The iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Surface tablets, Galaxy phones, Nest home control, tech wearables, Apple watches, texting, emailing, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Face Time…Oy Vey! I am out of breath.
The technology has changed more in 10 years as it has changed in all of our civiliztion. Let’s face it, to most extent we are slaves to our devices. The sheer fact that we accidently leave our smartphone at home could be the most stressful event in one’s life. I haven’t figured out if that, by itself, is a sad commentary or something that changed are lives for the better.
As I have the first one to admit I am a tecnology geek – as I am writing this on my new Ipad Pro with Apple’s Smart Keyboard that my mom generously bought for me on my birthday – I am at least self aware of how technology has changed me. No longer do I have to be at my office or at home to be reached. That is very efficient and leads to more productivity every day. I can text short replies if it does not require a phone call when I am unable to call. For instance, “I’ll be home in 10-12 minutes” (a plug I won’t pass up on the blog title). I can be researching something and need to know a fact and voila, Google to the rescue to find out literally anything from cancer research to the ridiculous such as how to talk yourself out of a drunk driving incident.
Then, if that was not a game changer in itself, we add all those wonderful apps to do fascinating stuff.
I can pre-order a Chipotle burrito (stake, black beans, medium spicy sauce, lettuce, sautéed peppers and onions and a smidgen of sour cream) and have the order ready to circumvent the inevitable long lines at lunch time. I can book a flight on Jet Blue in 3 minutes and get a boarding pass, and if that wasn’t enough, add it to my “virtual wallet” to use instead of a printed paper. Of course, before I leave on a trip, I must have suntan lotion so why bother to go to Walgreens when with “one click shopping on Amazon” I will receive it in 2 days.
And to wrap these examples up in a nice pretty bow, let’s not forget all those social media apps that have become so much part of our lives (and seeing other peoples lives). Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and all the others bring people from disparate social classes and connects us to one another. I would remiss not to say that there are an equal amount of social sites that purposely try. To divide us and put us into nice neat groups. Jews for Jesus, bowlers on Wednesday nights, sexual deviant forums, etc all find a way to bring all people that fits a need to be heard.
So with all these positive changes, aren’t we so much better off than before? I remember when I was a kid my mom used to tell me that I had all the toys and gadgets one could ever wish to have. This included, but not limited to the game “Operation,’ Atari Pong, Space invaders, a microphone set to enhance my piano playing, a deck of cards to play poker, and yes, a moped!
What I can tell you about those formative years is that I appreciated each gift partly because they were special and not for instant gratification. I used them for its useful life and still remember the pleasures I received from them. Even the concept of pictures were something I could not wait to be produced by Fotomat’s Kiosks in shopping center parking lots. We would snap a few rolls of our vacation and we looked forward to getting them produced that very same day that we came home. The joy of picking up the 4′ x 6′ pictures that had an actual tactile experience was a sight for sore eyes. Some were framed, others were sent to good friends.
We had normal relationships with others around us. We spoke with friends either in person or on the phone. We made business deals with a handshake and eye contact. We were left vulnerable for our actions because technology did not provide us with these “outs.”
The human mind has taken generations to adapt to external factors. Human nature is like a fine wine, it grows well with age. It needs time to acclimate and develop instinctive coping skills to let our species survive.
The current technological advances, while on the surface seems like we are so much better off than even 10 years ago, have moved too fast for humans to adjust in a healthy way.
We are being robbed about so many of the pleasures of life. We no longer know how to speak with one another. We are shielded by the bubble of our texts. Having to talk to someone, even on the phone, requires us to engage with someone which requires a small degree of work. So, why not just email 0r text?
We are left in a world that has not at all changed for the better. Personal relationships were never meant to give a Valentine’s kiss using an emoji….sorry, no excuse cowards! Business communications relyng too much through email or texts takes aways meaning, tone, instensity and eye contact. Again, we are all much worse off due to these guises.
We think we have all these friends by getting an addictive notification that we just reicieved a “request to become someone’s friend.” “Well, ahem….are they worthy of my friendship?” Of course you self cetnered fool! The parameters to gain a new freind is to push a button on a smartphone for a reply click? Gee, what effort did you put into these new found friends! But who cares, you can sleep at night knowing you now how 643 freinds (although you’ll be lucky if you have one or two actual good and lifelong friends. Our new markers for our self esteem are made too easy and addicitve to control.
Also, do we really care about getting a notification from a tertiary friend on Facebook that they hate to take out the garbage? Do we really care seeing a picture of a person who you do not know, but not for Facebook, look and reply to someone’s nieces’s 2 year old birthday? Do you feel it is a full time job to acknowledge your “faux “643 online friends special moments in their lives? Do you know what a job it is to wish 643 faux freinds a happy birthday, anniversity, wedding engagement, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and great 4th of July? Can we make a truce to stop this insanity, and instead, take the time to make a meaningful statement and relationship building to your neighbor, family or the needy? Which one do you think would really give you more gratification?
So here is the thing. Technology is moving in supersonic speed. Our personalities and character needs to simmer down like a good stew. Blend them together too fast and all the parts start to coagulate.