Tools Of Ignorance
Yesterday afternoon I traded in my old Motorola Droid X for a new Samsung Galaxy Note II. It was a big purchase for me but I spent a month or so researching phones and more than a few moments thinking about what I use mine for and what sort of features I really need.
Since it wasn’t an impulse buy I walked away from the store feeling good about my purchase and have been more than pleased with my new phone.
It is powerful, easy to use and has given me every indication that it is going to exceed my expectations. If every purchase I make in the future yields this sort of return I will be a very happy man.
That is unlikely to happen, but that is ok. Life is filled with moments where you are happy with your decisions and moments where you realize it would have been easier to hit yourself in the head with a baseball bat.
Technology- A Double Edged Sword
My children are growing up in a world that is so very similar to the one I was raised in, yet so very different. Technological advances have shrunk the world and made it possible to do things we could only dream about.
I remember when my friends and I used to talk about how cool it would be to a watch like Dick Tracy that would allow us to talk to each other. We watched James Bond movies, Star Trek and Star Wars and dreamed of the day when we would have some of those cool “toys” to use too.
Well, those days are here.
We can use our cellphones for video conferences from virtually anywhere in the world. We can make the kind of home movies that make the old Super 8 footage look like Civil War relics and then point, click and share those with millions without effort.
Yet there is a cost to all of this and I am not sure if we even know what it is.
Our phones and devices are electronic tethers that keep us constantly connected to a world that doesn’t always need our attention. Beeps, whistles and assorted vibrations let me know every time someone responds to something I have tweeted, written or commented upon.
This isn’t always such a good thing.
Clients, bosses and colleagues have come to expect almost instant responses to their comments and questions. It is not much different in our personal lives either.
When we call, text or email family/friends small delays in a response make us wonder what is wrong. If we don’t hear back from them within a short time we fear something has happened or ask ourselves what we did to upset them.
It has become harder to maintain a healthy balance.
From a related but different perspective I have begun to wonder about the impact of technology on our memories. People don’t spend time memorizing telephone numbers and all sorts of other information because they don’t see a need.
If it is stored in the cloud and accessible by phone/tablet/computer than why do we need to fill our helps with such stuff. It is only when we lose access to our data that we start to become concerned.
I don’t hate computers or cellphones. I am not upset by technological advances or crying wolf because I don’t believe the sky is falling.
If I am preaching anything here it is to be aware of whether we control our devices or allow our devices to control us. I like using my head and try to keep my mind sharp by making a point to remember things.
I like using the tools that technology has given us. Overall they have been a gift and like any other tool their usefulness has been predicated upon the skill of the user.
Still, I can’t help but wonder a bit about where things are going and what this means for my kids.
What do you think?