This is Part II of the series. If you missed the first part, start here: Part I
I am a gadget geek. I love technology. I love gaming. I have a $3000 Hewlett-Packard (in partnership with Voodoo PC) Blackbird 002 for crying out loud. I watch high-definition movies and TV shows encoded in 720p x264 format that I downloaded from Usenet. I type out these entries in WordPress 2.8.3 over a 3.0 megabit per second asynchronous digital subscriber line from Verizon Online High Speed Internet. I own a Sony Playstation 3 hooked up to my wide-gamut Dell 2408WFP Ultrasharp 24-inch S-PVA LCD Panel monitor via HDMI. It’s calibrated by my Datacolor Spyder3Pro, which is the industry’s only 7 detector color engine with the largest light aperture. I listen to digitally encoded music using Apple iTunes through my Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Speakers, and my movies sound beautiful over the S/PDIF optical audio connection. My phone is an Apple iPhone 3GS with a multitouch display, an accelerometer, a GPS chip, and a processor faster than my Dell XPS T500 desktop computer from 1999. I tune the world out using my Etymotic Research ER-4P MicroPro earphones with an 86% response accuracy and 35-42 dB noise isolation. When I am out and about, I bring my Apple MacBook Air, with its aluminum unibody, solid state hard disk drive and 802.11 Draft-N enabled Wi-Fi connection.What would I do without all my computers, gadgets, and technology? What if my home was burglarized, or a fire melted my digital life into a molten pile of metal and plastic? Would I feel bad? Would I get nervous or depressed? No. What would I do instead? Simply put, I would shed my digital ways with ease, changing my feathers as easily as a duck molts. I would read. The Gift of Fear and The Only Living Witness are only two books among my stack of unfinished books. I would start Unlubricated. I would write short stories and journal entries in my Moleskine notebooks, and I would keep working on mynovelin those notebooks. I would go to the movie theater to watch movies, take long walks in parks and jot down lines of poetry that wander into my head as I contemplate the world and philosophize about love, life, and its possibilities. Summarily, I could enjoy a wealth of activities that do not require a source of electricity. Therefore, to my standards, technology is not a necessity but a luxury.So as much as I love technology, I do not rely on it. But what I am seeing is a heavy reliance on the digital lifestyle. People are always surprised at how much they can still get done without their cellphones and laptops when the time comes. I find it disturbing that people have become so attached to their digital lives. It’s come to a point where people don’t even know how to interact with others in a real life social setting (as seen in the article about MySpace). I find it sad that a sizable amount of people feel more comfortable with the friends that exist behind a screen more than with the ones they have sitting next to them in class. Even more ridiculous is how technology has created a situation where a father needs to send text messages to his own sons to wake them up. Unless they live in a large poorly designed hundred acre estate, I find that rather unreasonable. Besides, what happened to banging on the door and yelling?
Technology is a wonderfully useful tool. It facilitates a level of human interaction that is far greater than what could be achieved using only stamps and envelops and calls to a home phone. But ultimately, the pervasiveness and ubiquity of hyper-connectivity in conjunction with a dependence on such methods of interaction degrade a very important part of our lives: the human quality. We should be using technology to improve the quality of our lives, to enrich our relationships. Instead, we are letting technology get in the way of our humanness. The bonds we share as families and friends are being eroded, with human connections being replaced with digital ones.
That’s all for this series. If you have any topics you’d like to hear about, please contact the author!