Stick-Shift Or Automatic?

People tend to be very passionate about their automobiles. This is not a surprise, since we spend so much time in our lives driving or being driven from one location to another. Regarding cars, what is your preference: a stick-shift, or an automatic vehicle?

Share why if you wish.

Stick-Shift Or Automatic?

Can An Internet Friend Be A True Companion?

As we spend more time online, we are bound to make friends there. But can an Internet friend be as good a friend — or even better — as one you meet in person?

In some ways, it makes sense that you could find a connection with someone online. After all, without geography limiting the people you can interact with, you are bound to meet people that share your interests — like an obscure band, a niche artist, or a cult movie — that you might not meet otherwise.

In addition, we have a multitude of ways to communicate over long distances. Everything from hand-written letters to phone calls, from text messages to video conferencing. As a result, if the motivation to stay in touch with someone exists, there are several different ways to do it.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘How can we encourage debate?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘What is the value of inefficiency?’


However, each one of us has a physical presence. We evolved to be attuned to the physical presence of someone else. This might include unspoken communication like body language, pheromones, and body heat. There is something about the touch of another human being that produces a chemical reaction inside your body. And it is not just limited to intimacy.

So what do you think? Can a friendly relationship between two people be sustained solely through e-mail messages, Zoom calls, and social media posts? Or is a true, deep, thoughtful friendship dependent on physical proximity? Can an Internet friend be a true companion?

Related questions: What makes a friendship? What do you get out of social media? How can we engage in meaningful conversation? What makes a community?

Stove-top Or Microwave?

Using a stove-top can be slower and create more dishes that need to be cleaned. Microwave ovens, while faster, can heat unevenly. Do you prefer one over the other?

Share why if you wish.

Stove-top Or Microwave?

What Technology Most Impacts Your Life?

There is little doubt that technology impacts our lives every single day. It is one of the defining characteristics of the human race. For better or worse, the devices we have constructed have allowed transformative change for how we live, as well as for the planet we live on.

Some technology is obviously good. We have extended life spans, reduced or eliminated diseases, and increased the available food supply.

However, there is a dark side to it, as well. Climate change, species extinction, and overpopulation are the consequences of some of these technological innovations.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘Is technology neutral?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘Freedom or security?’


On a personal level, which inventions or innovations have made the biggest impact on your life? Perhaps a medical advance that saved your life? Eyeglasses that allow you to see clearly? Printing presses that allow for knowledge aggregation? Indoor plumbing to reduce disease and increase comfort? Airplanes that allow you to travel just about anywhere on the surface of the earth? The Internet for pulling together so many different areas of information? Or the smartphone that allows you to bring it with you wherever you go?

What technology most impacts your life? Which one has most negatively impacted your life?

Related questions: What skills have you lost due to technology? What role does technology play in your life? Will technology save us? What new technology do you want? Is technology neutral?

Will Technology Save Us?

There are a number of problems facing our society, from climate change to civil unrest, from hyper-partisanship to a global pandemic. Many of these, and other, problems have been caused or been exacerbated through our use of technology. But can technology save us as well?

Our industrial growth has spewed greenhouse gasses into the air. Evolving news outlets and the rise of social media platforms have increased the division that already existed in our society.  International travel hastened the spread of a highly contagious and deadly disease.

If these problems have been hastened by technology, is there some hope that technology is also the potential solution?

Maybe we’ll rapidly discover and deploy a vaccine to combat the pandemic. Maybe carbon capture devices will halt or even reverse the level of greenhouse gasses. Or maybe cell phone and body cam footage will continue to make painfully clear the instances of racial bias that, in the past, might have gone unnoticed or disbelieved.   The internet offers the possibility of exposing problems that must be addressed, or, in other cases connecting us, rather than dividing us.

But is it realistic to count on the very thing causing some of our problems to also be the cure? It might be that any efforts to develop a technological solution may just will only introduce new, and potentially even worse, problems. Or it could be that we need to use all the tools in our toolkit — including technology — to tackle the difficulties we currently face.

What do you think? Is tech to blame for the challenges we face? Will it offer us a way to address those them? Will technology save us?

Related questions: What new technology do you want? What skills have you lost due to technology? Is technology neutral? What role does technology play in your life? What is the greatest problem facing humanity?