In your opinion, are personal technologies political? Do the choices we make have larger repercussions beyond personal use? Use course material from this week to support your answer.
I believe that personal technology today has become political. Today, companies have been focused more on just making small changes to their products and then distributing them quickly to the public to make a quick buck. I find this more in cell phones and laptops because these are products that are in the trend right now. It amazes me how much people e-waste is happening right now. “By 2017, all of that year’s end-of-life refrigerators, TVs, mobile phones, computers, monitors, e-toys and other products with a battery or electrical cord worldwide could fill a line of 40-ton trucks end-to-end on a highway straddling three quarters of the Equator”. (Sterne, J., 2007).
This trend is continuing to affect how people live. “And the flood of e-waste is growing. Based on current trends, StEP experts predict that, by 2017, the total annual volume will be 33 percent higher at 65.4 million tons, the weight equivalent of almost 200 Empire State Buildings or 11 Great Pyramids of Giza”(Sterne, J, 2007). This report was taken 7 years ago. Think about what has changed between 2007 and 2014. Newer iPhones, game consoles, laptops, and electronics. People been accustomed to getting new products without realizing the effect it has to the environment.
The repercussions I find is less based on our personal use, but more the affect it can have with the surface of our environment. If environmentalists were to show this to people who are technological users, they might show concern as well. “But so long as the future is measured along economic models, then our future is trash. It’s the death drive of the hard drive: the aggressive coercion of a market based society massaged by institutions with disproportionate power and reach” (Zeffiro, A, 2014). Other issues have taken the spotlight such as wars, weather storms, droughts and class struggles. Could technology have caused these issues happening around the world?
2. What is the ‘lightbulb conspiracy’? How does it relate to our contemporary digital culture? Provide examples from the course material from this week to support your answer.
“The light bulb conspiracy is a theory that the leading manufacturers of incandescent light bulbs have conspired to keep the lifetime of their bulbs far below their real technological capabilities. This way, they ensure the continuous demand for more bulbs and hence, long-term profit for themselves” (Documentary heaven, 2010). The theory is the negative effects of how people consume and the affect on their lifestyle. It can relate to how people consume technology products today. People are thinking about the newest product and getting it first.
It is not just with products, it is also with apps, streaming and social media… “The ongoing growth of internet-based computing – which includes streaming video and audio online, and the rapid growth of social media services – will see data triple by 2017, growing from 44 to 121 exabytes” (Zeffiro, A, 2014). This suggests that people are thinking about what is best for themselves. I find that easy to believe. On social media, people are constantly taking photos of themselves. Or on YouTube, people will post daily blogs about what they did during the day. These are ways for us to show our profile on the Internet.
I believe that even though technology has become a huge problem, people should also be the cause for it. We’re always trying to come up with the latest innovation to a existing product that would make it look better, but they still function the same way. I hear that the latest products are actually worse than the old products. My friends always think of the first Iphone to be better than the five because it has a better battery life. It is true. Because people are invested it making the appearance of the phone better, they never invest in the actually phone itself. This is how people are today. We think about what is best for our appearance than what is best for us.
Sterne, J (2007) “Out with the Trash: On the Future of New Media,” in Residual Media, ed. Charles R.
Acland (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), p.33-5. Retrieved on June 6th, 2014 from http://unu.edu/media-relations/releases/step-launches-interactive-world-e-waste-map.html#info
Zeffaro, A(2014) Week 5: Techno-Trash. Sakai. Retrieved from
Maxwell, R., Miller, T (2012) Greening the Media. New York: Oxford University Press, p.26.
Retrieved on June 6th, 2014 from http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/definition/exabyte
n.a (2011) Pyramid of Waste. The Lightbulb Conspiracy. Retrieved on June 6th, 2014 from