Considering Technology: Musings on What Matters, and What Perhaps Doesn’t Matter

I remember many years ago — perhaps when I was in my mid-20's — sitting in the living room of my auntie’s house in Copenhagen, watching her do her monthly bookkeeping.

Even though quite fancy electronic calculators had long since been invented (1985), she still insisted on adding up all her columns of numbers by hand, without assistance.

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I asked her why she stuck with doing it this very slow, cumbersome and old fashioned way, and she responded that she didn't want to lose her brain sharpness on account of becoming too dependent on using a calculator.

Since then, I've often thought back on that moment and considered the many ways technology is — for lack of a better description — taking over our lives.

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Now, I'll be the first to admit that a lot of these modern tools we use have been very beneficial to humanity. However, sometimes I do have to wonder whether our increasing dependency on electronics to carry out even very simple tasks might be causing us to become less competent and well-rounded as overall living human beings.

Point in question: These days we rely almost entirely on Google or another search engine when we need an answer to something. It's certainly fast and convenient. But does anybody even know how to do manual research anymore? What's more, given the way search results on the web are presented in a list, are we even capable of going into the level of detail that we used to be able to when we relied on the library and reference books?

Has the allure of quick execution times pushed accuracy and thoroughness out the door?

Then there are the places where ease of presentation is taking over from accuracy. Consider the way more and more people like to record a video clip to impart information rather than actually writing a blog post or article. But if you need specific information, how do you search a video clip? I'm sure the technology to do so is being developed even as we speak, but how "intelligent" will that search capability actually be?

And we actually being helped here?

I suppose the bottom line really is whether we're being discerning about the technology we choose to use. Do we use helping tools simply because they are there or do we use them because they're actually helping us do what we need to do? Sure, you can use a backhoe to dig a hole in your lawn for the new bush you just bought... but sometimes a shovel (even if it means "Manual Work") is actually the more appropriate tool.

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And in more than a few cases, it seriously seems that actual functionality is being lost to some kind of obsession with cleverness or an addiction to using clever gadgets because they exist not because they help.

But hey, let's not forget that I'm now officially an old fart and so I'm probably becoming more and more of a Luddite, as well!

Thanks for reading, and stay safe till the next time!

How about YOU? Do you always use "helper tools" or do you like to do things "by hand?" Do you think some helper tools are more of a hindrance than a help? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!


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Created at 20200905 00:23 PDT

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This is something I've thought about to, and is nature having a gigantic laugh at our expense?

The reason for our success, was...... lack of specialization.

Now what do we do ?
Specialize in such narrow skill set, making us virtually helpless when the shit hits the fan....

Yup, I can definitely hear a snigger....

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That's ironic.
I "just" read this, and realized that I echoed you in my own blah-g, re: using a phonebook.


In any case, I'm glad to find you again, here. In the words.

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