July 19, 2012

Is Technology Really Making Life Easier?

We are living in a socio-technological era. You can't imagine living without TV, laptops, PC, cell-phones, Internet connections, e-mails etc. What’s the true essence of all these technologies available? Do we really need them all? Do they really make our lives easier and more productive? As I always try to view technologies from their usability standpoint, the socio-economical effects of these technologies is more important to consider.
In the 1960’s and 70's when there were no computers, PDA’s or cell phones. There were no microwaves, no DVD’s, no MP3 players and there were only about 7 good stations on television. Our parents and grandparents didn’t stay home and play video games all day because there were no video games to speak of back then. Instead they played outside, talked to their friends on the phone and listened to music.
Today we are told that technology is here to make our lives easier. The microwave helps us cook food faster. The internet helps us get information faster and allows us to stay connected with friends, family and business associates. We have more television stations to give us more choices, we have cell phones so that we can stay in touch with each other and we have laptop computers so that we can access the internet anywhere in the world.
Ok … let’s look at that last paragraph again.
From where I’m sitting, it looks like all our sophisticated modern technology has done the opposite … it has made our lives crazier! It has given us less time instead of more.
If you are in your twenties and thirties, think about your parent’s childhood and what life was like back then. If you are in your forties or older then think about your own childhood. What happened to everybody when office hours came to an end? What happened when people left work and went home?
What did they do?
They rested.
They had time to think and reflect and do something very few of us do in today’s world … they relaxed!!!
They turned off their minds for a while and allowed them to reboot.
Modern technology has taken this away from us. Instead of resting when we get home from work, we work on our laptops and constantly check our PDA’s. We take our cell phones and answer them wherever we are … in restaurants, airplanes, movie theaters, soccer fields, in our car … everywhere!
When exactly do we rest and allow our minds to turn off for a little while?
Modern technology has made things easier but has also made things harder. It has unleashed a monster called stress that is making our world sick and tired. It distracts us. It owns us!
Have you seen the Terminator movies? The one where machines rule the earth? Guess what? Machines rule our earth. Not in as nasty a way as the movie, but they rule the earth nevertheless, technology rules.
Stress is a nasty thing that causes some even nastier diseases, and there are no antibiotics you can take for it. Stress kills and there is only one cure for it.
You need to rest.
Technology speeds up our ability to do things. We can research faster, cook faster, and be in contact with other people faster. However, it also causes us to feel the need that we have to be in contact all the time! We feel we have to check our email at 10:00 p.m. at night, we have to answer that telephone during dinner, and we have to check our PDA every hour no matter where we are.
When do you rest and turn your mind off?
I understand that everyone wants to move forward. I totally get that. I want to move forward as well. However, in order to move forward, you have to occasionally take a few steps back so that you can get a better look at where you want to go.
So what can we do?
We can turn off the computer after dinner and not turn it back on until the morning. We can turn our cell phone off once in a while and let the voice mail answer it. We can take a walk. We can go on vacation without the laptop. We can even go on vacation and only check our voice mail once or twice! The world won’t stop! People might think you’ve been abducted but so what? You’ll get back in touch with them.
If you don’t rest and let your body and brain reboot itself, then your body will break down. In the end, technology will deprive you of the true quality of life because it will be sick and you won’t be able to do what you want to do.
Everyone tells you that you need to eat right and get plenty of exercise. Absolutely true! However, there is a third even more important key to life … you need to rest!!!
So turn your mind off for a while. Listen to some music. Read a book. Talk to your kids. Go shopping. Go to a comedy show and laugh.
Slow down and take a breath. Listen to your body when you’re tired. It knows what it’s doing.
Enough said.
Now let’s see … I'm writing an article about the evils of technology on my computer, my phone is ringing next to me and an email just arrived.
Hmmm ... guess it might be time to take a break!

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