So I’ve been thinking a lot about technology lately. It's rather hard not to what with the fact that even my parents have iPhones. I generally approach technology with a significant level of trepidation, and I’ve collected some of my thoughts.
1. I don’t like the idea of technology completely replacing humans, primarily because I, myself am a human and would prefer not to be replaced. I read an interesting novel called “Player Piano” recently. It was Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel and it was published quite a long time ago. It’s rather dated, but the ideas are rather interesting. It proposes not so much the idea that technology takes over and tries to eat us (combining Terminator and the Flaming Lips), but rather the idea that humans lose any reason to live when their entire purpose and usefulness is replaced by machines. I like efficiencies being gained, but it seems that some fields really need a human being in place. More and more often the human is being replaced in today’s businesses. I guess humans really need to stop doing their jobs so pathetically most of the time.... That would certainly help.
2. I don’t like assembly lines / mass production. I enjoy the lower prices that result and likewise enjoy the convenience of getting what I want with ease. I know I can’t have it both ways, but it would be really nice to see some pride in craftsmanship somewhere... some time... I don’t think I’d get along with Mr. Ford.
3. Technology will eat us all. I watched War Games a few nights ago and it’s still a great movie. I don’t really foresee machines deciding to launch a nuclear war and I also don’t see artificial intelligence completely taking over and trying to eradicate humanity. I more see the all consuming desire for newer and greater technology resulting in a loss of perspective on what’s going on outside our windows. I think we (collectively) are losing touch with other humans a little at a time. Technology is great for helping to stay in touch with relations that live far away. Unfortunately, it’s also replacing the need to actually interact with the humans that live next door. It started with making a phone call instead of seeing the person face to face and it’s progressed to sending a text because a phone call just takes too long. The world has become a global community through technology and it has simultaneously become a collection of isolationists who don’t interact with their local community.
4. I don’t blame the problems of the world on TV. I really don’t. I don’t blame the internet either. I blame the humans involved in the process of creating television shows and putting things on the internet for all the world to see. I do believe there has been a gradual slippery slope that has helped create a world I am afraid to send my children out in. At six years old I rode my bike up and down the street and my mom wouldn’t see me till I got hungry enough to come home to eat. My six year-old doesn’t go past the mailbox unless I’m watching her. Why? It’s the world we live in, right? But why has the world changed so much in the last 20 years? What has changed so much? Technology has certainly come a long way in that time, but that can’t be the sole cause of problems. However, the gradual moral decline of our world is glorified and magnified every day through television, magazines, and the internet. There are consequences to this constant bombardment of trash. People become desensitized to things over time. Mass numbers becoming desensitized leads to a further pushing of the limits, which in turn leads to a more complete desensitization. Over time, we are changing humans and not for the better. We are helping to create a world we are afraid of. We are bombarded with such trash all the time that we stop even noticing it. Once it’s not a big deal, what’s to stop it from just happening all the time? I know the world wasn’t perfect before TV told us all it wasn’t perfect, but I think we have spread the disease further and more completely than ever before.
5. Yes. I get the irony. I’m posting this in a blog on the internet, using a computer to do so. I’m not opposed to technology anytime it is convenient and easy for me. I like indoor plumbing and electricity. I like emailing and playing video games (although I still play video games on the original Nintendo system from the early 80’s). I like cell phones when I want to reach someone and hate them when I’m trying to talk to you and you won’t quit looking at your facebook page while we talk.
So in conclusion...
Technology that I don’t like to use personally is bad and should be thrown into the Marianas Trench. Technology that I like to use personally is okay, but you should proceed with caution.
Turn off your TV and go say hello to your next door neighbor.
Or at least send them a text to say hello.
One step at a time my friends.
One step at a time.