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The Future of Technology

Hands are distinctly human – no other creature has features that closely resemble them. Used in this image they represent power, control, authority and care. They are meant to infer that the future of technology, and that of the world to some degree, is up to us. Humankind has the potential to make a huge impact on the planet. In fact we have in a sense been doing so since the beginning of our species. We are always trying to shape the earth as we see fit. We invent new machines which help us understand and master the natural world. New technologies have paved the way for much great human advancement. Cities have been built where trees, not skyscrapers, once pierced the skyline. The air is no longer the dominion of birds alone, flight has been given to humans through airplanes. New technologies do not, however, provide humans with the ethics needed to discern their appropriate use. This image strives to convey this idea through coded and non-coded iconic means.

At first glance this image appears fairly straightforward and lends itself to a simple analysis of its non-coded iconic imagery. It is a collage consisting of several individual elements that are easily distinguishable and recognizable. The most distinct features are a city landscape and a pair of hands. Upon closer inspection, an airplane flying through a cloud is visible, along with a couple of reflections in the water.

The only text in this picture is the faint ones and zeroes which partially constitute the “reflection” in the water of the cloud. The numbers here are used to represent the multitude of data that is collected on people. It does not offer a denotation of any particular literal meaning – the message is more representational and therefore more iconic than linguistic.

Further analysis of the coded iconic imagery present in the image yields several interesting conclusions. The various buildings bursting into the skyline and the plane soaring high above the earth bring to mind the fact that technology has provided humans with almost limitless possibilities. However, that same technology, when placed in the wrong hands, can yield unruly and critical consequences. Within the opposing reflection of the cityscape and plane lie these consequences.

The plane’s reflection depicts the plane flying through a “data cloud” as opposed to a meteorological cloud. This technological cloud is a representation of the data that is collected on a vast majority of our activities. Just as passengers on a plane sail through a wispy cloud without even really noticing it, people sail through their everyday lives without the faintest hint of worry about the massive amounts of data collected on them. This data is used by advertisers, the government, and businesses, and for the most part is relatively harmless. The problem is when people with a shadier motive come across this sensitive data. Credit card numbers are stolen, along with social security numbers and even whole identities.

The atomic bomb is something of great power and is a prime example of humankind’s achievement. Yet it also represents the darker side of human nature, the destructive side that yearns for power no matter the cost. The reflective nature of the water that contains this image and that of the plane hints at the idea that we humans should pause and reflect on our actions and inventions. Our ability to safeguard technology and use it ethically must keep up with the pace of technology as it continues to grow.

Attribution: 

"My hands" by Flickr user Kristofher, Creative Commons Licensed (Attribution 2.0)
Explosion image is public domain
"Airplane" by Flickr user Muhammad Bajubair, Creative Commons Licensed (Attribution 2.0)
"Lonely Cloud" by Flickr user Rusty Haskell, Creative Commons Licensed (Attribution 2.0)

Brief Description: 

This image strives to convey the idea that although technology has paved the way for much great human advancement, it does not provide humans with the ethics needed to discern its appropriate use.

Comments

I like the use of the atomic bomb.

Your image has a lot of connotative meaning which I find great. This idea of "technology in the wrong hands" is accurately portrayed here and it's done effectively. The only thing (maybe) that I found is a slight grammatical change in the second paragraph with 'are' and 'is', but it's really not that crucial. Love your message, good job (the idea of am airplane in a data cloud was especially cool). I would love it if the airplane stood out more as well because I think you make a lot of great points about it.

I think this is beautifully done. I did not read the write-up about it, but I am really impressed by how you modified this image into something really awesome. Good work!

I agree about the airplane and that it should stand out more. Also, be careful with your opening statement because hands aren't actually distinctly human (monkeys!). The message is good, though. I really enjoyed reading your analysis of this image.

Some animals do have body parts similar to hands, especially apes and monkeys who have opposable thumbs ;]

This image is really lovely! I looked at the top before I scanned the whole image and just thought how pretty it was. Then I looked at the bottom and it all clicked. Love the composition.

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