I have and likely always will stand by the idea that technology is a wonderful additive to the daily lives of the people and that the advancement and usage of technology is important for the future. However, technology is a double-edged sword. There are right ways to use it, and there are wrong ways to use it. The problem with this is that people don’t know how to handle this double-edged sword. The majority of people can easily go too far off the deep end when it comes to technology. In today’s society, though, I can’t blame them. Not only has technology become almost indistinguishable from everyday life, but with that, technology has become a lot more scary.
In Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk, “Connected, but alone?”, she talks about the key factor on why I think technology has become ‘scary’ – it has taught us to “…expect more from technology and less from each other.” This factor is the exact reason why people are both drawn in too far and steering clear from technology. To be clear, when I am talking about people are have ‘drawn in too far’ with technology, I am mostly referring to my current age group and younger (so about 20 years and younger, give or take), though it is not only restricted to this particular age group. In Sherry’s Ted Talk, she talks about how she spoke with a younger boy who preferred texting over having a face-to-face conversation. The boy said he disliked normal conversation because you can not form your thoughts before speaking – a conversation is happening in real time. It has become so extreme that a lot today’s youth don’t know HOW to hold a conversation.
Now, I am not going to pretend that I am a conversation master, for I am not. However, basic conversational skills are imperative for day-to-day life, especially once you are an adult. For example, during both job interviews and even just during a normal day at most jobs, you will need to be able to communicate with others effectively. It is a worrying thought that some people depend so much on technology that the idea of basic conversation is terrifying to them.
One thing I have noticed over the past week is how upset people get when you try to have a discussion on the negative impacts of technology. More than one person I’ve talked with in person about technology got fairly defensive when I was talking about the downsides of it. But again, I can’t blame them. Technology is so ingrained in our lives at this point that it’s almost like talking about the downsides of a family member – you’re attacking something important to them.
Despite the fact that I think technology can be dangerous, I think technology is also a wondrous thing. We have access to practically all the information in the world, ways to communicate with people from across the globe, and sharing and collaborating with others has never been easier. The problem is finding a balance – how much technological use is too much? Where do you draw the line? Unfortunately, it’s extremely hard to say. I think it varies from person to person. The most important part about it is finding your own balance, where you can experience the wonderful parts of existing and future technologies, but still focus on the important aspects of your ‘real life’ – conversation, relationships, and more.
Embrace technology, but do not let it control you.