Let’s get uncomfortable.

My name is Arkadiy Norkin and I’m a 29-year-old MBA student and IT professional who’s been in love with technology since I was old enough to hold a remote control.

I’ve used cassette tapes, CDs, MP3s, and (currently) streaming services to get my music. I’ve seen VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray videos become extinct over time. I was on MySpace before those nausea-inducing custom pages with glitter and auto-playing songs became popular and I was invited to Facebook when it was still exclusive to certain colleges. I’ve had every generation of cell phones from the Motorola flip phones (pre-razor) to the Samsung Galaxy S9 I have today (with enough time to switch to iPhone and back). I remember when I had to carry around a cell phone, a GPS, an MP3 player, and a camera in my various cargo-shorts pockets. I’ve lived through the dotcom bubble (although I was pretty young at the time) and I remember when teachers used to tell students “you’ll need to learn (insert skill here) because you won’t always have a (insert phone app here) in your pocket”.

Image result for Motorola v60
My first cell phone, the Motorola V60

I think it’s pretty clear why someone like myself would take a course on emerging technologies. I’m what most people would call an ‘early adopter’ or ‘tinkerer’. I love to learn about and play with the latest and greatest technologies, both in their infancy and as they grow, evolve, and mature. This evolution is happening more quickly than ever with technologies like CRISPR for gene editing, the consumerization of virtual and augmented reality, the introduction of autonomous vehicles, businesses becoming platforms instead of producers (think Uber or Airbnb), and artificial intelligence through machine learning; the list goes on and on and on.  

What may not be clear is that I’m a fairly private person. I use uBlock Origin to block targeted advertisements (with specific sites whitelisted to allow monetization for content creators I support) and Privacy Badger to restrict the use of cookies to track my online behavior. I use a private VPN on my home network to obscure network traffic and I keep all my social media profiles (with the exception of Twitter, as of this semester) with privacy settings turned up to the maximum. My one exception is my ever-listening Google Home, which I hope to replace with my own smart-home setup powered by a Raspberry Pi or Arduino board.

Image result for raspberry pi
Raspberry Pi: a $30 computer that fits in the palm of your hand

This brings me to the title of this post: “Let’s get uncomfortable”. What I want to get out of this class is the opportunity and ability to step out of my comfort zone with regards to social media. I’d like to ‘put myself out there’ a little more, with less skepticism and fear of public reaction. Historically, I’ve been really averse to sharing too much of my private information on any public medium. I’ve seen what happens to those who have been doxed because they let a tiny piece of personal information slip into the public sphere. Remember when Reddit thought they caught the Boston Marathon bombing suspects and proceeded to flood an innocent persons’ Facebook to the point that his family was fearful for their safety? The internet is one of the world’s most powerful forces, for better or for worse.

Additionally, I want to discuss all the topics I’ve listed above with like-minded people who are also passionate about technology. I want to see where they think we’ll be in five, ten, fifty, a hundred years from now.

When the video camera was first introduced the public in the form of movies, directors would take the known medium of the time (plays conducted in a theater) and simply filmed those experiences. Nobody could have guessed that technology would be used to create something like Transformers or Avatar. The first telephone was dismissed as a useless toy that “would never amount to anything” by Western Union. Tesla died broke as people couldn’t understand the value of being able to send signals wirelessly across the air. My point is that humanity (historically) has been pretty terrible at predicting where technology is going to take us in the future. How many people thought we’d all have flying cars by the 21st century?

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Transformers: To this day some of the best CGI I’ve ever seen

However, the more we discuss, the better our predictions will be. It’s easy to dismiss a new technology, but much harder to estimate how it will grow and evolve. Take Kodak as the perfect case study for a company that underestimated the disruption of a new technology. In addition to just seeing where the future of technology will lead us, I’m fascinated by how we will adapt to these technologies. Will we embrace them or abuse them? Will we incorporate them into daily life or outlaw them? Will our ethical and moral considerations ever outweigh the speed of a technological disruption?

I definitely don’t have the answers, but I’d like to step out of my comfort zone and have these discussions in a public forum. I want people to challenge my ideas and be able to debate them back. And lastly, I want to learn how to create a concise argument in 280 characters or less!

5 comments

  1. Hey Arkadiy,
    I too am a fairly private person and consider myself more of a “Facebook Stalker”, to clarify I prefer to only post on rare occasion, but keep up to date with how my friends are doing. Yet, at the same time I also would consider myself and “Innovator” on the adoption curve. I think this class will push us both to delve deeper into the “benefits” of investing ourselves in a digital life, one in social media. Further, I think by the very nature of this class forcing us to go online, we’ll see the many business opportunities that are out there and see how social media in the digital world can indeed benefit us.

  2. Hi Conor,

    I love that you needed to clarify ‘Facebook Stalker’. With that new Netflix show ‘You’, I think the clarification is needed!

    Can’t wait to see where the class takes us!

    1. Just realized I could have replied directly to your comment. Oops! Still figuring out WordPress

  3. dilillomelissa · · Reply

    Hi Arkadiy,
    I find it exciting that you are using this class to become more liberal in your social media presence. I guess that comes with taking this kind of class. I have always been the type of person to be extremely present on social media and you bring up some good points on being cautious, which I should think more about. I think with a little balance, we can both find a happy medium of sharing information with the world while learning about emerging technologies amongst our peers.

    1. Completely agree, balance is the key! Can I ask how you mostly use social media?

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