Fifteen years ago, my mailman would bring me letters that bulged, not junk mail filled with pamphlets or bills for services provided, but actual letters from my friends and family that were chock full of news and gossip and that ran to several pages. Today, I have more friends than ever before (234 to be exact if I were to go by Facebook’s count), but I never receive a single letter.
Rather, I am poked, scrapped and pinged, and if you’re shocked at this, it means you haven’t yet let technology take over your life.
They’re everywhere you go; it’s like an invasion that continues to increase in intensity with each passing day; and it threatens to deluge us unless we know how to master them. We live and breathe technology today; we don’t go anywhere without our mobile phones, iPods, notebook computers, netbooks, and various other gizmos and gadgets. By the time we figure out how to use one, we are bombarded with ten more that are more sophisticated and snazzy. And obsolete is a word that takes months now instead of years as it did a few years ago.
While it is true that technology has brought us a host of benefits, we must also acknowledge the fact that it has made us more machine-like and less human. Instead of person to person communication, we talk through our computers and gadgets. We send email and instant messages to talk to people who are barely five feet away from us; we use social networks to stay in touch with friends who live next door; and we send virtual hugs and kisses to random strangers who are our “friends” because we’re too hooked to our computers and our online lives.
Besides this, we have lost the capacity to think for ourselves and remember information. With contact lists and automatic reminders, we don’t remember phone numbers and birthdays like we used to. And with less work for our brains, our neurons become dull and their connection becomes weak. We become dull patsies who are mere shadows of our former selves, and we have technology alone to blame for this.
In the quest for faster, smaller and sleeker, we have lost our innate humanness and become more bits and bytes than flesh and blood. We have reached a stage where we are addicted to technology and cannot go back to a world without it, even though we did get along really well a few decades ago with less of it than exists now. Yes, it’s true that the Internet has revolutionized communication in ways we would never have dreamed of twenty years ago, but ironically, it has made us drift further apart even while bringing us closer to each other.
In a world where you are online 24×7, we begin to hide from “friends” by going invisible, we ignore calls on our mobiles when we see certain numbers, and we filter content for certain friends even as we pretend to be one big happy social family on Facebook. Technology has done wonders for us, but sad to say, it has also made us two-faced and less capable that we were before.
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