Obama: iPods, iPads, Xboxes, PlayStations Make Information a Distraction

The New York Post ran an article a few days ago quoting US President, Barrack Obama, as having said:

“With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.”

With all of the gadgets that we have today, social networking as well as mobile connectivity and communication it is very much up to users as to how they are wielded. Technology has many uses and applications in the modern world, ranging from the professional (such as banking, journalism and telecommunications) to the more entertaining (including music, video on demand and gaming).
What really put the cat amongst the pigeons is Obama’s remark that “it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy.”
Give me a break.
Surely there are worse things than technology that threaten the wider world like drugs, nuclear weapons and global warming (although debate continues as to whether or not it is real). I’m sure that several decades ago, people would sit around the radio or the record player (which I would classify as analogue information sources), read and write letters (analogue social networking) or go out and play hopscotch (analogue gaming).
Irrespective of the digital age or the analogue age, information has been a welcome or unwelcome distraction but to say it puts pressure on democracy is pushing it in my books. People have always been faced with the need to exercise independent thought and take subsequent responsibility for the sort of information that they accept on face value. I would probably argue that people are generally more sceptical in a connected world, it’s just that the number of gullible people are more easily uncovered through the use of technology.
In a nutshell, technology does improve the flow of information irrespective of its quality but it is the human factor (or organic firewall if you will) that determines what becomes part of the collective consciousness.

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