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?

14 comments:

Pam@GoRetro said...

Hilarious. No sooner did I post this, Google displayed an ad for some new device called the Kin...now that's irony for you. Gotta love it.

Barbara said...

I agree with everything you said.

Unfortunately, to the young, we sound like geezers. The way they are communicating now will be the detriment to society some day.

Mimi said...

Well said, Pam! The thing that frustrates me about technology is that it is supposed to make life easier, but it only seems to suck up more of our time with useless stuff. PS: I almost quit facebook today, but changed my mind! Ugh!!!

Keith said...

I've actually always preferred the future as envisioned by those of the 50's, etc. than what we ended up with.

DrJulieAnn said...

Ironically, my friends think of me as an "early adopter" because had to know about educational technology and used that info to help me create a blog and podcast before it was part of everyday life for most people.

But the truth of the matter is that I prefer to be unattached as much as possible from technology. I'm not a true-blue neo-Luddite but I'm pretty close.

*pushing the "LIKE" button for this post*

LaraAnn said...

I totally agree with you about this. I get very annoyed when I see people on their cell phones when driving and in other inappropriate situations. A couple of girls were texting when I was at the movies which is ridiculous. The light of the screen was distracting.I could go on and on about this but I'm feeling my blood pressure rising so I better not.

Shannon of ** Happiness Is...** said...

LOL - I'm kinda right there with ya. Don't understand the hype. Hope you had a lovely 3-day weekend! :) xo

Amanda By Night said...

OK, first of all, that EM Forster short story is amazing in how utterly real it feels. I read it in college (the first time I went in the 90s)and thought it was prophetic then, imagine how I feel now!

I always see people on their cells in the grocery store and I think, "What happened 15 years ago when you had to pick out bread by yourself? You just did it, didn't you?" We're so afraid to do anything on our own anymore...

The most annoying thing I find about technology is that I see students texting in class. I have just recently gone back to college and modern technology has proven to be a wonderful tool (hey, I can get cheap textbooks at Half.com or look up sujects for papers to see if there is enough info on them), but I don't see anyone taking advantage of it. They just text each other in class. Lame.

Oh, as an aside, I'm a Facebook junkie and I think it's a fun site. I have reconnected with many old friends. Anyway, I saw one of my friend's posts and she said, "Just got some texbooks for class on Kindle. Now I need a Kindle!" Um, OK.

Pam@GoRetro said...

OK, such great comments from everyone...so glad to know my rambling thoughts over the weekend struck a chord.

I do like Facebook. My international pen pal from my high school days actually found me via Facebook and I was able to meet her in person after all these years. I also found a lost family member, and it's nice to communicate with my friends during the week, when we're not hanging out in person.

I just believe that too much of anything is sometimes not so good for us. I think it's sad when people go on vacations with their families, for example, and are checking their Blackberries or iPhones the entire time because they feel obligated to their employer. Geez, how about being OK if your employees don't have any contact with you? After all, they're on vacation! It seems because of mobile technology everyone feels they have to be constantly connected 24/7. The irony is that it actually makes most people feel disconnected in the long run. Nothing can replace face-to-face human interaction.

Pam@GoRetro said...

Amanda By Night, I actually watched part of the UK TV adaptation of The Machine Stops on YouTube and it is creepy and prophetic.

Gilligan said...

Some days I feel like pulling the plug on my TV and computer, throwing my cell in the lake, and joining a Luddite community and live off the land.

Other days I love my new Android, can't get enough of my 51 inch LCD TV and can't live without my 5 at a time Netflix subscription.

I'm conflicted. I need help. ;-)

Darrin.. said...

Wow... I was JUST taking about this with my bride. We were discussing how we have an outrageous bill of 140.00 a month for five cell phones on our family plan. Then.. I told her how some of my friends with i-phones have 120.00+ bills for ONE phone!

"APPS" may be cool, but really.. just how plugged in and connected do I need to be? I'm even thinking of ways to scale down my reliability on technology, but alas.. the world is going to move ahead without me.

Great post! And oh yeah... you are the winner of my very first giveaway! Come on by and see what you won!
Cheers Dollface!!

Marlene said...

LOVE your blog! I'm a follower.

LaVonne said...

Preparing shopping lists?
Making orders from supermarkets?
Coping with household finance?
You’re going to convince me that 4 measly computers are going to be able to handle all that? Ha!

Just found this blog, by the way! Love it!

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