The dark side of technology

Sometimes I think we’re too dependent on technology. As technology advances, it interweaves itself into society with greater and stronger force. Two hundred years ago people read a book by whale oil lantern or candle. One hundred years ago the telephone was a cumbersome thing and now we have smartphones.

Now technology itself is not bad. But when we allow it to control our lives, then we have a problem. With a smartphone we can e-mail, check the weather, surf the Internet, play games and listen to music. It seems that as we depend more on technology, it also comes to control us. That’s when things get bad. As I see it, there are three possible scenarios if we continue to allow technology to control so much of our lives.

First, the technology would develop sentience and decide to enslave humanity for slave labor, forcing the few free humans to fight the monstrosity that is a never-ending foe until they blow up the central data processor or transmit a super virus.

The second option is the same scenario except instead of enslaving humanity they try and wipe it out.

Thirdly, we would become so dependent on technology we would be incapable of completing the simplest task without it.

Do we really need to access the Internet on our phone? It’s important to remember we are creatures of community and interaction, and while technology allows people to communicate over long distances, there’s still something to be said for talking face to face.

This is especially noticeable when you need to call a bank or company and are forced to fight through a maze of automated messages and number pressing. At some point you have to ask if saving money is worth the loss of customer service.

While all those apps are convenient, being able to do so much with one device forces reliance. If I lose my cell phone, I can get another one and my prepaid minutes will transfer if I can get through customer support. If not, it’s 15 bucks for a new phone and minutes are cheap. Then I tell the two or three people who have my number that it’s changed and some drug dealer has a nice new untraceable prepaid cell.

Last I heard, smartphones cost a couple hundred dollars and if you’re logged into your email or bank accounts online, bad things will happen if it gets stolen. Sure it’s just one item of technology, but along with convenience it fosters dependence.

In order to control technology and not let it control us, a balance must be struck between using it and not overusing it. Use a phone as a phone for crying out loud. Use your laptop to check the weather, or just look up.

And most importantly- find time to not need a phone or computer. Read a book. Go outside. If you’re off the grid for a couple of hours no one will panic, and if they do, you can share your new gridless experience with them.

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