Thoughtful usage of technology
- I struggle to concentrate when I read.
- I struggle to listen when someone is talking to me.
- Doing something that doesn’t involve technology is something that I don’t feel like doing.
- Receiving notifications and updating everyone about what I’m doing has become part of me.
- The streams of information are flooding my attention, and it tires me daily.
Like many other things in life, doing too much of something is not healthy. A cup of coffee a day is not bad, drinking five can be very dangerous for your health. Playing video games once a week is not bad, but doing it as a daily routine can have a very negative impact on you. Although technology is useful, and it’s enabling many things that were impossible a few years ago, I think the fact that I’m fully immersed in it every day is having a not so good impact on me. This is something that I realized, but I’ve never taken any action. I feel that technology is like candies, you consume it, you enjoy the moment, your brain does it, and you don’t realize how bad a lot of it can be until you see the long-term impact it’s having. Candies make you fatter, and it doesn’t happen overnight. You enjoy every single candy that you put in your mouth. They come with beautiful colors because that tricks your brain; they are sweet, and your mouth likes that pleasure. Do that every day, and sooner or later your body will manifest. Our brain is the result of millions of years of evolution. Technology has rapidly evolved in less than 50 years. Do you think our brains have been able to keep up with that fast-speed evolution that surrounds us? I don’t think so.
I work in technology. I’m a software engineer, so working with technology is part of my job. I spend my days using apps, exploring the internet, reading news, checking my email, downloading the last updates, buying the latest technology. It feels so exhausting when I write it down… On one side I like it because technology helps to solve real-world problems (not only the ones that people working and living in the Bay Area have), but on the other side, I think there’s beauty on living a technology-free life and doing things without technology.
When I look at all the innovation that is coming, the new technologies companies are investing money in it scares me. It scares me the fact that technology is evolving with a lot of side effects on humans along the way. We are becoming addicted to it; we don’t know how to live without it. We’ve come to think that all around us is about technology. Technology is always there to surprise us, to gives a new thing, new feelings that we haven’t experienced before, new gadgets to try out, problems that didn’t exist before. We’ve unconsciously become non-conformist people. We are always expecting technology to feed our need of having more, of experiencing more, of being more connected. Technology has learned how to prove us that we need it, and that scares me even more. In the recent weeks, I’ve been detoxing from it, and I realized how much stuff that I thought I needed is useless. Call me a hipster or retro person, but I’m trying to live like I used to live before technology invaded us. I don’t feel excited when Amazon says they plan to remove the cashiers from the supermarket because the future is that technology should control everything. I like going to the supermarket and talking to the cashier about the news, or even some gossips. I love smiling at each other and keeping that smile for the rest of the day. I don’t feel thrilled either when Elon Musk says that he’s planning trips to Mars and sending cars to space. We have a beautiful planet, with a lot of problems with it, and that we are destroying slowly. Why don’t we invest money in using technology to solve real world’s problems?
When we are told that VR is the future and that social networks make people more connected I always wonder how likely these statements can turn to be true. How can you dare to say that you are making people more connected if you are introducing something that has never been tried before and that radically changes the way people interact? VR will be the future in a couple of years and then what? Will there be any other thing that will be new future? What if we freeze the time for a while and reflect on where technology drove us to; what we learned, what we failed at doing, the direction technology should take. The world is moving to fast to stop it, the machine is running, and it’s impossible to stop it. Would you imagine Facebook ending everything that they are doing to reflect the impact Facebook is having on people’s lives?
I’m optimistic. I also look a technology from another angle. I see projects coming up shining human values, so there’s some hope. I’m using technology, but not in the same way I used it before. Our relationship is simpler, I use technology only when I think it offers me any value, and don’t feel addicted to it.