I have always wondered if we are going in the right direction with all of our technologies.
Today, many seem to be contemplating the difference between an analog world and the digital.
Either way, they are both rather indicative of the advanced technologies of their times.
Today’s digital world is rather encompassing and pervasive. When riding the train or bus, the person sitting next to me is often writing an email or an sms using his mobile device. Hysterically, there are times when the message is to me. When driving a car, it often comes with (or I can add) a device to tell me the path from A to B. No longer must I worry about stopping to ask another human for directions. If that weren’t enough, my phone now does this also.
Perhaps this helps to explain why I feel I am handicapped when without my mobile phone (to say nothing about my laptop computer). Adding to this feeling, my colleagues expect me to answer calls, sms, and emails all the time because I own and operate a mobile telephony device, which they feel should always be on and always be at hand.
With my computer, and now with google’s document management, I see thousands of photos flooding my hard disk and at times my company file server. When I pause to think about the data intesivity of the contemporary world, I often wonder if the benefits outweigh the costs; after all, there are obviously benefits to the technology.
But, are we slipping? In our use of the technology, are we letting it control us as opposed to our controlling it? How often does the technology dictate our actions rather than our actions dictate the technology. Perhaps this is the constant struggle of being human. Some ask if we are becoming more robotic and less human? Are we becoming more secluded and less social?
Asking these questions makes me daydream of (and long for) when I didn’t have to worry about my personal data sitting in some place out of my control; when, I could breath fresher air; when, I didn’t need to worry about not having enough fresh water or electricity; when, my creativity was nurtured rather than being dampened by dictated routine.
I think we will soon see a reaction. We will begin to collectively ask our technology begin to help us to be healthier, to relax, to read a good book or poem, hear a good song, and have a good conversation. Perhaps it is already doing these things (we just need to see how). The layerings of our society are becoming more and more interconnected. We should embrace it, and make technology work for our common good.