Monday, May 31, 2010
Buried by Technology
Am I the only person who could care less about the new Apple iPad? Ever since this latest gadget came out, it’s all I hear and read about. The CEO at my company brought his into work for anyone who wanted to play around with it and I had zero interest. I just can’t fathom carrying a computerized tablet the size of a book around with me all day and using it. To be honest, I think people need another advanced piece of technology like they need a hole in their head. We are absolutely buried by technology. It runs our lives – a little too much. I have no problem with computers or mobile phones, but I do have a problem when people are so attached to one they actually sleep with it. It bothers me when people are talking into one during a movie or play or texting when they’re having dinner with a significant other or friends. The worst is when you hear about an accident that was caused by a driver texting while on the road. It’s gotten so bad that Oprah Winfrey has started a campaign on her show to get people to pledge that they will not use any mobile device for any reason while driving a car. It kills people.
I actually consider texting to be the WORST invention of the past few years. It is degrading the quality of communication and dumbing people down, it is dangerous and distracting, and teens are now “sexting” each other and getting into hot water. But I digress…
I realize that it may be hypocritical as a blogger to be so against technology, but other than at work, I try do not use it more than a couple of hours a day. Most weekends I like to check my email and update my Facebook status in the morning, and then be done with the Internet unless I know I need to check my messages. My mobile phone isn’t very text friendly and it’s for emergency use only. Also the Internet, when used properly and by the right people, proves to be our greatest invention of the past 25 years. However, I know when to not overuse it. I’m too busy wanting to get outside to work in the yard, meet up with my friends, ride my bike, practice my guitar, write, cook or knit. I was actually connected to someone on Facebook not long ago who was married but clearly had no life or hobbies as he was constantly posting random music videos and leaving numerous comments for people morning, noon, and night. His numerous updates clogged my status update page. He used Facebook to “friend” strange women all over the world even though he was not connected to his wife. Needless to say, even though he was someone I had met in person way back in the day, I defriended him. He is a good example of how a sick person can get even sicker when the right technology is made available 24/7.
People from the 50s and 60s dreamed of a day when technology would make their lives run smoother – you can find fun videos of the future from this era on YouTube. However, I don’t think they could ever imagine a day when it would make everyone so secular and socially awkward, or that people would become so obsessed with it. Kids don’t pick up the phone and call their friends when they want to get together. They don’t even email any more – they text, and use abbreviations to get their message across. How is this generation going to talk to other people in person when the situation forces it? It reminds me of a short story I read online not long ago by E.M. Forster called The Machine Stops. It takes place in a futuristic society where no one goes outside. They all sit in individual rooms and their entire existence is run by a machine. They never leave their pod. If they get hungry, they press a button and food is delivered to them. If they want to change the lighting, they press another button. All communication with other people is done via the machine. I found the story so scary, especially considering Forester wrote it 100 years ago. Do you think he knew more about world predictions than we do?
What did we do before all this technology? Well, we spent quality time with family and friends, actually had hobbies, and kids would go outside and make new friends and play. My mother says my brothers and sisters would build forts and play hopscotch and used their imagination. Today’s kids don’t seem to know what imagination is – they’re too busy playing video games or with a mobile device.
I’m sorry to ramble all over the place, but the bottom line is that all this technology is getting to be way too much, and not healthy for society. I’m not sure what it will take to wake everyone up - perhaps a plane crash due to a pilot browsing porn on his iPad? I hate to think of a national tragedy, but there’s already been several public transportation disasters due to operators texting or talking on their mobile phones. In a few months, I’m sure, Apple or another technology company will release something new to trump the iPad. I think if you need one of these so badly, you also need to get a life. Where does it stop?
Labels: Social norms