Technology, Solitude, and Loneliness

Technology has become something that is essential to many as technology is used in almost every aspect of our lives. It’s the cars we drive; the cellphones we use; the oven we cook with; the fridge we keep things in; the cameras we use; the laptops we use; the television we watch; the video games we play. It has come to a point where technology is everywhere in our lives. With such technological advances comes many amazing benefits to humanity as well as many consequences. One of the major drawbacks of the use of technology is not only the lack of solitude, but the increase in loneliness of many in society. Solitude and loneliness are regarded as two completely separate things, however, the question lies as to whether the two could be connected in any way, shape, or form. Truth is, I firmly believe that although solitude and loneliness are two separate entities they share a connection through technology. Technology has been developed to connect ourselves to the world, making maintaining friendships that much easier as they are just a click away, however, in some ways technology has actually brought us further apart from each other. Although technology has brought a lack of solitude to some, it has given some too much alone time thereby, causing an increase in loneliness for some. The following will be about the development of technology, the loss of solitude the increase in loneliness and what we can do to give ourselves solitude while avoiding loneliness.


Photo credit to The New York Times

To start off:

What is Solitude?

Solitude is, “the state of being solitary or secluded” (“Solitude”, 2014).

To the world, solitude is the ability to be content being alone. For some people that involves travelling alone, going to see a movie, going shopping, or doing anything that gives you alone time. For others, being alone is a scary thing for various reasons such as being viewed as a “loner” or perhaps when alone your mind wanders off and thinks too much about things causing further issues. Solitude can mean many different things to many people but essentially it is the sense of being alone. Sometimes individuals need that time to be alone; they need a time where technology can be eliminated and a person can rid themselves of all connections to the world and just relax. Solitude is a positive state of mind that involves being alone without the lingering feelings of loneliness.  Solitude is significant as it provides an individual with time to contemplate life, reflect, inner searching, and the development of our identity.  It is the ability to enjoy the quiet and being able to find enjoyment in your own company. Solitude is a choice. Solitude is significant for all, however, everyone differs in the amount of solitude needed. 


solitude 1

Photo credit to E.M.E Physique

How is Solitude Relevant in the Technological World?

As society continues to become technologically advanced we have become even further connected to others in the world. With such connectivity, we sometimes forget that time to ourselves is significant as well. We sometimes forget to shut off our technological devices to relax and enjoy the world as it is. Individuals are beginning to talk less and text more. For instance, there are teenagers who send about 100 texts per day adding up to about 3,000 a month which means that some individuals spend no more than 10 minutes alone per day. Individuals are almost always connected and thus miss out on opportunities to be alone.  


Photo Credit to Singhc123 blog

What is Loneliness?

Loneliness is, “affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome”.

Loneliness can be viewed as a negative state of mind as the individual begins to feel disconnected and isolated from others and longs for a sense of reconnection. An individual can feel lonely while being surrounded by many individuals at once. Loneliness can be detrimental to your health.  In fact chronic loneliness can contribute to health issues such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, increased stress levels, depression, high blood pressure and anxiety. Loneliness unlike solitude, is something at is imposed on us due to the loss of connection to others. As much as we want a connection and contact with others we are unable to obtain it and as a result feel as though something is missing.


Photo credit to Guiding Positive Change

How is Loneliness Relevant to the Technological World?

We use social media in order to stay connected to individuals; however, does social networking really keep us together? Although social networking sites such as Facebook, and Twitter attempt to keep us together, people have become overly reliant on such programs to the point where they replace a lot of their face-to-face friendships with these online ones. By stating such a thing I do not mean that individuals threw away their strong ties with people for weaker ones, but instead, individuals have begun to rely on Facebook, and Twitter as the primary source of contact with people. Rather than spending time face-to-face with people, they instead just remain connected online. Such strong ties end up becoming weak ones as contact is lost. Although people are always “connected” to others through the internet, thereby losing our solitude, do we really get the connection to other individuals that we need? The truth is we do not. Although constantly connected through social media, individuals under 35 years old have reported feeling lonelier than ever. Nearly 50% of individuals feel that they only have on person they can confide in as opposed to the three individuals people had 25 years ago. Even though you are connecting to the people you are closest with online, it is always through distance and is thus, less satisfying and more difficult to feel like you are able to open up to others. Social networking provides individuals with the illusion that their friendships are significant and real, but in reality they are shallow, superficial and unable to meet the typical demands and pressures that exist in a true relationship. The internet can hide a lot of things about people that face-to-face contact cannot hide. So upon meeting individuals you feel you can connect to online, there are many things you may discover about that person you could not possible learn through social networking. You begin to face hardships with that person that you would not know of through internet relationships and you begin to discover more about this so called “friendship” finding out you truly knew nothing about the person. It is through these hardships that individual’s friendships grow stronger or may crumble. The internet cannot provide these, therefore, leaving you to never truly know the person you are communicating with in a deeper sense.


Photo credit to 99 HD Wallpaper

I could go on and on about how technology actually increases our loneliness, however, I feel that this video may be a more effective method for individuals to see the true way social networking can lead us to feel more and more alone.

Video credited to Shimi Cohen.

Is This Issue World-wide?

Another thing that must be considered is whether this increase in loneliness due to technological innovation exists in other cultures or whether it is just individualistic cultures dealing with this change. It has actually been found that collectivist cultures struggle less with the aspect of loneliness because of technology. In fact, in an experiment conducted by Jackson and Wang, Chinese participants not only spent less time on social networking sites than individuals from the United to states but they also valued it significantly less (Jackson & Wang, 2013). The reason behind this is because collectivist cultures stress the importance of family and overall connectedness. Where individualistic cultures promote the value of individuality and ourselves, collectivists stress the interacting and caring of friends, families, and groups over the value of themselves (Jackson & Wang, 2013). This can easily be reflected through social networking sites as site such as Facebook are focused on self-promoting with new photos, as well as status’s updates about yourself. The Chinese would have no need for such when they stress importance of others over themselves. Parents are also more strict, and therefore, observe their children’s activities far more than parents from individualistic cultures who promote autonomy (Jackson & Wang, 2013). Essentially, this current battle between loneliness and technological use is only between the more individualistic cultures than the collectivist cultures.


Photo credit to Re-thinking life… blog

What Can We do About All of This?

The first thing someone can do in order to eliminate this reliance of technology and connectedness is to allow yourself some solitude. Give yourself some time alone every now and then. Turn off your phone, disconnect yourself from the internet and enjoy time to yourself. It does not have to be anything big; it could be just sketching in your room, or going for a walk. However, it is important to note this is just a suggestion as being alone is not for everyone as some people find it unsettling. So when it comes to finding time alone, only do it if it is something you find relaxing and enjoy. An approach to ridding yourself of loneliness may be approached in a similar manner to solitude. The first step to conquering loneliness is to spend more time offline than online. Rather than establishing the basis of your friendship through social networking, take the time to meet your friends, or new people face-to-face. Although it may be a scary thing because you are unable to edit your thoughts before saying them, you will build a much stronger relationship with people through real life contact and it will be more enjoyable. Although time is what most struggle with these days, finding the time to spend with friends is significant to your overall health and well-being which should be put before many of the other mundane activities we perform a day. You can moreover, rid yourself of loneliness by engaging in your community. If you volunteer or even join a club in your community, you will not only find yourself keeping busy but also interacting and meeting new people! This is beneficial as it will aid you in feeling more connected with your society along with the possibility of making you feel better as a person for doing something good for your community or even just for yourself. The internet has taught us to promote ourselves. When getting out into society, be sure to listen. Through the internet we are always self-promoting ourselves and talking about ourselves, this time listen to what others may have to stay. Although we are unable to edit our conversations in real life, we are able to connect to others through our vulnerabilities. When meeting new people, also find people who are rather similar to  you. No one will be completely like you, but you should find someone you can bond over similar interests or perhaps just opinions. Lastly, be sure to reconnect with others and take the initiative to start events. People can be intimated with the thought of inviting people over or going out with people in the fear of messing up, however, it is the perfect chance to reconnect with people who were once close.


Photo Credit to Everyday Theology


Jackson, L., & Wang, J. (2013). Cultural differences in social networking site use: A comparative
     study of china and the united states. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 910-921. doi:


Technology and Privacy

Technology has become an essential product of society. As individuals within society, we rely on technology for much of our daily tasks. In fact, 78% of teenagers have a cellphone and 93% of teens have a computer or access to one at home. Although this technological use is for the most part beneficial, it does come at a cost. That major consequence in this rise of technology is the loss of privacy. In fact websites we use such as Facebook, and Google are tracking our information and locations in various ways, and I do not agree with it. They claim that because we put something online, it is automatically considered public and thus they have every reason to take that information and sell it to others. At this point many individuals go throughout their days without considering that the things they do,  and the things they think are private, are actually watched.

Who takes our privacy from us? How do they take our privacy? What can we do about it? Here are ways we lose our privacy, who takes it, and what we can do to prevent it:

Facebook When individuals use Facebook, no one typically considers much of it. In fact, most people just see the website as an opportunity to keep in touch with people and maintain friendships. It furthermore is viewed as a place where individuals can share things they enjoy, as well as speak their mind and update people through status updates. What people are unaware of though is that although Facebook does provide many useful tools to keep individuals connected, it also comes with the loss of privacy. Facebook learns a lot of information about their users through their likes on different pages, their statuses, what they do while on Facebook, what they purchase, and through their friendships. In fact, even when you play Facebook games, the permission page most individuals skip over without thinking is actually one in which invades your privacy as it asks if the application can access all of your personal information. A lot of individuals have recently complained about this loss of privacy, and Facebook has as a result been working on giving the individual more freedom to choose whether to give them their information. Facebook may furthermore, invade your privacy through their application on your phone. As previously stated, when we see Facebook, we imagine it as just a typical site that individuals can use with many benefits; however, there are costs that many of us are unaware of. One of these costs that we are unaware about is that the Facebook application from your phone has a satellite tracker on it, allowing Facebook to have access to your location as well as sounds, video sensors, and other individuals information including their phone numbers which they may actually be using. Although we consider most of what we do on Facebook to be private, it is actually the opposite. Facebook has access to our private messages and everything we post in general. Facebook thus, invades our privacy in various ways that individuals may have not even considered. Facebook is a company we even focus on in our class as they have found many ways to invade our privacy. There are always circumstances where people are unable to meet face to face, a lot of which is due to long distance friendships or relationships due to different aspects of life. To say a company has every right to take our information because we put it online is stupid. Sometimes we have no choice but to message a person on Facebook because that is our only method of communication that is easiest and cheapest for both. It does not give third parties access to any of the information or content available in these messages. No one has a right to read these messages unless someone may be a greater threat to society. Otherwise, it is the individual’s conversation between each other, and no one has the right to intervene. A person’s statuses and liked pages however, are relatively different depending on the culture. Western cultures have a habit of adding friends on Facebook that they have only met once or just know. Thus, a lot of their friends on Facebook are not truly friends. By posting status’ and liking pages, you are giving out you information to people you do not know, so essentially, you are opening some of your personal information to the public. If an individual chooses to do that, I see no difference in companies having access to that data as they know you just as much as those individuals- not at all. In collectivist cultures, however, individuals have more of a tendency to only have close peers on Facebook. They only have as many friends on Facebook as they have in person, and work to maintain those rather than adding more individuals who are not really known well enough to have access to their personal information.


Photo Credits to Softpedia.

What Can We Do With Facebook to Avoid Losing Privacy?

With Facebook, I suggest first deleting people you do not know if you do not plan on communicating with them. Facebook friends are just a number; it does not label you as better or worse than others. You should only have people on Facebook you are okay with learning your personal information. Although this will not stop the company from selling your information, this will help eliminate the chances of your photo ending up somewhere it should not be (this happened to a friend of mine). In regards to your privacy on the site, dependent on how you feel, it may be better to find a new form of communication and do your research on if that form is safe. A major thing I would do in regards to Facebook is to avoid downloading the application on your phone. You do not need it. It may be more efficient, but do you really want Facebook having access to your location and the phone numbers on your phone? Avoid it for the privacy of you and your friends.  Also look at all your privacy settings and ensure your photos , and posts are private to the public. You may furthermore, want to be aware of what applications you give your personal information to as well, as application pages always ask for access to your information.


facebook mobile

Photo Credit to The Institution of Engineering and Technology.


Google has become something that we have become rather depended on as individuals within society. Whenever we need to know something, or find information for school or personal manners, we typically rely on Google to aid us with such information. We are accustomed to using Google many times a day, however, we never truly consider how much access Google has to our internet. What is worse is that Google believes that it has every right to take our personal data as long as it is over the internet. What is even more worrisome is that Google not only collects information about the items we search, but it has access to many things that we believe are private. Google has access to information from our cellphones, and laptops as well as settings and passwords for them. Google should be a company that is feared for how much information they take from us. Google recently admitted that satellites that were claimed to be “taking photos” for Google earth street view were actually taking photos to collect data from inside businesses as well as homes, some of this information being passwords, e-mails, and other personal information. Google has access to more information than ever imagined which could be potentially dangerous to many. Google also has a record for bypassing certain anti-tracking features as well. Google disliked being blocked from obtaining more information from the public and thereby, found a way to bypass Safari’s anti-tracking features causing many individuals to have their information taken without their awareness. Google is a powerful company that has even found loopholes into getting access to individuals information. Individuals who use other programs to protect their information may still be being tracked by Google. I used to love Google, I thought it was amazing and enjoyed how much information it could provide me. To me, having Google on my phone was a blessing just because of how useful it is. I however, never considered that with Google I was losing my privacy until recently. I now stomp around quite a bit talking about how I am, “angry at Google”. Why? I was just like everyone else with Google, and continued my reliability with Google by using Google Plus. What I did not realize was that Google Plus found a way to get access to almost everything I was doing. When you contemplate it, a lot of phones have Google Plus set up because it backs up your phone numbers, photos, videos and so forth. This was another sneaky way Google got access to all your personal information. Having Google maps completes it as they even have your location at all times. What Google Plus does not tell you is that they have permission to do things on your phone without your permission. For instance, I connected my Google Plus to my phone thinking it was a fantastic idea. One day I got this message on my phone that Google decided to edit some of my photos (without my permission). I was rather confused so proceeded to check what Google meant. What I found was that Google took ALL of my photos on my phone, and downloaded them with my exact location for the world to see. Just because I take photos, does not mean I want them plastered all over the internet. This terrified me. I immediately had to delete everything. This lead me questioning how much other information Google has taken from me without me even thinking about it.


Photo Credit to The Guardian: Liberty Voice.

What Can We Do About Google?

Google is a tough competitor. I learned this because I actually tried to delete Google Plus off my phone to avoid losing my privacy again. Google however, cannot be deleted from your phone. If you are like me and overly paranoid, you can force stop the application so that whenever it attempts to do something, it will stop working. With regards to Google maps, hiding your location is an essential move if you are paranoid with giving Google that information. When using Google Plus, be sure to consider the privacy aspects before backing your information onto it. Do some research and know what you are getting into. It is rather difficult to hide all your information from Google as we use it every day, however, I urge you to become more aware of the ways Google invades our privacy and ways you can minimize that in the best way possible.

google plus

Photo Credit to Semdrive.

The one last way I want to focus on how we lose our privacy is one I think is overlooked. Upon looking up research for this information I found none exist. This shocked me as this is one of the biggest ways I feel my privacy has been breached. So since I feel it is a neglected way we lose our privacy I would like to focus on it, and hopefully get people contemplating their lives and how they contribute to this.

Loss of Privacy in Everyday Society

Upon looking for information about how our privacy is lost in today’s world, a lot of individuals forget completely about society as a whole. Today, when I walk through my neighborhood without any thought, people are invading my privacy in many ways that never used to exist. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, in 2014 90% of American adults have a cellphone, and 58% of adults at that own a smartphone (“Mobile Technology Fact Sheet”). Most individuals in society have a cellphone with them at all times. Although this seems to be the norm, it is a potential danger to the loss of privacy in public. I am a firm believer that although in public, anything I choose to wear as well as anywhere I choose to go or do should remain private. I feel that my life is my life, and only individuals I give permission to have the right to videotape me or take photos of me. Since 90% of individuals in America now have cellphones, we are open to this type of loss of privacy. Not only that, but sites like Facebook create pages just to post photos or write about the things they see people doing or the way they are dressing. An example of this is the Facebook page “Only in Hamilton” where people post images and videos of individuals without their permission. I find this unacceptable and a loss of privacy, whether they deviate from the social norms, or do something we find wrong. Although I have yet to find myself a victim of this (that I am aware of at least), I still would dislike it if I had my photo or videos of me posted while I was trying to live my life. It is an invasion of my privacy. I also personally feel that by watching others behave in such a manner, and post pages such as the one mentioned above, I almost fear having things taken of me and them ending up on the internet. This is actually terrifying and immoral as no one should have any right to be recording anyone without their permission. Although it can sometimes be successful and spreading information and support along, it is also harmful as you can easily destroy a person’s reputation as well as life. Just think about the all the stories you see online where people are misunderstood and then labelled. Videos such as these exist everywhere and can destroy a person’s life in ways that are unimaginable. Imagine being videotaped while angry at someone, what if the person videotaped you labelled you as abusive because of one thing you did in the video. Imagine everything you could lose just from that one false label on the internet.

photo of strangers

Photo Credit to The Maude.


As you can see, our privacy is jeopardized in a variety of ways and by a variety of companies as well as members of society themselves. Most individuals seemed to have stopped caring; however, I feel we should be standing up to businesses that are trying to collect information from us. I furthermore believe that applications on our phones such as Google Plus should allow us to delete it and keep as much privacy as we can, if that is even possible anymore.

Technological Innovation in Transportation

The era of information technology is continuously surprising us with new creations that make life a lot less complex and more efficient for us. Take the Google self-driven cars for instance; although they are still under development, they have the potential to bring new things to potential drivers. It brings further safety  by preventing drinking and driving, and it allows individuals who are unable to drive due to disabilities to have the opportunity to drive themselves around the area in order to complete their errands (“Look, no hands”, 2013).  Google cars create further safety by preventing many accidents. Whether these accidents are due to technological distractions such as cellphones or due to a mistake or even poor and uneducated decisions, it avoids such accidents and may potentially save millions who die a year due to motor vehicle accidents. The Google car, however, is just the beginning of the development of the technology on transportation systems around the world. Just as the Google self-driving car brings both efficiency and safety, many other products are in the planning stage or developmental stage to make transportation faster, as well as safer for all. Here are a few further examples of technological innovations in transportation and the potential benefits that come with such advances.

The Hyperloop

An individual by the name of Elon Musk in the past year has proposed the creation of a 4,000 mph train that would be used in order to further connect the east with the west states in the US (Rundle, 2013). Such a proposal could revolutionize how individuals choose to travel. Furthermore, it connects these individuals by enabling such individuals to travel for jobs. Such enables individuals who enjoy living on one coast the ability to commute to work across the coast while maintaining their current household. This could be ground-breaking for jobs as individuals will no longer be left to find a job within their area, forced to drive across a city or state, as well as preventing the issue of job relocations.  It was estimated that the hyperloop could reduce time travelled as a trip from California to New York could be completed in 45 minutes and would moreover, be safer than a plane or rail system as it would never crash (Rundle, 2013). Another potential benefit of the hyperloop is the potential of creating an energy safe mode of transportation. Elon Musk claims that the creation of the hyperloop could be solar powered, potentially saving the power or fuel used to run both cars and railways (Rundle, 2013).

The one potential drawback that has been hypothesized is only the cost to create the hyperloop. It is estimated that the hyperloop would cost too much to construct (Rundle, 2013).


EPFL Modular Aircraft

A company known as École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has been working since 2009 to develop a modular aircraft that would allow an individual to go to a train station to take a plane (“EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show”, 2013). The main premise behind this concept is that an individual would enter a train station and board a capsule. This capsule would take the individual to the airport and then without the individual having to leave their seat, yet alone the train, they would be flown to the desired city they wished to travel to (“EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show”, 2013). “EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show”, 2013 furthermore states that the flying wing used to transport the individuals can hold up to 3 capsules, with each capsule containing 150 individuals. This idea provides various benefits including the number of passengers. Since each capsule may contain 150 individuals, each wing could carry approximately 450 passengers, allowing more individuals an opportunity to travel at one time rather than having a plane that only seats 150. This project also provides individuals with further efficiency as individuals do not have to fear how individuals will reach the airport, and seek individuals to drive them to and from the airport. Individuals can instead reach their destination via a railway and thus, no fear of inconveniencing family or friends to drive them to the airport and back. It furthermore provides individuals a quicker transportation from one destination to another. Not only does this capsule provide more individuals the ability to travel, but the flexibility of these capsule flights also avoid the chances of empty flights (“EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show”, 2013). These aircrafts also transport more individuals with less the amount of fuel used and CO2 emissions than regular planes (“EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show”, 2013). Drawbacks would be rather minimal and would most likely involve the cost to build as well as set up the connecting railway system.



A company located in New Zealand has created jetpacks that are expected to be released in 2015. Currently test runs have been underway and said to be capable of a 30 minute flight (“Kiwi ‘motorcycle in the sky’ is revving up to jet away”, 2013). The article “Kiwi ‘motorcycle in the sky’ is revving up to jet away” continues by stating that this jetpack can reach an altitude of 1.5km, with a top speed being 74 kilometers per hour. These jetpacks were created for career purpose rather than a travel purpose. It was stated that these jetpacks are aimed for individuals working in an emergency type of career such as fire and rescue services (“Kiwi ‘motorcycle in the sky’ is revving up to jet away”, 2013).

The benefit of this product would be more for fire and rescue instances as it may make rescues as well as fire emergencies more efficient as well as safer. The drawback however is the price of the jetpack themselves. They cost approximately US $150, 000 for a commercial model and US $250, 000 for a military model (“Kiwi ‘motorcycle in the sky’ is revving up to jet away”, 2013).


Straddle Bus

One technological advance I find highly beneficial is China’s idea of a straddle bus. A straddle bus would exist on the roads just like a typical bus, however, rather than it acting as a regular bus, it functions much like that of train. Instead of blocking the road though, the tracks would be on the sides of the lane with the passenger area for travellers would be higher up so that cars would still be able to drive under the bus. Explaining this system is rather difficult so hopefully this youtube video helps.

Such a creation brings numerous benefits, one of them being the ability to eliminate traffic (“Straddle Bus may be coming down the road soon”, 2013). This allows cars to travel underneath it, thus cars would no longer become congested from the constant stopping of the bus. Furthermore, due to the avoidance of traffic, it allows the system to be on time, allowing recipients to travel without fear of being late. Compared to a typical railway, this system would cost less, would take less time to build, match current passenger capacity, is economical, safe, and eliminates the hours spent in traffic (“Straddle Bus may be coming down the road soon”, 2013). Thus, it would an extremely beneficial way of travelling and may promote more individuals to commute rather than drive a car to work.

Although most of the above are not yet developed, and for some, only talk of its development exists, most of these creations are good examples of how far we have come as human beings within the world. With ideas and creations such as these, I am excited to see future ideas and creations as well as some of these inventions unfold to benefit all.

straddle bus

Work Cited

EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show (w/ Video). (2013, June 10). EPFL presents a modular aircraft at Paris Air Show (w/ Video). Retrieved May 15, 2014, from

Kiwi ‘motorcycle in the sky’ is revving up to jet away. (2013, September 21). The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from

Look, no hands. (2013, April 20). The Economist. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from

Rundle, M. (2013, July 16). Elon Musk To Unveil ‘Hyperloop’ 4000MPH Mega Train. The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from

Straddle Bus may be coming down the road soon. (2013, September 13). ZeitNews. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from