Category Archives: technology

Literature? Who on earth reads books?

Computers make the world go around. We cannot live without technology, and I don’t mean the teenagers who wouldn’t be able to check their facebook and instagram accounts anymore. It is everywhere and we are completely dependent on it, as it is necessary in so many areas of life – a doctor use their computer programs to analyze the progress of chemotherapy, a stockbroker needs the Internet to observe changes on the market, a librarian use achieves to find a particular book. Most schools use various programs and tools which facilitate the learning process. Some teachers are even unable to make lessons without their notebook with access to Internet. Moreover, we should bear in mind that in the world there’s more ‘virtual’ money than we can back up by the real currency. If the system goes down, our money stored in banks will simply disappear, leading in riot and social unrest.

Generally speaking, technology makes our lives easier and is a very positive phenomenon. But since we can do almost everything with it, we are getting more and more lazy. What’s the point in calculating anything if a computer can do it for you and in addition will highlight the most important figures? The danger starts when one doesn’t see the reason in reading books if he can surf the net instead.

Young people tend to spend more time behind the screen (on their PCs, tablets, smartphones or other devices enabling quick connection to the Web) than the adults, wasting huge amounts of time playing Angry Birds, liking their friends’ photos on facebook or chatting online. It is said that the generations that grew up with computers are less intelligent, less sociable and less read. Teenagers take no interest in reading books. Their knowledge about literature ends with some information about set books the teachers told them, because few of them have read it themselves. And if they have some story on paper ( or online, e-books are becoming more and more popular) it is mostly not Waiting for Godot, but something more like Twilight or Fifty shades of grey. The popularity of these kind of literature is unbelievable. Even if there are novels written by young ambitious writers, it usually doesn’t receive great popularity, which only vampire stories can attain. But maybe what is popular should not be of quality, but be written in simple language and tell the simple stories – of romance, cheating, family feud or school life. And all the characters are just like hundred similar before and after. Plastic hero in plastic story for plastic people in plastic world. The literature has been dethroned. Using the newest iPad is cool, reading books is not.
Fortunately, printed word is not yet completely forgotten
We cannot ascribe this phenomenon only to the Internet, although it is responsible for enormous part of it. The second is the way we are educated – since every employer wants a specialist in one particular domain, nobody cares about general knowledge. Nobody requires a lawyer to know how many orbitals the atom of hydrogen has or the chemist to know who the Frederick Nietzsche was. Nobody ain’t time for reading, especially if the set books were an unpleasant experience back in the day. Since that time, novels and poetry are things considered ‘for swots only’. But wouldn’t it be good if all citizens of a country knew the most important figures for their homeland’s history? One might ask what for. For the sake of knowledge itself. An educated person should know certain things.

There is, though, a lot of social campaigns encouraging people to read and they have been largely successful in many countries of Europe. It is very important to emphasize the importance of reading in our lives, as the activity that enriches our vocabulary and imagination, simultaneously widening our horizons and sometimes even changing our views on world. Let’s not forget that literature makes the culture.



Five Lab – an application who knows you well

Recently, I stumbled upon something very interesting which seem to become very popular, especially among social media enthusiasts – a Five Labs Personality Test. It is a tool created by a San Francisco company Five that analyses the words you use in your facebook posts and determines which traits of personality you have. It is based on five characteristics – extraversion, openness, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness.

The popularity of personality tests of various kinds – from the ones that you find in  magazines for teenagers to those of the “which character of your favorite TV series you are” is overwhelming. After answering few simple questions you have the result which you can share with your friends. Thus, it is no surprise that new Five Lab’s tool is spreading thought the internet like a wildfire, even if it works in a little different way. The algorithm does not enquire you about anything – it simply digs into all your facebook activity and counts the words that are ascribed to one particular character trait.

As simple as that, it already attracted giant number of users. People love statistics, especially if they touch them personally. And you can get more than that – seeing your friends’ profiles, comparing personalities with famous people like Barack Obama or Andy Warhol is among activities that you can do using this tool. . bez tytułu I

It shows you the chart and describes you in five words

The idea behind it is to show people how they create their image in social networking sites, such as facebook. Many try to be perceived in a different way than they are in real life, they create kind of avatar of themselves. But the data you receive after analysis is meant to be a kind of reflection of your profile – it extracts as many information as it can to determine who you are. The only problem with Five labs is that it only counts the words which are ascribed to one particular trait, not taking into consideration the context. It would be probably impossible to do this. But is it possible to truly label one’s personality? And even if, what for?

Five labs were designed mostly for fun of its users, like most of the tests of this kind. I suppose the huge part of the results doesn’t correspond to the real characters. But when we think of it – do we try to upload our everyday life on facebook? I think we want to share everything that is interesting to us and to certain extent try to appear better, richer and friendlier than they really are. But it’s nothing wrong with it – it is only our human nature, the want to be popular and respected. It is the form that is new.

One thing that worries me a little is the warning before you can get the results – you give access to your friend list, your posts, your email, your family, your relationship status, etc. We once again are asked to give so many information about our lives. The creators probably have now a lot of data about several millions of people. And they gave it voluntary. I cannot answer the question if an application can show in few moments how people are like. But one I can tell for sure, considering how fast the phenomenon of this application has spread throughout the Internet, is that the social media really carry enormous influence. It is only up to us how we will use it.  It is still a bit frightening when an engine shows you how sociable or reliable you are based on few hundred words you posted, in many cases without thinking much about it, on your facebook profile.

The site itself: