By Natalie Ambrosio
Imagine a world where no one thinks for themselves. Everyone has beady eyes and stubby fingers – the perfect fit for typing on computers and cell phones, but not for much else. Instead of using interpretive thinking and empathy to solve their problems, the people of this deranged future have turned to technological devices to accomplish things easily, quickly, and without having to think at all. Technology is gradually making us lose our ability to think logically, and turning us into computer-dependent creatures. If we aren’t careful, we’ll find ourselves at a moronic crash landing at the end of this road to ruin!
While it is undeniable that modern technology gives us many benefits such as treatments for deathly illnesses and faster and more efficient transportation, many of us don’t pause to think about the negative effects that indiscriminately turning to technology could have on our’s and future generations. We use the speed dial on our phone for a number we call everyday and could easily have memorized, if it weren’t possible to use technology to save a few seconds. As insignificant as it seems, it’s one of the many ways we surrender, our ability to take care of ourselves, to technology’s addictive ease. By not memorizing these simple numbers one’s brain is being used less, therefore sitting dormant instead of exercising its capabilities. Then we find ourselves in a situation on the road: our cell is dead and we need to make an urgent call to our parents. We calmly reach for our speed-dial – but wait—the phone is dead! Pay phones are nearly out of existence, so we’re finally able to borrow a lady’s phone at the gas station. However this does us little good because we don’t have the number memorized because of that addictive technology; now what? Although this is just a small, slight possibility, many parts make a whole, and there are plenty more aspects of everyday life that are subtly changing to let technology creep in and control us.
A lively conversation amongst peers provides interactions and stimulus essential to a well-rounded personality. Speaking with others is a skill that’s currently necessary to be successful in this society, and one gets practice every day. However the interactions that once seemed to be embedded in our society are gradually slipping away to be replaced with the automated communication of technology. Not only has the need to form coherent sentences during a telephone call been replaced with texting, but now a phone will have a conversation with someone. The other day at lunch the conversation was full of intriguing thoughts and debates as usual, and then off to the corner, there was a boy having a conversation with one of the new iPhone 4S. The Apple Store doesn’t deny its app’s ability to replace human contact: “Siri does what you say, finds the information you need, then answers you. It’s like you’re having a conversation with your iPhone.” However, the very fact that technology is capable of so much, and that a teenager would choose to spend his time interacting with this small box, instead of fellow humans, is a scary glimpse into this world’s future. As “smart” as phones may be, they will never share a sentimental moment, cannot offer a supportive hug during a time of trouble, or need someone to pat their backs to offer encouragement. When one interacts with a phone, all the feeling and humanity has been sucked out of the interactions. The emotional, intellectual world of today will be replaced with a beeping, buzzing, artificial world in the not so distant future.
We strived to perfect our spelling in our early education, only to discover that portable spell checkers, autocorrect, and even phones speaking up to tell us when we make an error, have nearly eliminated the need for us to know anything about this. With any question, from movie times, to Washington’s hometown, we dash to the computer or our phone to “Google it” instead of use our knowledge of alphabetical order to check the phonebook, or use our intelligence to sort through encyclopedia information. Everyday, we opt out of numerous chances to exercise our mind, letting technology do it for us, and consequently giving our brains more opportunity to lay dormant and rot. Some deny the fact that unwary, total embrace of technology makes us stupid, while others accept this and exclaim that being stupid is just fine as long as it’s easy. If we continue on this path, our future will be a crisis: we will be a society of mindless, feelingless “humans” who have forgotten how to feel and relate to others and if the power supply dies we’ll be at loss since we’ve forgotten how to do anything with our own brains. When we are put to the test like this, hopefully we will find that in the nearer future we turned off this road; we reveled in the bits of technology that could really help us, but we haven’t given up our brain and emotion in exchange for the artificially bright screen, and robotic voice