I want to discuss today the dangers of technology that we, as citizens of the 21st century, have fallen into. Are you like the person in the image above? Glued to your mobile phone 24/7, constantly on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Whatsapp and all the myriad of apps, updating and changing your status, seeing what your friends are doing, messaging and messaging, because after all, you have unlimited number of messages and data! If so, then welcome to the TA club - Technology Anonymous.
Unlike the previous generation, we do not fall asleep reading a book, we fall asleep holding our phones. When we wake up, the first thing we check are our phones for any ‘important’ messages which we might have missed in our group chat last night due to falling asleep, and then we visit Facebook, Twitter, etc, checking what everyone else was doing in the past 10 hours in which we were not awake. Well, the obvious answer is that they were asleep too, but we just had to check to make sure.
I think the virtual atmosphere created by technology such as the internet and mobile phone, has allowed us to create this ‘virtual identity’ in which we define ourselves. This is especially true in the example of Facebook in which we have control as to what information we want to share. It also means we get to edit, which means we get to delete, and retouch…not too much, not too little, just right. In a way, technology helps us clean up our ‘imperfections’, whatever they may be. So to those who thought they believed in beautiful imperfections, well, who would want to be imperfect when you can now be perfect? This can be done with the best photos, with the best lines of information about who you really are (or aren’t).
Because of technology, we are now sacrificing conversation for virtual connections with other human beings, we avoid direct contact, phone conversations, because technology has allowed us to ‘perfect’ ourselves and edit what we say, before it comes out of our mouths (or as guided by our fingertips). Funny example; I had a friend say to me the other day that someone was calling her and she deliberately didn’t pick up because she didn’t want to face the ‘awkwardness’ of speaking on the phone. Well… why do you have a phone then? Oh that’s right, to text saying you’re sorry you missed the call, to tweet your feelings , to Facebook stalk, and to receive +20 likes on the one status update (WOW!).
Due to lack of communication, and human interaction, technology is actually preventing us from showing love and affection. Overtime, we will just stop caring. We turn to technology because there are myriad of automatic listeners, because the feeling that no one is listening to us makes us want to spend time with these machines, which seems to be caring about us. Overtime, we become attached.
Great and efficient as they may be, technology cannot constitute real emotions. Novelist Max Frisch said “Technology… the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.” It cannot substitute the touch, the smell, the body movements of another human being. It cannot define how we learn about each other, how we come to understand each other. It cannot substitute the love and appreciation we gain from one another.
So, the message is this. Technology is great. It has helped us do many things which were impossible a few decades ago. But do not make technology a priority, or worse, a replacement of your life. Hence wherever you are, tomorrow morning when you wake up, go and have aconversation with your family and loved ones. After all, they are what you have left that is truly real.