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Published:November 29th, 2009 11:47 EST
Digitized Dharma IV: Technology as a Factor of Socialization

Digitized Dharma IV: Technology as a Factor of Socialization

By Sean Beelzebul

Digitized Dharma: My Enlightenment Through Computers and Technology

Digitized Dharma II: A Programmer`s Guide to Religiosity

Digitized Dharma III: The Holiday Season

In part II I promised I would begin to address more problems with the advent and success of the spread of technology. Part III barely scratched the surface with a discussion on religious holidays and the facilitation of gift giving enabled by Internet marketing. So, with no further ado this article will delve deeper into the topic of technological terrors "the downside of technological advancement.

Google and Microsoft for example, possess a huge share of the advertising market in America and the world. The scope of their abilities is almost unimaginable for two reasons: 1) most people simply do not understand computing enough to know exactly what they can do. And 2) just by the very nature of technology itself it is constantly advancing at a feverish pace.

I will start with Google. Google constantly performs great services for the entire world through several different facets: search engines, data mining, and constantly updated news, images, documents and books to name just a few. With all this great power, there is also a great risk. That is namely that the types of material and their ease of access will shape society in the wrong way. Socialization is a term sociologists use to describe the collective process involved with shaping and creating society and its individuals therein.

A factor of socialization is the type of device or establishment influencing this process. Church, School, family and friends/peers are all classic examples of these factors. In today`s world, technology should also be included in this category. As you search through Google`s pages, you`ll most likely encounter some advertising, which is also controlled by Google, and tailored to each users need through many different techniques. In this manner, a simple Internet search can become an aspect of socialization as it lifts images, text and etc, from all over the world based on simple user inquiry. The more popular a business or an add is, the more likely Google will support the vendor and disseminate the material(s) on a broad scale. So what is wrong here, popularity rules, what is good for many is good for me, right?

Well, popularity is not a good gauge of the wholesomeness of a product, or a business, or a factor of socialization for that manner. I am under the impression that what is truly wholesome in this world is often not very popular and sometimes extremely rare. All the power programmed inside Google, is clearly charged for economic purposes. Now, in a capitalistic society this is 100% acceptable. Yet, something is wrong here.

With the advent of technology in the last ten to twenty years, we have seen the deterioration of many businesses, as things have gotten replaced with the new techniques, or they have been forgone altogether in favor of free data "as far as the film, music and art industries are concerned. This is not Google`s fault, but they clearly have not helped with this deterioration. The power of the mega-computing companies has exacerbated the downfall of smaller types of artistic businesses and has made the poor suffering artist, even poorer. With free music, free movies and etc, available all over the world, only the most successful touring artists can seem to make a living off their art.

Art is only one aspect of socialization that Google has recreated, as we move on in this series, more of these effects will be explained. For now, next time you type in a query in your favorite search engine, whether it is Google, Bing or Yahoo, pay attention to the advertising and the search results themselves. Although, it may be a sophisticated algorithm dictating what you see, remember there is still something controlling what you observe.