Meet our writers

 







Technology February 2018

Technology: The Good, the Bad, the Modern Conundrum

By K. F. Donahue

We have all seen the individuals so addicted to today’s technology and apps that they are always looking at their phones rather than paying attention to their surroundings, or always snapping selfies rather than interacting, or always videoing an event rather than participating and enjoying the moment. Where is conversation? Where is interaction? Where is an honest interest in others?

My washing machine is thinking.

I’ve put in a load of laundry with appropriate levels of detergent, made the necessary selections for type of load, closed the lid, pushed the start button and I don’t hear a sound because my machine is thinking – deciding the level of laundry, determining the amount of water needed, making all the choices I would have done myself using a traditional washer.

Perhaps I would not have been so precise as my thinking washer – and I am all for saving water, using less detergent and saving drying time even with my energy-saving machine because my thinking washer has squeezed out as much water as possible in its spin cycle, but I do find the change more than a little futuristic. However if the technology of computer boards and sensors will conserve water, energy, time and even space, I will acquiesce while even enjoying the convenience.

Computers have become increasingly smaller as they have been creeping into everyday life over the decades. Three decades ago I bought my first portable personal computer which was still awkward when compared to today’s handheld devices but was a welcome adjustment next to a choice over the bulky desktop versions of the time. Before long, word processing, internet research, email, document and photo storage became everyday occurrences. Then with what seemed to be the speed of light, cell phones sprang into everyday use, shrank in size and soon could do nearly everything the computer could. And so the exponential advancements of technology have continuously touched everyone’s life with cell phones, televisions, credit cards, banking, automobiles, appliances, home security and more.

Perhaps cell phones have become the most worldwide popular technological advancement of the century. Nearly everyone has a cell phone which we can all see the results of if we ourselves are not pulled into the apps of our own devices. Cell phones allow us instant communication through a conversation, a text message, an email and more, depending upon the software applications and accounts that are installed.

Personally I choose not to be a part of the social media craze of Facebook and Twitter since I believe that a certain amount of privacy is essential to my own well-being. I don’t need or want my entire life, my every move, hanging out there on the net for the world to see. However friends and family members hold different opinions and if it’s a new item then they must have it.

Our parents and grandparents probably said the same things about television when it debuted in the middle of the last century but I do wonder where constant cell phone usage and social media is leading the upcoming generations. We have all seen the individuals so addicted to today’s technology and apps that they are always looking at their phones rather than paying attention to their surroundings, or always snapping selfies rather than interacting, or always videoing an event rather than participating and enjoying the moment. Where is conversation? Where is interaction? Where is an honest interest in others?

A case in point, if you text at all you have probably at some time been caught in someone’s group mailing from which there is no escape as your phone keeps beeping with pointless banal minimal word comments along with strings of emoji symbols at all hours of day and night. When this happens I feel as if I have been transported into an excerpt from a primary age storybook See Spot Run. Not for me. No thank you.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for technology used wisely. In fact, almost 30 years ago while living and teaching elementary school on a small (merely 85 square miles) Caribbean island, I along with the computer/media teacher encouraged a group of 4th and 5th graders to enter a contest simulating a Mars landscape with a programmable Lego robot that could pick up and deposit rock samples in a designated container. Technology can be useful, a wonderful learning tool and the kids garnered an honorable mention!

Technology is a special tool that can make our everyday tasks more convenient, energy efficient, safer, and even more interesting. However the social applications of the world wide cell phone usage do give me pause. Let’s not forget how to say “Good Day” to an actual person and how to converse using multi-syllable words.

Meanwhile…

My washing machine is thinking.