Senior Reflection - Year 2055
By James Alright
As part of the graduating class of 2055, I wanted to use my senior reflection to look back at our technological advancement as a society. I decided to choose one of the University of Michigan's Alumni and write about what I find about them online. With MyCelf being everywhere now, we can know everything about anyone with the tap of a button. But what was life like before it? I wanted to see what I could find about an Alumni and just how much information on them I could find, before MyCelf the people who had their entire life visible online were mainly only celebrities and influencers. Today, we can search up almost anyone's name and find out everything about them. It seems strange that before MyCelf, people would simply trust others based on what they would say about themselves. Technology has definitely advanced at an incredibly fast pace, and the majority of people today have grown up with technology and you could say we have all become accustomed to this speed of advancement. Everyone has phones accessible at the turn of their wrist and even our houses and cars are turning more into technological machines rather than tools for shelter or transportation. The main question most people seem to be arguing about today is, was life better before MyCelf or after? The most direct answer I can give is that technology is advancing so fast and it seems that only the older generations really worry about the ethics behind it. To further this idea, I wanted to do some research on someone who lived before a time like this.
The person I chose was a girl named Paula Luput, who had graduated from U of M with a computer Science degree in the year 2023. Her name seemed interesting to me at first glance because of her last name. Since it didn't appear to me as a typical American last name, I assumed it would be easier to find information about her and her younger life. As you will see below, I chose to use the old Google search engine since I assumed most of her new information would be on MyCelf.
A Simple Google Search
A simple search, Paula Luput. The first things I see are suggested images, three pictures of the same girl appear and I assume that's her. I scroll down a little to view the links associated with her name, and I first come across her LinkedIn. A picture of her, the same as one of the google images, and a title saying 'Student at the University of Michigan.' I see she's also from the Detroit Metropolitan Area, but her exact address is not stated. I scroll down and see her past jobs, one at Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital and a current job at The DRC, and her past schools, WCC and EMU. I go back and click the second link, which leads me to the DRC website, which I remember being one of her jobs stated in LinkedIn. A small picture and block of text that I presume Paula wrote is shown, from the way she writes I assume she was not a fan of writing.
The next two links bring me to her Pinterest, which I have been told is the way into any woman's soul. A vast collection of thousands of pictures ranging from outfits to racecars to food recipes. All of her interests shown on one page, and I enjoyed scrolling through most of it for most of my research. The pictures also seemed to represent her dreams for the future, for me at least. What her house would look like, what pets she'll have, and what places she'll travel to. Although this website didn't hold any information about her, it seemed to have many of her personal thoughts and dreams.
Finally, I reach the last few links on the first page of Google. A Facebook page of Paula's is shown but there are no pictures or activity shown, so I assume she hadn't used it much. There is also a Youtube page of Paula's that pops up, but again there are no videos shown although I have a feeling there used to be. It could've been a wave of her embarrassment that hit her that caused her to delete a lot of things on different social media outlets, and lucky for her, none of it has seemed to resurface. The last links are pages that show her writing pieces on a site called 'Medium.' They were interesting reads and clearly written for classes, but it's hard to tell whether she truly cared about what she wrote or if she only did it because it was an assignment.
The next few pages of Google all still seemed to be about the same Paula Luput, but they were just links to what she had pinned on her Pinterest. However, I thought it was interesting that Pinterest seemed to keep track of everything she has pinned over the years. It was eery in a way because what seemed to me as her most personal account, was the one Google recommended most. Overall, this simple Google search told me quite a bit about Paula Luput, but it did not tell me as much as I thought it would.
Doing the google search on Paula was intriguing to see on its own, but I wondered how much more information I would be able to see through her MyCelf. Of course, the usual information is found on her MyCelf: her family, her workplace, her different locations, etc. There definitely is more information about her personal life on MyCelf than there was on my Google search. Before MyCelf she could choose what personal information she wanted public but now people don't really have that option. I think getting to see into anyone's personal life can be intimidating to those who aren't used to it, but for us, it has become the new normal. It is convenient to search people up on MyCelf and has helped me feel safer when meeting new people for the first time. Dating apps feel less sketchy, finding babysitters is easier, there are so many things that MyCelf has helped improve.
After researching Paula Luput on Google, I found out a lot of basic information on her. Her friends and family were found on Facebook, her approximate address and jobs/education on LinkedIn, and her personal interests on Pinterest. In a world where any person's life can be searched up in seconds, the information I found on Paula seems minuscule compared to her MyCelf. But what and who determines how much information is too much? Do we simply keep looking back at the "good ole' day"? Technology was created and meant to improve our everyday lives, but certain details seem to cause people to question the ethics behind technology. Ethics seem to vary from person to person and from decade to decade. I believe there isn't one final answer that can stay or should stay the same throughout time. I've grown up with MyCelf, no pun intended, and have seen the many benefits there are from it. You can trust the people in your life more and feel safe in any new situation. However, people from older generations might consider this upsetting because they consider the way of life that they grew up in to be the most ethical. People will always compare what technology exists today with what technology existed before. But how accurate is that thinking really? Technology will always change in ways to improve our lives, but instead of looking forward people look at the times behind them.
So who's right who's wrong? Perhaps the answer is no one.