Monday, June 15, 2009

Social Interaction Technologies

Social interaction, according to Wikipedia, "is a dynamic, changing sequence of social actions between individuals (or groups) who modify their actions and reactions according to those of their interaction partner(s). In other words, they are events in which people attach meaning to a situation, interpret what others are meaning, and respond accordingly."

That is to say that social interaction is the mechanism by which people modify their (social) behavior in response to the actions of others. If you lived on an island with no other people, it is unlikely that your behaviors would change much beyond the behaviors necessary to survive. If you lived in a small tribe any changes in your behavior would most like be directed towards survival of the tribe as well. It seems that as the social unit becomes larger and more complex, then the behaviors that you modify as a result of social interaction become more complex and of larger scope as well.

The point that I am reaching for here is to suggest that social interaction technologies have made or will make the social unit extend to the entire planet. So, we will be interacting with each other and modifying our behaviors in ways that affect the entire human race. Some of this will undoubtedly be good. And some will undoubtedly be bad.

The question is - do we just let things unfold and see what happens; or should we take a hand in influencing the future? It is a tough call because most people believe that it is better to not make things worse with your actions than it is to make things worse in an attempt to make things better. But, is this still true? Are we at a point where the impact of future changes is such that not doing anything is a greater evil than doing the wrong thing? I really can't answer that. All I can do is raise the question.

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