Technology Is Killing Us

Or rather it’s making us weaker. I’ve never been a ‘tech’ guy, so a lot of it goes over my head, but as I watch the endless stream of commercials on TV about all the exciting new innovations the various geek tanks of America are offering us, I see an unnerving trend. We, as a people, are growing increasingly lazy. All the new features of the new phones, computers and tablets are all about ‘simplifying’ and ‘streamlining’ things.

First, let’s  consider the new ways you can watch television and movies on any device at anytime, thereby making it impossible to ever NOT be watching something. Is there any show or movie so good that it warrants that kind of attention? Is there something that we all need to be watching all the time, where ever we go? I think most clearly of The Hopper commercials. in one house, each member of the family is watching something on any one of various devices. All of them in the same house, all their eyes glued to a different screen. I wonder when I see that if there are any people like that. Are there people out there who cannot abide being separated from their television for even a minute? It feels like the beginning of a culture where we all lay around all the time with a screen shoved in our faces. That’s progress?

So while the TV providers are working on dumbing us down, the tech guys have found ways to facilitate that and make us lazier. I’ve seen an ad for a phone that promotes a feature where all the things you’re interested in are plastered on the home screen of your phone. Apparently we are now too lazy to swipe our fingers across a screen or type words into the search engine. Now we need the computers to think for us and to predict our likes and arrange them for us.

I miss the days before smart phones and all this nonsense. What happened to thinking? What happened to putting in a little effort? Why do we constantly seek to make our easy lives even easier? We don’t have to hunt our food. We have indoor plumbing, pools and a machine that makes margaritas, for god’s sake. When will it be enough? We need our movies instantly. We need our TV shows at our fingertips. Doesn’t it ever occur to anyone the more we ‘simplify’ and strip down our lives, the more people get put out of work? Perfect example is the digital book revolution. They make some e-readers and books can now be purchased online and paperless. Great? For some, yes, but let’s think about the book sellers. Borders has already fallen and it won’t be long until Barnes & Noble follows. Those jobs will be gone and there won’t be any new ones to replace them. We can follow this on to the people who actually make the physical books. They’re out of work now too because no books selling, no books to make. More jobs lost forever.

Technology can be good and truly enhance our lives in the correct  measure and I think we reached that point at about 2005 0r so. Since then, we have been overreaching and the large tower of tech is starting to tip over toward us and it’s only a matter of time until it topples over and falls down upon our heads. Maybe this makes me sound like a techonophobe or some old man who can’t keep pace with the rest of the world, but as I look around and see toddlers with their eyes fixed on their tablets and teens engrossed on their smartphones, I think maybe we’ve reached a place where technology no longer has a purpose other than impressing us with what it can do.

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