Paul Virillio clearly has very strong views on the increasing amounts of technology in our society today. The entire time he was describing how negatively technology was impacting our world today, all I could picture were the people in the Pixar movie Wall-E: fat, sluggish people who can’t even walk and never take their eyes off their screens. They don’t know how to interact with one another because people only talk via electronic methods. The people in the movie Wall-E thought they were being much more efficient because of their machines, but we the audience can tell that there are some serious problems in their behavior. We as humans are not meant to rely so heavily on machines and electronics, and our minds have been reprogrammed in the ways that we think of time and space. Virillio seems to feel like our society will actually turn out that way based on the increased reliance we have on technology.
Parts 2 and 3 of Open Sky continue to focus on the detrimental effects that Virillio believes technology has on us. One thing that Virillio touches on is the fact that people put more stock in shaping their alternate, online identity rather than their real one. People will, according to Virillio, suffer from a lack of self-identity because they will be so focused on their online one.
There is also now a desegregation of public and private lives. All of civilization has been focused on creating the public sphere and forming communities. Now, however, private lives are being published in public forums now. We discussed in class the other day how interesting it will be to see how elections and other very formal things go with our generation – every presidential candidate will have a long Facebook history, probably with many embarrassing pictures and lots of dirt to dig up. Nothing is a secret anymore, and the media can find anything about anyone if they want to.
Overall, it’s pretty clear that Virillio’s thoughts on technology are very pessimistic when I personally think that not everything is that bad. Yes, there are definitely some downsides to our progression in the electronic world, but there are many benefits as well and I think Virillio needs to look at both sides of the situation.