PDA

View Full Version : I'm looking for a term the means "Technology makes people stupid"



Tog
2013-Mar-07, 12:03 PM
There must be one. Everything's got a name.

What I'm looking for is basically technology induced apathy. People can't spell because they have spell check. They can't add because they have calculators. They can't drive a stick shift because there are manual transmissions. It's the idea that a growing dependence on technology is eroding away our ability (as a society) to do basic things that 100 years ago were considered essential skills.

The context is this: I've got a code hidden in a newspaper classified ad. It's something totally harmless, but one character doesn't realize this, and cracks it. He describes it like this:

It described a secret meeting in detail, but it was so simple a child could break it. They must have been counting the ________ Effect to keep people from walking in on them.

His meaning is that anything that isn't handed to people today will be ignored. I guess it would be related to the idea of Low Hanging Fruit.

Heid the Ba'
2013-Mar-07, 12:07 PM
Digital dementia (http://worldcrunch.com/tech-science/does-the-internet-make-you-dumb-top-german-neuroscientist-says-yes-and-forever/digital-dementia-manfred-spitzer-neuropsychiatry/c4s9550/)

HenrikOlsen
2013-Mar-07, 12:19 PM
It described a secret meeting in detail, but it was so simple a child could break it.
Funny thing is I remember seeing a couple of those and cracking them as a child.

But I happen to disagree with the idea that everything has a name.

slang
2013-Mar-07, 12:42 PM
People can't spell because they have spell check.

Would you like a mod to fix the thread title? :-)

Donnie B.
2013-Mar-07, 01:03 PM
They can't drive a stick shift because there are manual transmissions.

Entry for the "Read That Again" thread?

Tog
2013-Mar-07, 01:08 PM
Would you like a mod to fix the thread title? :-)
Actually, I think it sort of makes my point, but yeah, if a mod is bored...

Maybe not everything has a name, but I'm pretty sure I've seen the name of this. I just can't recall what it is.

To be clear, I'm not talking about a situation where a person can't read a map because of a reliance on GPS, I'm talking about a situation where a person won't bother going somewhere if they can't use a GPS to get there.

Funny enough, as I was typing this, someone asked me for directions. I printed a map for them and showed them where out our hotel would be on it, but they didn't need that because it had the address and they could just put into their GPS.

If something is too hard to do the "old-fashioned way" they simply don't bother doing it at all.

Tog
2013-Mar-07, 01:26 PM
Digital dementia (http://worldcrunch.com/tech-science/does-the-internet-make-you-dumb-top-german-neuroscientist-says-yes-and-forever/digital-dementia-manfred-spitzer-neuropsychiatry/c4s9550/)

I didn't see this. Apparently, I'm on a hot streak tonight. That's sort of the idea, but what I'm thinking of is more far-reaching. It's more about the apathy that goes along with it. For astronomy, it would be the idea that anything not in your goto scope's computer is too hard to locate so you don't bother, but it's not necessarily limited to computers.

If I were to write a post entirely in a cipher on most other boards, I could probably say just about anything I wanted because no one would bother trying to work out what it was. Here, there might be a few people curious enough to try it, but as a YouTube comment on a music video, there's no way.

pumpkinpie
2013-Mar-07, 03:00 PM
It's kind of a mouthful, but what about Technology-Induced Apathy?

orionjim
2013-Mar-07, 03:12 PM
techno-ennui

Strange
2013-Mar-07, 03:18 PM
techno-ennui

tl;dr :)

technui ?

orionjim
2013-Mar-07, 03:54 PM
Yeah, that would work. It's sort of like Technuity without batteries.

ABR.
2013-Mar-07, 04:42 PM
There must be one. Everything's got a name.

What I'm looking for is basically technology induced apathy. People can't spell because they have spell check. They can't add because they have calculators. They can't drive a stick shift because there are manual transmissions. It's the idea that a growing dependence on technology is eroding away our ability (as a society) to do basic things that 100 years ago were considered essential skills.

The context is this: I've got a code hidden in a newspaper classified ad. It's something totally harmless, but one character doesn't realize this, and cracks it. He describes it like this:


His meaning is that anything that isn't handed to people today will be ignored. I guess it would be related to the idea of Low Hanging Fruit.

You mean there wasn't an App for breaking the code?

I can't come up with any better terminology than the posters above have already presented. I am a little confused about the context of the coded ad, though. Is it presented as a code or is it more that it's something "hidden in plain sight"? If the former, I think there are still a lot of people out there interested in puzzles and coded messages. Crossword puzzles, the weekly puzzler on Car Talk and the word play segment with Will Shortz, Sunday mornings on NPR, all attest to that. If it's the latter, that would suggest something along the lines of the cocktail party effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocktail_party_effect), where your code-breaker saw through the "noise" of all the other classified ads and realized the importance of your coded ad. Or maybe attention is drawn to other ads to the point where this one is missed -- the gorilla (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo) amongst the basketball players, if you will.

Personally, I think an interesting variant would be to place something that looks like one of those smartphone scan codes into an ad. The scan code is actually a coded message (simple pictograph?) that can be easily deciphered (say, by a kid), but when scanned by a smartphone, just comes up as gobblety-gook. Most people would immediately attempt to scan it, but then lose interest when their phone doesn't give them something meaningful. Thus, the secret meeting would be out in the open for all to see, but completely ignored because the technology seems to have failed.

Strange
2013-Mar-07, 04:51 PM
"hidden in plain sight"

That's the phrase I was trying to think of!

Noclevername
2013-Mar-07, 04:53 PM
Technolazy?

ABR.
2013-Mar-07, 05:16 PM
That's the phrase I was trying to think of!

Glad to help!

Back to Tog, how about one of these, or variants thereof?

technology addict(ion)
technology dependent

Tog
2013-Mar-07, 06:40 PM
Thanks for the replies.

The exact situation is this. A couple has been married for 23 years and "things" are getting a little dull. To liven things up, they play games. One of them is to LARP something out of a James Bond style movie. One posted an ad in the personals section of the classified ads that read, "Ebzdsfsu ipufm. Sppn 328. 9 p'dmpdl. Csjoh uif cbh." Which translates to "Daycrest hotel. Room 217. 8 o'clock. Bring the bag." Having "o'clock" properly punctuated is as good as having the key, which in this case is shifted one letter.

I would imagine most people would see something like that and skip right over it, too unconcerned to take the time. Others might work it out for fun, then figure it's some prank or something. My guy isn't wired right, so he went to the hotel to see what was going to happen. He ends up stumbling on something that's actually happening, gets followed and ends up going into hiding. Being somewhat overly-focused on personal security, he sends a coded message to his sister, which leads to another, and another, and another, until she tracks him down, with PI main character in tow.

He's explaining that he thought he stumbled onto a real crime where the criminals were counting on the <insert name here> effect to hide the message.

The closest thing I can find is the Someone Else's Problem Field from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

A lot of the messages are of the hidden in plain sight variety, like a sign on a wall with a Braille translation that something totally different, because, really, who's likely to notice? But for this, I was really hoping there is a real effect, like the Cocktail Party Effect, even though that's not quite right. Something that someone might look up and see more about it, rather than some form of techno-babble.

In the film Mercury Rising (which was poor at best), some shady branch of government developed a code that was supposed to be unbreakable. As a final test, two guys go off book and post a phone number as part of a word search in a puzzle magazine. If anyone calls that number, the code is broken and the project is in danger. An autistic kid breaks it and calls to win his prize, which turns out to be a government hit squad. The boss asked the two guys what they were thinking and they said the only thing they couldn't test for was the "geek factor," which was a random person being able to see though the encryption that no machine could crack. That's the type of line I'm trying for, and I'm almost positive that I've heard of the thing I'm looking for, but can't recall it.

DonM435
2013-Mar-07, 07:01 PM
Technicrutch.

Jens
2013-Mar-08, 02:22 AM
To be cute, how about:

Technogenic anencephaly

Ara Pacis
2013-Mar-08, 07:24 AM
Is the word your looking for something like:
technological singularity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity): people don't understand how and why things were done differently on the other side of the singularity, technological adaptation.
Purloined Letter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Purloined_Letter): e.g. hiding in plain sight (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HiddenInPlainSight).
Steganography or Under their Nose.
The Somebody Else's Problem Field
Hedonic Treadmill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_treadmill): habituation
Transhumanism
Peter Principle
Idiocracy (the motion picture) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy): disgenics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysgenics) (a reversal of the Flynn Effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect))

Googling "technology is making us stupid" leads to some interesting articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_process_theory via this article (http://theconversation.edu.au/education-in-the-information-age-is-technology-making-us-stupid-10844)
Kahneman’s research on dual process theory suggests we mostly rely on what he calls “system one” thinking. That is thinking that is fast, efficient, mostly automated, and very good at detecting patterns, relying on short cuts or heuristics wherever possible. “System two”, on the other hand, requires slow, deliberate thought and is much more taxing of cognitive resources. System two is where the heavy lifting is done.

Although this higher cognitive ability is unique to humans, we generally rely on system one if we can.

a reversal of the Generation Effect (http://ideas.time.com/2012/11/29/how-to-use-technology-to-make-you-smarter/) = "the fact that we understand and remember answers that we generate ourselves better than those that are provided us (by a calculator, for instance)
The article "Is Google Making Us Stupid? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is_Google_Making_Us_Stupid%3F)" (about neuroplasticity)

Do any of these ring a bell?

Tog
2013-Mar-08, 10:29 AM
Thanks for the links.

Is the word your looking for something like:
technological singularity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity): people don't understand how and why things were done differently on the other side of the singularity, technological adaptation.
Something like this is the overall idea, but it's not so much a singularity as it is a series of walls surrounding a courtyard. Each generation gains knowledge in the courtyard, and when they have enough, they can scale the wall at the end and enter a new courtyard. As each wall is scaled, the knowledge gained in the prior courtyards is deemed obsolete, and forgotten. The vast majority of people in developed countries have no clue how to grow their own food or harvest their own meat. Carl's Jr. used to have a series of ads that used the slogan, "If not for us, some men would starve." This was paired with a man looking at a shopping list that said "bread" and standing in front of a wall of bread choices. If I want bread I HAVE to buy it. I have no clue how to make it. I could probably do it from a cookbook, but then I'd have to build an oven out of rocks and clay. I'd starve.

Purloined Letter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Purloined_Letter): e.g. hiding in plain sight (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HiddenInPlainSight).
I'm using this already to some effect. Messages the brother leaves fit into this category and include things like twisting a phone cord so the number of coils between each kink/reversal in the cord indicate the number to call. The code in the paper isn't hidden. It's obvious to anyone that looks at it, but he considers that the average person would see it too hard to figure out so they wouldn't bother. That's the attitude I'm counting on, but the reason for it is the accelerated, instant gratification lifestyle.


Steganography or Under their Nose.
I'd never heard of this, but this describes exactly the type of things he and his sister grew up doing.


The Somebody Else's Problem Field
I thought of this one, but it's not quite the same thing. Plus, I don't think I could use it anyway.


Hedonic Treadmill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_treadmill): habituation
Transhumanism
Peter Principle
Idiocracy (the motion picture) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy): disgenics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysgenics) (a reversal of the Flynn Effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect))
None of those really fit the bill.


Googling "technology is making us stupid" leads to some interesting articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_process_theory via this article (http://theconversation.edu.au/education-in-the-information-age-is-technology-making-us-stupid-10844)
I read that while back. I can't recall where I came across it, but it was definitely interesting.


a reversal of the Generation Effect (http://ideas.time.com/2012/11/29/how-to-use-technology-to-make-you-smarter/) = "the fact that we understand and remember answers that we generate ourselves better than those that are provided us (by a calculator, for instance)
The article "Is Google Making Us Stupid? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is_Google_Making_Us_Stupid%3F)" (about neuroplasticity)
These don't quite fit either.

I really appreciate the time you spent tracking down these links, and I'll have to spend some time going over a few of them.

grapes
2013-Mar-08, 10:46 AM
"Skill atrophy"?

Tog
2013-Mar-08, 11:03 AM
"Skill atrophy"?
Something like this, but on a societal level.

Maybe I'm not really remembering something. Maybe I just imagines I heard the term before. Or, maybe I'm blending ideas together and confusing them. Maybe I'll just call it the "Reality TV Effect." If I don't call it something I'll never move on. I can always come back to it later.

Thanks for the input, everyone.

grapes
2013-Mar-08, 11:13 AM
This guy calls it "technology-induced atrophy":
http://sergebroom.dreamwidth.org/251143.html
which is almost as long as your thread title :)

HenrikOlsen
2013-Mar-08, 11:36 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_process_theory via this article (http://theconversation.edu.au/education-in-the-information-age-is-technology-making-us-stupid-10844)

Kahneman’s research on dual process theory suggests we mostly rely on what he calls “system one” thinking. That is thinking that is fast, efficient, mostly automated, and very good at detecting patterns, relying on short cuts or heuristics wherever possible. “System two”, on the other hand, requires slow, deliberate thought and is much more taxing of cognitive resources. System two is where the heavy lifting is done.

Although this higher cognitive ability is unique to humans, we generally rely on system one if we can.
I read that while back. I can't recall where I came across it, but it was definitely interesting.
Thanks for that link, it fit well to a concept I've been thinking about for a while, i.e. what are rules and especially why I have found I have no problem as a manager if my people break my rules provided they can explain (or I can see) why.
In dual process terms, rules are a system one shortcut that enables decision making without much thought, but when the reasons for the rules are know and a system two process informed by those reasons and non-standard circumstances come up with a different decision, then that decision is the right one to take.

Moose
2013-Mar-08, 11:41 AM
The 'Naked Emperor' effect? Most folks should recognize that story.

Tog
2013-Mar-08, 11:42 AM
It was actually Ara Pacis that gave the links. I simply bungled the tags.

iquestor
2013-Mar-08, 12:53 PM
technapatzy. (tek.nah.puht.zee) technology, apathy, lazy. - social condition in which constant access to ubiquitous socal and consumer technology causes ever increasing reliance on technology by the population to the point of total dependance.

the technapatzic effect brought on the dowfall of civilization.

Gillianren
2013-Mar-08, 05:57 PM
I don't know if there's a specific word or phrase; I can't think of one. I will say that I think some of the suggestions are decent and some are dreadful--and if you invent your own, be sure to define it in text. Leaving aside the favour you're doing for your readers, think of the future etymologists!

Noclevername
2013-Mar-08, 06:24 PM
Why doesn't anyone ever think of the poor etymologists??! ;)

Gillianren
2013-Mar-08, 06:55 PM
One of the ways "first usage" is tracked is by following if anyone bothers defining the term. If you don't, there's a decent chance that it's already in common enough usage that you should reasonably expect your audience to know what it means. Or else you hope they can just figure it out from context, of course.

Solfe
2013-Mar-09, 04:31 AM
I offer "stupormundi" in the hopes that my Latin stinks and someone adds this to a tattoo. :)

publiusr
2013-Mar-09, 06:16 PM
stolidus bardus?

Cookie
2013-Mar-09, 09:59 PM
i