When modern technology threatens our health and our independence.
One of my youngest child’s favorite commercials is for the Tassimo coffee brewer. The coffee machine looks like a cute transformer robot, ready to serve. It is, in essence, sort of what it portrays: a robot that can brew your coffee for you with the touch of a button.
Now set the scene on one small office complex with one small kitchen and several employees. These consist of sales people and writers, with one quiet tech person that is kept away in the back for his own protection. One thing that all of these people have in common is that at any given time, their blood is at least 10 percent coffee. This office does not have one of these coffee robots. It does have an old-fashioned drip coffee maker. It doesn’t have any buttons, for one thing. No pods, no computer calculated brew time. The coffee actually has to be hand ground and measured and the “machine” even has to be assembled.
Guess how many times someone in the office makes coffee. Zero. We are used to our robots and deem it much easier to go out in 15 degree temperatures and drive to the closest corner barista.
Now, it may be debatable whether sales people and writers can survive without coffee, but this small slice of life shows how little tolerance we may have to doing things for ourselves, even when, for example, we are highly motivated to get a caffeine fix.
Modern life is so busy, that it is often “survival” to let technology take over with the little things that might otherwise occupy our hands and our brains. From no longer having to memorize phone numbers to having our cars parallel park for us, the world is evolving into one where we self-proclaim that we couldn’t live without our gadgets.
So what is wrong with dependence on technology?
There are two dangers here. The first is the issue of health. While new technological advances are certainly saving lives, they may also be shortening them as well. For example, the creation of genetically modified organisms are said to contribute to cancers and other illnesses.
The second danger is the most obvious. The more we rely on technology, the less we rely on ourselves. While I can’t remember coming across a single documented case of death by caffeine deprivation, it is legitimate to consider that when someone says they couldn’t live without their phone or their computer, they may be right. Most people have no clue how to start a fire, filter to get clean water or get out of Dodge without the availability of a computer, a phone or a GPS system to look it all up. Very few young adults I know have ever made anything from scratch, be it a birdhouse or Brie. How will they deal with a real food emergency?
It is a quiet infiltration. Sometimes, we get so used to technology that we forget how to function without it. This is such an important topic that I need to reiterate the need for periodic breaks from tech, just to see how we might survive without it.
Enjoy the technology, but make solid choices to be prepared for when it all goes away. This includes both retaining or learning basic skills and being prepared with devices that can actually help you when life as we know it fails.
Here are some resources that can help.