April 5, 2024

Technology and Other Human Things

We can cook a turkey in 15 minutes; send a text around the world with the press of a thumb; watch or listen to anything we want on our smartphones. We are so fortunate. And now we can have a computer create everything. Look at us doing stuff and things with gadgets and doohickeys. We are the coolest.

Media are consumed mostly when we're alone. We don't gather around and answer an email and we don't hover over Josh's phone when he's texting Susan. We may binge watch that show on that streaming platform with our partner. Once a year we may gather at a buddy's house to eat too much and watch the Super Bowl. The rest of the time we are on our devices researching, reading, texting, replying, and searching by ourselves.

Technology, they said, would improve our lives. 

We can buy a car on the internet, learn about penguins on our mobile device, find the best sushi restaurant in Des Moines, and read about an awesome vacation someone else took while sitting on our couch.  

Most of the time we are connecting with each other through all this supposed cool technology while we are by ourselves. I wrote this alone and you're probably reading it while you're alone. I have a friend who hasn't answered his phone in years. He'll respond to my texts almost immediately, but I don't dare suggest an actual conversation. 

Technology, they said, would give us choices.

I remember a restaurant experience when the table next to us had six people all staring at their phones. Their meals arrived and phones weren't put away; they were placed beside plates and glanced at often. Their bill arrived and it looked like the dance of the smartphones as each of them transferred their amount to the one guy who tapped the server's machine to pay it in full. 

Technology, as it turns out, has created more depression and less human interaction. We are checking our phones yet miss what that guy said about the thing. I got a text; it must be important. I'd better check my email; I may have missed something. What's on my smart device is clearly way more important than any of this human stuff. 

I'm sure AI will solve it all.


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