Technology has robbed us blind, and we don’t know it.
Today is Eid ul Adha (the festival of sacrifice for Muslims), it also happens to be Thanksgiving weekend where I reside, in Winnipeg. I didn’t receive one card snail mail , no phone call – not even one, no one came to visit and wish me Eid Mubarak, or ask me what I was doing for Thanksgiving. I did, however, receive 155 text messages, tons of Facebook statuses tagging me, several emails wishing me, and about four dozen tweets. Coupled with that I am reading Jerry Mander’s book ‘In the absence of the sacred’ in which he proclaims technology is fundamentally treacherous. After my delightful week away from all human contact, I tend to agree with him.
Put the genie back in the bottle I say.
Being born in 1972, yes I am that old, I realized that when I was growing up we actually visited people on special occasions to wish them. One of my fondest memories was writing out greeting cards with my Mom and Dad, making the list, checking it twice and before that updating the addresses of everyone who was to get a card. We had to call them to ask, there was no mass email to have everyone send in the correct address. It was very thoughtful and deliberate. Now, my kids cannot fathom how much time I ‘wasted writing’.
‘Mom, you know there is software that will print out the envelopes.’
‘Yeah I asked Siri, and I can download an app that will help you do it.’
‘Mama, just put it on FB everyone will know you are thinking of them, if you then Tweet about it and post it on LinkedIn you are set, just to be sure email everyone as well. I’l do it for you, it will take me 5 min.”
“Oh! I have picture of us, let’s just put that on Instagram and your Pinterest wall they will know we are celebrating.”
“Let Mom be, come help me with this, I am stuck on Level 100 of Candy Crush.”
Yes I am screaming! They do not get the point. And yes I hate Siri as much as the next Mom does, Siri is like that friend your kid is obsessed with. You know , “Siri said this…’, or ‘Siri said that…’, or ‘Siri did this..’, or ‘Siri makes such funny jokes.’ Except Siri is NOT REAL! I can understand my 5 yr old having an imaginary friend, (that itself scares me, having recently re-watched The Exorcist), but my 13 yr old actually bonding with Siri is surreal. Did I mention how much I loathe Siri.
So how has technology robbed us?
1. When technology was first introduced, it was a social event. Only one family on the street had an XBox and so everyone would gather at their house and surround it while they did ‘stuff’ on it. It was a social gathering, people talked to each other. We even had potluck, and everyone would get a turn. Now everyone has one and they play with IT. Just like smart phones have replaced friends.
2. Whenever something new is introduced, there are numerous studies that acquaint us with all the pros and cons and we get to decide if we want it in our lives. With technology, it has always been only beneficial. Never were we told how damaging it could be. We just let it invade out lives, from cars that changed the infrastructure from tress and fields to paved unfriendly roads, to the latest iFruit that replaces parents, friends, siblings, neighbors, relatives etc…
3. No longer do we think beyond the horizon. Guru Google tells us all, we do not need to learn or think. FB keeps us connected, we only need to update and like, Twitter tells us who likes us, no effort required there to nurture a relationship, Instagram tells the world how happy and interesting we are. No need to actually talk to people, to learn and experience – we have officially become unfeeling, uncaring machines.
4. I hate that gifts can now be bought, packaged and sent online – in the same postal code! What happen to actually spending time to wrap the gift, or make something handmade and take the time out to visit and give it in person. I would never miss out on the joy of seeing my niece’s face as she opened a hand painted bowl my kids made for her. That is priceless. What happen to that human warmth? I want that back.
5. The last thing technology has robbed us of is; our ability to discern what is good/bad for us. In the past decade technology has grown exponentially, and our natural moral compass has stopped functioning just as exponentially. We now only accept the latest iWhatever, or XWhat without questioning its effect on our families. We have become robots, ruled by media, conglomerates and technology. Meekly accepting their demands. They ask us to give up our personal data, we do so without a fight. They ask us to reveal the location of where we take our pictures we do so gladly, we have no control. We are the new iSlaves.
We have lost the ability to say NO, I WILL NOT.
I will be writing a book review when I finish Jerry Mander’s book, but till then take stock. Are you ready to give into technology and let it dictate what you THINK! No wait Google it before you decide.