Something was brought up today in class by a friend of mine and I thought I would throw out a comment or two on it. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for quite sometime and my friend’s mentioning of it sort of brings me back into the moment.
That idea is the danger of the technological wave, and how, quite plainly, it’s getting too big.
With my roommates several weeks ago a comment was made in passing regarding the notion of home-delivered groceries. One of my roommates stated that he saw it as one of the bigger markets of the future. I remarked that it seemed pretty scary to me. Think about it, the less we have to do for ourselves (conversely, the more we have things done for us) the lazier we will become. That’s certainly not a fact, but from my experience of human behavior, it’s just what I would see happening. The other roommate in the room agreed with the first, saying (and I paraphrase here), “Well, think about it. If I didn’t have to take the time out of my day to go to the store and pick out all the stuff I wanted, that’s that much more time I would have to myself. Just think about all you could get done in that amount of time.”
I understand his point. However, given (what I observe that) human beings find comfort in relaxation and ease, would one really use that free time for a productive purpose? My thoughts are that the first thing that person would think is something to the effect of, “Ah, while my shopping’s being taken care of, I can get some game time in.” Not that everyone would use this period of free time for gaming, but perhaps doing another leisurely activity. I’m not saying we all have to be working at all times either. I’m simply making the claim that with comfort comes a desire for more comfort.
The class I was in today was talking about language change, specifically grammar. The instructor asked us to think of some recent changes in different languages. These languages were categorized across the top of the white board with room below to list out some of the changes we have noticed. We all got out our board markers and started writing. When we all stepped back and looked at what was on the board, each category was stuffed with similar lists of linguistic change, most of which were technologically related, i.e. e-mail, Google, download, LOL, emoticons, and a range of different high-level technological language.
Our languages are changing and we are relying, in my humble opinion, too heavily on machines.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m in the Internet all day long, and it’s not just because I need it for school. I love it. But at the same time, it can very easily become a tool for mental masturbation. This is just something to look at in our human society. Yes, perhaps doing things the “old fashioned” way (like write letters) is just too damned slow. But it may be key to ask yourself what you’re losing by writing only e-mails.
How often do you now say ‘like’ in conversations? How often do you lose interest in books? How many hours do you sit in front of the television every day? How much do you rely on Wikipedia instead of relying on your memory and making yourself think?
I am suggesting that you don’t let your most glorious tool degrade. Keep it sharp. Read, learn, write, memorize things you love ( facts, poems, quotations…). It might also be a good idea to watch the movie Idiocracy to see the comical side of a scary future.