As a child, I was one of the few lucky fellows in my junior school class to own a cell phone, not smart at that moment. I had already embraced technology when most people in my circle were still trying to figure out how to turn on and shut down a computer. That helped me get some bragging rights and be the center of attention when I sat down on a PC in the school lab.
Today as phones get smarter, it’s hard to remember the days when we didn’t have to spend much time on screens. When am in a taxi or at a party, I glance around just to see everyone glued to their individual screens. This isn’t an indictment, as I’m often glued to my own screen, but rather an observation about how much reshuffle society has had in the past decade.
With almost everyone writing about the digital revolution and advances in technology, what has been written about what has been lost with this tech overhaul is a mere trifle. Those daily, mundane things we’ve done are slowly becoming anachronistic and surely we’ll cease to do them at all as they withdraw into memory lane. We are losing some of the things that defined humanity for many centuries, and ghastly, we are not even noticing
If you don’t think about the last time you actually did some writing, forget to make a few scribbles of quick notes, you won’t realize you are losing your writing skills. Back in school, I used to be among the top (like honestly) people with the best handwriting. Now, I can confirm I lost my crown ever since I surrendered the pen and started typing intensively on computers and smart devices. This might not be a world-ender, but it’s an obviously worth noting. I actually grasped a lot when I wrote stuff down back in school. It helped me remember a lot. How this will affect today’s children, who are learning to use iPads remains to be seen.
Face to face conversation.
Let me confess, I’m a talker, a big fan of conversations! Sadly, I’ve lost count of the get-togethers, concerts, and parties I’ve been to where people are constantly on a phone or device, even among close friends whom they know well. Even with my love for conversation, I’m no exception here, although I try to reserve it for meet ups where I don’t know many people. Our desire to talk to each other is facing extinction. People tend to concentrate more on their smart devices, taking pictures to post on social media, instead of enjoying the actual moments.
This is subtle though. In the early 2000s, I knew the phone numbers of my entire family and close friends. Today I know my own, a few family members and a handful of friends. Our brain’s capacity for memorization has dimmed substantially. It’s only because we no longer need memorization that much; information is readily available via Google or other search engines. Numbers are stored in our smartphones where they are available with a few clicks and swipes. We are not using our brains to full capacity.
The human brain actually uses downtime to analogize, assimilate and process information. But unfortunately, we fill this downtime with constant information from websites and e-books so we have no time to process the information that is already jam-packed in our brain. Consequences? Lots of data, but little actual learning. You end up having pieces of knowledge about most topics but not knowing less detail.
I lived a better half of my life without these technologies, so did anyone who is 15 years and above. I was okay with it. I was very okay. I’m not saying technology is bad and that we should head back to the bushes, get spears or head back to the caves. I’m not. Am just mindful about what traits we are losing as we turn to the new way of doing and being.