How is human nature changed form technology?
In the late 20th century, internet combined with World Wide Web start to hit a big in every society because it makes a possible of sharing the worldwide information. There is no doubt that computer network has a strong impact to people with its capacity of gathering and delivering information. However, as the information’s property is that it above all kinds of messages, which means that while people search for the useful information they also may receive some other useless information, for example, some information that called propaganda. The basic reason for the development of propaganda can be described as how to take advantages from the technological enhancement and the internal of human nature. Though the upgrading of technology provides a lot of benefits for human society, it also brings about so many problems; and human nature is like the catalyst to amplify the greedy of human desire. Propaganda, as an important way for advertisers to lure and brainwash the audiences, has developed in a rapid speed when technological enhancement and human nature continue influences people’s decisions.
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Technological enhancement is like the top one assistant to help propaganda spread and exploded faster than decades before. In the article “Computer and the Pursuit of Happiness”, David Gelernter draws out a statement that “But using technology to defeat distance has been another goal of the industrial revolution from the start, from railroads through the Panama Canal and onward.” (138) What Gelernter’s clime is that no matter in which period, people are willing to use technology skills to link together from a long distance. Propaganda can be a well appropriate example to show this method. Assuming that if the president of a large country wants to announce a political decision by using propaganda as soon as possible, but the only way he can use is the traditional way to transmit it, such as railway or water route which will defiantly delay the speed of transmitting the announcement. However, with the assist of technology, people can use radio, TV, and then computer and networks, finally the latest one – internet which connected the whole world to overcome geography and be able to get the information in a fastest way. How come that advertiser will not take some benefits from that technological society by producing propaganda? Technology builds a bright and straight way for advertisers to broadcast various propagandas without any restriction from time or region. Furthermore, technology also makes the category of propaganda becomes copious and colorful. Advertisers can have plentiful technologic ways and skills to create propaganda so that it will be more attracted and alluring. Nobody would say no to the glamorous and creative propaganda which can draw your attention at the very beginning; and the advertisers know it extremely well than anybody else. In spite of the technology enhancement that improve the appearance and the hardware of propaganda, the people who are easily be allured by propaganda can be described as the human nature that is always be in the same pattern and is to simple too be penetrated.
From ancient time to the present, human nature seems like it has conflicting phenomenon. On the one side it remains the same in some aspects; on the other side, there are also have some changes. Ann McClintock mentioned a common sense when people see propaganda that “We are victims, content – even eager – to be victimized. We read advertisers’ propaganda messages in newspapers and magazines; we watch their alluring images on television …… We all do it – even those of us who claim to see through advertisers’ tricks and therefore feel immune to advertising’s charm”, (158) in her article “Propaganda Techniques in Today’s Advertising”. The author use the word “victim” to describe the people who truly buy the lie of propaganda in order to reveal a truth that people are vulnerable when they face the fascinating propaganda; and no matter how much the people convince to themselves that they know all tricks in propaganda; they still easily to be fooled by advertisers. So the answer to why it would happen is that the feature of the human nature. There is a common situation in almost everyone’s experience, when people come into a selection of two similar products, in most time people will chose the one with fancy appearance. This is one of the human natures that people will tend to be attracted by appearances but not the inside qualities, which has not changed in decades and will not be changed in future. As this reason, advertisers will try as hard as they can to improve the appearance of products or figures inside of the intrinsic and the qualities of it. Speaking of the change of human nature, it can show through the development of human mind and society. When communication between people from everywhere has fewer limits and people are more open to adapt new things from other country or culture, advertisers are able to have more opportunities to get profits from all over the world by broadcasting a proper propaganda. Considering the alteration and the uniformity of human nature, advertisers always can find a way to promote their “products” whether they are objects, figures or opinions.
In the war between audience and advertiser, the winner always is the advertiser, especially when advertisers can use technology flexible and know human nature like the back of their hands. In Ann McClintock’s article “Propaganda Techniques in Today’s Advertising”, McClintock points that “Every day, we are bombarded with slogans, print ads, commercials, packaging claims, billboards, trademarks, logos, and designer brands – all forms of propaganda.” (160-161) In this sentence, most of these media are partly connected to the technology, because technology makes these things become more and more common in the society; and technology is still showing its advantages to advertisers for how to improve tactics in producing propaganda. Nobody will doubt the ingenuity of human so it means that nobody can stop the development of technology. In that way, audiences will become more vulnerable in front of a well decorated propaganda. Similarly, David Gelernter mentioned his thoughts in the article “Computers and the Pursuit of Happiness” that “Human nature does not change; human needs and wants remain basically the same. Human ingenuity dreams up a new technology, and we put it to use – doing in a new way something we have always done in some other way.” (140) He claims that with the desire of human nature has never changed, we tend to invite more high-tech devices to replace some works which were done by human before. In some aspect, it is good for human life; on the contrary, this is how propaganda converts from paperwork into different forms, such like radio, video, or even lights. Human nature is like a flaw in a precious jade, everyone can see it, but cannot fix it. To contradict the information from propaganda but continue develop technology; we can try to concentrate more on the essence of human nature and be aware of the deliberate deception from advertisers. If advertisers put a good use of technology and human nature in propaganda, people will have highly risk of the propaganda might control the personal decisions and judgments.
Although people know that most propaganda are fictitious and deceitful, the majority will still buy and trust it. Someone may make an assertion that all these faults and influences are made by the development of technology and have no relevance with human nature. However, because human nature is deep inside human mind, people do not want to admit that they – themselves also are an aspect of being deceived by propaganda. On the one hand, technology does make human life become more convenient and efficient, so the society cannot only blame the technological changing. On the other hand, human nature is hard to change because it already inherits from generations to generations. In some aspect, this world cannot be operated well without propaganda. For instance, producers need it to sell their products, candidates need it to win the campaign and even the politicians or scholars need it to express their viewpoints. In order to really take some benefits from technology but not fooled by the deception of propaganda, people need to be more cautious and avoid the influence of human nature when they encountered with the diverse propaganda. If everyone can see through advertisers’ strategy, the winner of a propaganda war must be the audiences instead of the producers.
Gelernter, David “Computers and the Pursuit of Happiness”. New Directions. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005
McClintock, Ann “Propaganda Techniques in Today’s Advertising”. New Directions. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005
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