown up with, and adapted successfully to, this new constant influx of information.

As someone who is 22, I remember a time before I had the the worlds information at my finger tips. But I shudder to think about what life would be like if I was still stuck in that time. I THRIVE on the constant information, and one of the reasons is because I've seen how much there is out there, and since I have an appreciation for how short life can really be I want to absorb as much as possible in my lifetime, which current technology is progressively allowing me to do.

Yes...I enjoy quiet time, but thats mainly just so my brain can sort things out and to let me recharge my batteries. There will always be times and places for that, but they will most likely continue to evolve along with the technology, so it probably won't be what you consider a proper time and place for peace and quiet.

Hope that wasn't too confusing...

Does anybody have any links to any papers that discuss and analyze what I've written? I'd love to read more on the subject since this is just conjecture based on my observations.

Re:Too connected? (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327578)

I've seen couples in Palo Alto coffee houses where both people had laptops up and running. Twice in the last two weeks. They were dating, not having a business meeting or doing homework. Seeing half a dozen people having a meeting in a coffee shop, laptops at the ready, has been going on for a while. But now people are taking all this gear on dates.

One good-looking young couple had in use, between them, two laptops, two cell phones, a Blackberry, and a graphing calculator. Plus at least one iPod. But no annoying ringtones. They're using the gear, not showing it off.

Re:Too connected? (1)

Valar (167606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328192)

You see this all the time in the vicinity of colleges too. People are hanging out, on basically social occasions, but with gear in tow. I honestly don't think it is such a bad thing. It eliminates the need for tons of polite small talk, which no one really liked to start with, and you might just figure out that you have mutual interests.

Two people go to work on a group project for calculus, bringing laptops in tow to type up the report, use mathmatica, etc. Everyone is awhile they take a break. On one break, person A loads up some foo. Person B says "Oh, you're taking foo-ology? I'm a foo-ology major!" Person A: "Me too, what do you think of Prof Bar?"

Re:Too connected? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327599)

As long as people don't talk louder on there cell then they would to someone there dining with, how is it a problem?

How loud do the people where you live tap on bdas? jeez.

How is talking about computer [problems any different then Car problems? TV problems? etc.

The problem here, my friend, is you.

Unless you mean people you are dining with. In that case, they are just being rude.

Re:Too connected? (1)

Scoth (879800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327727)

I was meaning, occasionally, people I'm dining with. Otherwise, yes, people do tend to talk more loudly on cell phones than they do in person. Another thing I've noticed is people seem to go on at length about more personal things on the phone, often with the aforementioned loud voice, than they would in person. I really don't need to hear about my table-neighbor's irritable bowl syndrome while I'm eating. No idea what causes that partcular phenomenon but I'm sure I'm not alone in experiencing it.

I guess the annoyance with computer problems comes partly from my technical background, and people who tend to both go on at length about it without understanding it, and others nearby who go on at length about it as if they understood it. I expect anyone specializing in anything might find uninformed commentary on it displeasing.

I readily admit my problems :) I'm rather problematic. Much more interesting than being dull.

I miss the days... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327674)

I miss the days when neo-luddites were less prevelent.

"yammering on cell phones" = yammering to the person sitting next to you "tapping on PDAs" = scratching on paper with a pen "talking about computer problems" = talking about anything your not interested in

Your problem is that you hate technology just for the sake of hating technology. The only difference between you and the Omish is that the Omish don't run around whinning about how everybody else isn't Omish.

All of your complaints existed just as much before 1980. They just used diffent equipment.

Re:I miss the days... (1)

Scoth (879800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327824)

Neo-luddite? I'm as much a gadget freak as anyone. I just prefer people who use their technology responsibly and in a non-invasive manner. Granted I dislike people talking louding to people near them as much as I do people talking loudly into cell phones, it just seems like cell phones induce it.

As for talking about computer problems, I'm a computer geek. Seriously. I was the kid typing BASIC into the Apple IIs in elementary school, on up to running Gentoo on anything I can get my hands on today. It's probably this that makes it annoying because everywhere I go I'm treated like mobile tech support if it slips out. Several years ago I was eating dinner at a restaurant with my family and someone at the next table overheard some comment I made about something that happened at work and they actually *went out to their car* and brought their laptop in and wanted me to fix it (they'd hosed the master boot record, simple fdisk /mbr fixed it).

Incidentally, I do have Mennonite heritage, though not Amish. But please, think a bit before criticizing before you put your foot in your mouth again :)

Re:I miss the days... (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327984)

And did they pay your dinner, or something?
Or you were happy with just the fuzzy feeling of being Bill's free 24/7 tech support?

No foot (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328033)

There was no foot in mouth,(other than maybe spelling Amish with an O). You agree that the problem is loud talking, and not the phone itself, yet you still complain about the phone. You admit that the tech problem is your, yet you compain about the PDA.

As for your laptop experience. Did you know that people in all sorts of industries get that kind of treatment? Did you know tht doctors get asked by people they don't know for medical advice? Did you know that lawyers get asked by people they don't know for legal advice? That's right. Your problem isn't that people ask for computer advice. It is that people ask for advice. Again you attribute a non-technical problem to the tech. That is a neo-luddite attitude.

You did ad hypocrate to the description though. You complain about people talking about computers in a restaurant, then tell how when YOU talked about computers someone bothered YOU. You seem to have a serious case of the 'my shade of gray is better than your shade of gray's'

Re:No foot (1)

Scoth (879800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328195)

Never said I was talking about computers ;) Anyway, you're reading far too much into what were intended to be quick, general statements about everyday life as they related to the topic. Naturally it happens to doctors and lawyers, but the article was about technology in social situations. I was referencing the more philosophical issues regarding someone absorbed in their own work rather than perhaps interacting with their world around them. Again, I realize the same could be said of a book, magazine, or newspaper, but I was relating it to the topic at hand and how there are an ever-increasing number of things to be absorbed in. I could certainly spend several paragraphs making greater specificity in my posts, but this is /. :)

By the way, my shade of gray *is* better than your shade of gray :) Although I prefer a bit more silveryish.

Re:I miss the days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327838)

It's 'Amish', dumbass. How can you expect to be taken seriously when you don't even embrace proper spelling and grammar? I had to read this comment twice before I realized what the fuck you were trying to say.

Re:Too connected? (1)

joeldg (518249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327697)

well, it used to be that being "into" computers was a geek thing and would socially isolate you (usually to the computer lab)..

go to any computer store now, you have all the cool kids in there fawning over the latest computers and if you don't have a computer you are considered strange.. And I read an article a while back about meeting women while computing and what computers are considered cool...

how funny the switch...

Re:Too connected? (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328142)

how funny the switch...

And note what it was that helped technology & computers to cross that line... when they became tools to do everyday tasks, like make calls, send messages to keep in touch with people. Computers only became cool when they were all connected up.

Paperless office? (1)

Urusai (865560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327772)

This reminds me when LANs became more common they were touting the eventual "paperless office", with all documents handled electronically. Well, guess what, computers have caused a paper explosion as anyone can churn out thousands of pages of drivel at a click. Documents today look prettier but little things like proper speling, grammer and, punctuation, are far worser and also content sux0r hehe omfgwtf jamez joice wud be prawd strm of conciousnes watever crap u think come out cuz u dont haf to be rite just run spelchekr and all good too easy to write stuff so all the crap come out ppl just doan givafux0r since evryone else duz it it dont look bad lol gawlly mah nutz itch gotta scratchum ma beer almost spilt dangit blah blha loll SORRY MY CAPSLOCK WAS OFF I ONLY BIN ON INTERWEB YESTARDAY LOL FORGOT U GOTTA KEEP CAPSLOCK ON ROFL ;) >:P DIGG????/?!///!!1

Re:Paperless office? (1)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328199)

That's PRICELESS ... loved it, laughed at it, saved it.

You are overreacting. (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327904)

I've never seen a case were a dinner is constantly interrupted by cell phones,PDAs etc. Usually when people come to a dinner, even a professional one, it is because they are important to them, so they really pay attention to the conversation. Those that pay too much attention to their devices are usually considered rude.

As technology invades our lives, so will changes come. But that's not a problem, and it will certainly not be in the future where technology will be almost invisible.

Re:Too connected? (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327917)

> I miss the days when I could go out and have a nice dinner without people yammering on cell phones, tapping on PDAs, talking about computer problems, etc.

Boy I miss the days when I could go out to a nice dinner without people yammering to the people across the table from them, forks and knives scraping against plates, talking about politics, etc.

Is it the talking that bothers you, or the phone's ringing? That's the thing that gets me. I realize that people have a tendency to speak louder into a cellphone than they need, but they are inconsiderate jerks because they are speaking loudly, not because they are speaking into a phone. Some people yell across the table: they are no less inconsiderate, IMO.

Re:Too connected? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328187)

I think you need a Caribbean getaway, yes I am from the Caribbean.

Girl gamers? (3, Interesting)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327299)

This could mean good things for the gamer guys... but something tells me that the author (whose photo looks rather mousey) ... won't be as lucky as others...

Poor guy!

Re:Girl gamers? (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327361)

Girl-gamers are an important technological breakthrough for gamers who want a mate that won't complain about multi-hour, semi-social gaming sessions.

Re:Girl gamers? (1)

SnowDeath (157414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327524)

Hate to break it to you, but girl-gamers are still girls and demand being taken and such just as much as non-gamer girls... I know, my girlfriend is a gamer.

Sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327592)

Hate to break it to you, but girl-gamers are still girls and demand being taken and such just as much as non-gamer girls...

And girls who demand being taken — presumably "right here, right now, you manly gamer you" — are a drawback how?

Re:Girl gamers? (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327913)

"and demand being taken and such"


Re:Girl gamers? (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327561)


That female was talking about having guns in the sims. Seriously, what's the point of Sims again? I mean, isn't it a lot easier to live your real life than live it out in a virtual world?

Heck, if there were guns in the Sims, it'd have been a lot more interesting. Form gangs, fight evil couples blah blah.

Article hopelessly incomplete (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327300)

Says absolutely nothing about porn

Re:Article hopelessly incomplete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327431)

Maybe he's trying to get lucky with the girl gamers? Regardless, I'm disappointed he fails to mention the rise of horny young men.

Re:Article hopelessly incomplete (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327942)

> I'm disappointed he fails to mention the rise of horny young men

Do you really think young men are more horny these days than they were before? I don't think so. I believe it's more socially acceptable to talk about how horny you are to anyone and everyone. Unless you meant "rise" in another way, in which case I prefer not to comment.

Link points to nothing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327309)


Not to mention Podcasts: returning to old tech (2, Interesting)

goldenglove (845644) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327311)

Seems we're also reverting back to old technology while developing new ones: Podcasts are simply unregulated radio, only the more advanced ones having video (Marcus Hates His Job [] ) as an example. Technology is always advancing and changing our world, but it seems that as we advance, we often look back to old technologies and adapt to changing settings..

Re:Not to mention Podcasts: returning to old tech (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327423)

How is that website a podcast?

btw you know that receptionist at the desk in the end of the part1? She pretty much represents every fucking receptionist I've ever delt with. They ignore you at first making you wait just to show who is in control. Then they make every attempt to minimize what you have to say as non-important banter. Oh and my favorite is when they have that glass slider that they love to shut in your face so they can go back to playing freecell or BSing with the other staff.

Re:Not to mention Podcasts: returning to old tech (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327966)

> Oh and my favorite is when they have that glass slider that they love to shut in your face

Working at a hospital with private Doctors' offices, I know that if they didn't close the window, the patients/customers would be constantly bothering them with questions they cannot answer, as if an open window is an open forum. Many times I've seen patients ask receptionists medical questions: she's not a freaking nurse, she's a secretary!

Also, sometimes receptionists do more than just answer phones, make appointments, and take messages. Admittedly, many of them are still jerks for the sake of being jerks.

How is this news? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327313)

Surely, fire, flints and the wheel where once the techonologies that peoples used to enhance their lives in the way they saw fit.

Man is a technological animal - of course he (or she) will use new tech in a way that fits and enhances their way of life.

Where is the news here?

Re:How is this news? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327542)

The article is about how new technologies are being used, not that technology is used.

And, no, I certianly did NOT read the article.

Welcome to America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327574)

This is the end of the year.

When the end of the year comes, the American media does not publish real news.

They just publish retrospectives. Lots, and lots, and lots of retrospectives, consisting not of new information but simply information everyone already knew, only now packaged up all pretty.

Never mind if actual news is happening at the end of the year, of course. You know, like let's say a foreign country currently under U.S. occupation just underwent its first real and free elections ever, probably changing its history forever. Or let's say that the creationism-in-schools debate has just flared up again in a very real and serious legal way-- a mere month before a new supreme court justice, one with the potential to seriously change the ideological slant of the court, is confirmed. Or let's say that it has just been revealed that the President of the United States has been using the National Security Agency in an illegal and possibly impeachable manner. Or let's say that after a couple months of the military insisting that they cannot reduce the number of troops deployed abroad and denouncing the persons calling for such a reduction, the military has just quietly announced plans to begin reducing the number of troops we have deployed abroad.

Wait, that's all boring. Let's just stick with the year-end retrospectives. Oh look! A picture of a digital camera!

Necessity is such a mother... (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327335)

This month I've conceded, again, to having a Cell Phone.

I was an early Adopter of cell phones back when they were bag phones (it still works and has power and range a hand held only dreams of!) Then I moved to a hand held Motorola unit, which would still nearly split a pocket in my jeans.

In 2000 I had been living in California and was searching for a while and found I needed one to secure a new appartment. Being able to get in touch or be got in touch with was a necessity as I found during the late dot-com era. I picked up one of those Micro Tac jobbies and found little use for it after scoring a new domecile and dumped service.

After a crash while cycling it became apparent I should again have one in the event of another serious injury (collar bone is healed nicely, but torn muscles are still giving me fits)

This go round is pay as I go. While doing some holiday shopping, however, I could scarcely believe my eyes on how many outlets there are for cell services. This crap must be hugely profitable.

Off topic humor, ">Not quite the Mona Lisa smile.

Re:Necessity is such a mother... (1)

xoip (920266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328211)

This go round is pay as I go. While doing some holiday shopping, however, I could scarcely believe my eyes on how many outlets there are for cell services. This crap must be hugely profitable.

Not as profitable as in the old days when the carriers paid dealers monthly residuals on every line they connected and a percentage of the monthly bills of each user. Nowadays the residuals are mostly gone.

Women gaming clubs (5, Insightful)

Rowan_u (859287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327364)

As far as the article on women in games go, I'd like to agree with the social aspect. That is often what brings the women into gaming. I've seen women pick up titles as diverse as Burnout 3, Call of Duty, or Dead or Alive, but only after being dragged to a LAN party by significant coercion. Once games are properly experienced nobody (Male or Female) sets them down lightly. The games speak for themselves.

What is significant here is the gaming stereotypes that are keeping women away from gaming in the first place. You only need to turn on G4$ T.V. for approximately 5 seconds to see what I'm talking about. What you need to do to bring women into gaming is to stop marketing to 13 year old boys alone. It's pretty simple.

Re:Women gaming clubs (2, Interesting)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327577)

I don't think your assessment is entirely true. I think that the difficulty getting women into gaming is similar or identical to the difficulty getting women into the sciences. They're both on the rise, fortunately, but there is a social stigma present that is hindering progress. Very simply, gaming is perceived as a male pursuit. Although gaming companies often cater to this perception, women themselves often decide not to explore gaming simply because they've been taught to direct their energy elsewhere.

I have noticed this especially with regards to games that require analysis and strategy (although my examples come from the field of board games, the same trends apply to video games.) Plenty of women I know play games like Apples to Apples, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, and Balderdash. They're called "party games" for a reason. Their style of play lends itself to parties -- social events. Thus, they emphasize traits that women are encouraged to posess. Women are not encouraged to play analytical games, such as Risk or chess. Those are war games and "properly" belong to the domain of men. In short, women are encouraged to play games that emphasize cooperation while men are encouraged to play games that emphasize competition. Since most one-player video game modes are adversarial in nature, they will fall into a regime that women have not been encouraged to explore.

In reality, the problem is twofold. Although game manufacturers don't often emphasize traits of gameplay that hold traditional appeal to women, I think that society also establishes a standard for women that teaches them not to enjoy the sorts of games that are widely popular. This is not a new problem. Boys have always been discouraged from playing with dolls. Girls have always been discouraged from playing with toy guns. The real solution lies somewhere in the middle. Don't just make games that cater to traditional female tastes and don't just try to tell women that games really aren't for them. Instead, try to raise girls (and boys!) that are capable of appreciating a broader selection of themes and gameplay styles.

Re:Women gaming clubs (2, Interesting)

VegeBrain (135543) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327635)

Once games are properly experienced nobody (Male or Female) sets them down lightly. The games speak for themselves. In my case games have spoken for themselves and I booted them out. I played a whole bunch of top of the line games of all types (FPS, RTS, Simulations, Civs) a few years ago and simply got sick and tired of the whole idea of spending seemingly endless hours glued to my computer screen clicking with a mouse and pecking at the keyboard. Nowadays I'd just rather relax or take a walk outside.

Re:Women gaming clubs (1)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327788)

I'm male, and like almost all of you, I HATE g4. I actually find watching that channel to be mildly insulting (to me) and highly stereotypical. 43% of gamers are female, and only about 35% are under 18. ( [] ) The dialog is mildly retarded, who exactly are they trying to appeal to, maybe they never checked out the demographics. Whoever is running that network needs to go watch every episode of The Screen Savers and Call for Help ever made, apply that formula to their video game shows, and stop dicking around, it's not funny and everyone (I hope) hates it.

Social change by defeating censorship (4, Interesting)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327366)

I have a very positive emotional reaction whenever I see technology being used to defeat censorship from fearful totaliatarian governments around the world. This article [] describes how the current government of mainland China is struggling mightily to embrace information technology while at the same time censoring personal blogs. Their efforts are futile and I think that in 10 years you will see a very different system of government there.

Re:Social change by defeating censorship (1)

welcher (850511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327628)

That is a rather rosy view of technology. It may well be that China will have a different system of govt in 10 years but it probably won't be because of bloggers. Remember that the protestors in Tiananmen square didn't need cellphones and blogs to organise one of the critical protests in the Chinese freedom movement. So often it seems that technologies are taken by governments and used against their citizens - a prime example is the plan for the British govt to monitor all road movements of vehicles with licencse plates (see,,15932 63,00.html [] discussed on /.) Add this to logs kept of cellphone calls (coupled with triangulation), the ubiqitous CCTV cameras here and increasingly vague criminal notions like "antisocial behaviour" and you have a recipe for technological totalitarianism.

real social change (1)

rodentia (102779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328166)

I'll get excited when I see the collective realization that just the technology we currently have [] enables the defeat of many entrenched [] , obsolete [] social [] constructs [] .

It's the withering away of the state; Lenin forsaw it but mistook it. It turns marxism and capitalism both ass-over-teakettle.

Why not use these techniques to defeat fearful [] democratic [] and republican [] governments, as well? They are equally egregious, just the authoritarian regimes are less duplicitous and a damn sight rougher.

Re:Social change by defeating censorship (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328208)

If there new system of government becomes a bad thing, we are blaming you.

The evils of Cell Phone use (3, Funny)

timpintsch (842091) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327391)

I used to rail against the evils of cell phone use, from 1998 to present as I worked at various ISPs and ISP like entities, everyone around me was showing up with new pretty cell phones that lit up pretty colors and played deceptively good midi ringtones. Constantly these phones were getting smaller, thinner, and louder. And now, I have one. I can blame marriage, I can blame my wife, I can even blame my stepchild. But at the end of the day, it was the hamster dance in Midi that finally sold me.

Mentifex AI Social Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327399)

AI has been solved [] not only in theory but in software.

C:\Windows\Desktop\Mind.html [] is a Seed AI that will soon bring about not merely social change but social upheavals with the disruptive technology of runaway artificial intelligence.

AGI Radar [] presents the most promising groups and individuals pursuing Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

The AGI Mail List [] is where the greatest brains of social-change AGI spread the memetic pollen of Seed AI.

Mind.Forth [] is currently the most advanced open-source AI in the world.

They forgot something... (5, Insightful)

komodotoes (939836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327418)

It is amazing to find out how technology is being used in very different ways for very different communities.

Like surveillance of the masses [] , more surveillance of the masses [] , tracking vehicle movements [] , really tracking vehicle movements [] , seriously tracking vehicle movements [] .... []

Re:They forgot something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327603)

This is OT, but it needs to be said: Please don't sign your posts with advertisements. It detracts from otherwise good posts. At the very least, place the ad in your actual slashdot signature (and web address referral, of course), so that users who do not want to see ads can strip signatures from posts.

I see from your posting history that you have lots of highly-rated posts. I think you should be content that a reasonable number of people will follow up your good posts by going to your referral web page, or looking through your journal. You do not need to put the ad in your post itself.

It's up to you of course, but I think I'm not alone in my opinion.

--Your friendly neighbourhood AC

Re:They forgot something... (1)

komodotoes (939836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327806)

Fair enough

The Next Social Equalizer? (5, Interesting)

TheSixth1 (81935) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327432)

I see one of the big benefits of the spread of these new technologies is in the vein of social equality. Every few decades there seems to be a surge in society that, for better or worse, makes a great change in the way that people interact. I think the surge we are riding right now is acting as a social equilizer that has the potential to blind us to the bigotries triggered by economic status, religion, race, or whatever.

I am not saying that this technology makes everyone equal, but what I am saying is that this technology gives everyone the chance to start out on the exact same footing when they use these new technologies to interact. Whether you connect to the web via your own dual-processor hyper pentium uber-computer with a dedicated T1 at your house or from a free terminal at a public library, the packets are the same. At that point no one cares about your race, economic status, religion, whatever, the playing field is level for you to express yourself. Now, what happens after you post -- that falls back to the current social climate and really depends on what you the individual has to express.

A lot of hopeful thinking I know... but hey, it's that time of year.

On the Internet ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327693)

On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog. They can, however, usually tell whether you are a total fuckwad [] .

Re:The Next Social Equalizer? (2, Informative)

nanopolitan (937120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327784)

I am surprised BBC has chosen to highlight the computer and internet technology in India. To me, the real story is the mobile phones (which just gets an honourable mention). It has been the big story for the last several years; and I am sure it will be so for the next several too.

The early nineties saw the rise of manned pay phone booths. It was seen as a big deal, simply because it made telephones accessible to everyone (amd also gave employment opportunities to a lot of people). For the first time, those in government realized (from this live 'experiment') that poor people may not be able to afford a phone, but they certainly can afford phone calls. Still, it was mostly an urban or semi-urban phenomenon.

Then the mobile revolution started. It invaded regions that had never seen a phone. With greater competition, the price of phone calls kept falling, and at about 3 cents a minute for local calls (we are being told that our rates are the cheapest in the world. is it true?), they are affordable to large sections of people: fisherfolks, maid servantss, sales people, smalltime shopowners, taxi drivers, et al. So much so that cellphone subscribers now outnumber those with landline connections.

The revolution is getting deepened with the falling price of the handset. Just today, Motorola unveiled its cheap mobiles for Rs. 1,700 (just below $40).

Even though we have seen scorching growth rates in the telecom industry of over 50% in the recent past, this revolution is quite young; only 10-15 percent of the population is connected even now. Investors are clued into this huge potential; the stock prices of telecom companies are zooming up, up and away.

Given this scenario, I would still say the mobile revolution is far, far bigger than the 'rural internet cafe' that the Beeb seems to want to highlight.

Re:The Next Social Equalizer? (1)

BluedemonX (198949) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327965)

RE: I am surprised BBC has chosen to highlight the computer and internet technology in India.

Well, 65% of the British public want to know what's going on back home.

Not joking or being a moron about it either, just a statement of fact. India and England have a very close relationship and MANY dual citizens. I picked up my love for a good vindalu and pakoras living in the UK as a kid.

Re:The Next Social Equalizer? (1)

Valar (167606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328345)

On a somewhat similar note, I think technology is making the nation state more and more irrelevant. What are becoming more and more important are communities people choose to join, instead of mostly being born into.

Think about it. The web allows you to share information with people around the world, regardless of whether the information is artistic collaboration or state secrets. Anonymyzing layers and encryption provide the protection. Technology helps _avoid_ surveillance as much as the other posters pointed out that it helps to surveil. Soon, electronic money will become more foolproof and more widely established, so that it will become less coupled to the highly regulated and watched credit system. This could make taxation an incredibly difficult challenge for nations.

Most importantly, techonology has the ability to rid us of scarcity , and thus the control our nations hold over us as allocators of goods. Without getting into economic-political rhetoric, let me note that even free markets allocate scarcity, and scarcity can drives any group to war.

Live the LINUX lifestyle now!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14327455)

Communism, piracy, and men-on-men promiscuity.

Negative changes, anyone? (3, Interesting)

tlk nnr (449342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327496)

What about negative changes?
  • UK plans to build a national database of all vehicle movements
  • European Commisions decides to create a database of all phone calls (Only numbers - the actual content will be added to the bill in two years), all sms messages (I'm not sure if the content is included)

I'm sure the US list is similar.


Please click me, it won't hurt []

Re:Negative changes, anyone? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327564)

Those are only bad if they aren't properly controlled.
For example: law enforcement needs to go through checks and balances, and the data is not allowed to be sold, or used in any capacity for profit.

I large database with any of this data is fine, and handy when use approprietly.

Re:Negative changes, anyone? (1)

name773 (696972) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327851)

it's very easy to use those things inapproprietly though.

Just a question. (2, Funny)

Asakusa (941025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327505)

But how come they don't have photos of any cute girl gamers?

Is this because they don't exist? And I almost got my hopes up.

Re:Just a question. (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327650)

Oh come on, you're on slashdot. You can't have /standards/.

Re:Just a question. (1)

Bob_Villa (926342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327761)

I actually had a girlfriend in college a few years ago who loved playing video games. She also liked watching Quantum Leap and a few other cool shows, loved reading and writing fan-fiction, and loved MacGyver. She was a really pretty redhead and I thought we were doing great, but I kissed her for the first time at her parents house (not around them and after we had been apart for three months), they found out and made her break up with me. I miss her sometimes, she was so much fun. My wife can't understand video games and has no interest. She'd rather go shopping. :( That's life, though. If you read Slashdot, Hi Christine!

Re:Just a question. (1)

Asakusa (941025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327773)

Give me Christine's phone number. Now.

Re:Just a question. (1)

Bob_Villa (926342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327831)

If only I had it, I lost touch with her after the break up and haven't seen her in years. She was my favorite girlfriend, and I wish I could have said something when she broke up with me and said her parents had decided she had to do it. I wish I could have talked her into still dating me. I was just so caught off guard after just moving back into my dorm room, and then she said it, left, and I basically never saw her again. They are one in a million, that's for sure, and she was an engineer, too. *sob*

Re:Just a question. (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327903)

Wait a minute, why was she taking marching orders about her social life from Mom and Dad? She had moved out, right?

Re:Just a question. (1)

Bob_Villa (926342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328072)

No, I was going into my senior year, and she was going into her sophmore or junior year. She still lived at home on breaks and part of that summer where we were apart, but she also spent some time in Germany. She just did what they told her to, it was the way she was. She was shy and a good family girl.

Re:Just a question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14328277)

Bob, this is your wife. We need to talk.

Re:Just a question. (1)

Bob_Villa (926342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328305)

I telecommute, so my wife would just come over and hit me. Besides, I hear about her old boyfriends, so I can remember the old days with one of my old girlfriends too.

Re:Just a question. (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328012)

A college-aged girl broke up with you because her parents made her? Wow.

Re:Just a question. (1)

Bob_Villa (926342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328255)

You know what made it even worse, though, was the fact she spent part of that summer in Germany, and I spent hundreds of dollars calling as often as I could. I worked at an internship in Virginia and had two cute interns always flirting and trying to get me to cheat on her or break up with her and date one of them. I always told them no, I wanted to marry this girl. A girl who loves video games, MacGyver, and Quantum Leap? And she was a gorgeous redhead to boot. So I just kept telling them both no all summer long as they kept trying harder and harder. I go to see my girlfriend once after she gets back from Germany at her parents house, stay a couple of nights, and we have our first kiss. I find out from her that is her first kiss. Then I drove back, finished the internship and went back to college. When she got to college she came right up, and I offered to help her move in, and that is when she told me her family had decided we had to break up. I waited all summer for one kiss and to have her family pre-judge me and have us break up. I hate to admit it, but I cried for like an hour over the irony of it. After I got over her, I went to Yahoo Personals and met my wife there a couple of months later. My mom tried to force me to break things off with my wife once they met, and I told her to go to hell, and married my wife anyway. People shouldn't pre-judge until they know others better.

Ugh. (2, Funny)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327521)

Victims of the Tsunami disaster, Virtual Wallets in Japan, and the Indian government, bringing technology to rural areas, all have been touched by the positive use of technology.

Obviously grammar-checking is one area where technology still lags.

Re:Ugh. (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327803)

Although grammar checking is a technology that still lags, and is being worked on, you mind pointing out the grammatical errors to those of us who lack in grammatical skills?

I mean, if your going to be a grammar nazi, go all out!

Social Based Technology Change (4, Insightful)

catmistake (814204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327544)

I think this is a case of wag the dog.

If one thing is clear from the history of technology, its that people do not change. Technology changes.

My vote goes to the oral contraceptive (1)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327657)

Sure. It's 1940's technology, but really, has there been anything else that has created so much social change and is STILL creating social change?

We still don't know what the long term social effects will be, on the West especially, for another 50 years.

Re:My vote goes to the oral contraceptive (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327801)

"We still don't know what the long term social effects will be, on the West especially, for another 50 years."

Fewer people?

Re:My vote goes to the oral contraceptive (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328084)

> > We still don't know what the long term social effects will be,
> Fewer people?

Amazingly enough, I don't think oral contraceptives will stop too many pregnancies ;)

Technology becomes commonplace (2, Insightful)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327687)

I want my lightsaber and a personal transporter.
I do not want a flying car because that means that the drivers who are idiots will then be in the air. (Disclaimer-I am a pilot)
I don't want technology displacing pilot education and the requirements to become a pilot.

There are a good bit of us here that remember when-
you couldn't buy a phone, you had to rent them.
when Russia was the bad guys. (anybody born in the '90s -huh?) Now everyone has a spycamera.
Pull strings on toys. (Today's See and Says are battery powered, Mrs. Beasley - huh?)
Movies used to have cartoons in front of them
    I remember the MGM movies had Tom and Jerry, UA movies had Pink Panther. Now it's only Pixar and commercials.

Re:Technology becomes commonplace (1)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328298)

I want a flying car because the human occupant will not be flying it. The computer (SkyNet?) will be in control of the vehicle at all times. That will seriously rock .. I just hope I get to see it in my lifetime.

facebook (3, Interesting)

SnprBoB86 (576143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14327721)

I am amazed that no one has mentioned []
facebook has had an increadable impact on the social lives of college students.

Not to mention, it is an increadable well designed web app.

Re:facebook (1)

ZaadzBri (941046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14328025)

Agreed! We're working on a social networking site all about inspiring and empowering people to go out and change the world: [] Won't be "officially" launching till early '06, but we're pretty excited about it.

-brian []

the entitlement mentality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14328258)

It seems to me as though technology is and will be used to protect the entitlement mentality of the wealthy and connected. See the DMCA, digital switchover, ID data being stolen/sold, etc. Rude people on cellular phones will be the least of our worries as the slide downward continues.
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