How does technology influence your world?

We are all striving to make our lives that little bit easier, save ourselves a bit of time here and there. It would be naive to think that technology hasn’t had some influence in how we live, interact, work and play. For all the benefits technology advancements have introduced there has to been a downside.

This got me thinking how technology has altered my world?

Growing up I remember video recorders, Walkman’s that chewed up your cassette tapes, Commodore 64 and the original teenage ninja mutant turtles and I’m only 33.

Today technology has moved things considerably along. You have mobile phones that no longer look like bricks and can be used as mini personal computer, iPad. Even reading a book has evolved and gone digital with the Kindle. Maybe I’m a bit old-fashioned but there is something about reading a ‘traditional’ book that you can’t get from an e-book.

Communication

Social Media

I do have a Facebook page but am not a regular ‘Facebooker’. My account is gathering virtual dust and cobwebs from the lack of attention. Other than emailing people don’t have the motivation to share little anecdotes of my life on Facebook..my life just isn’t that interesting. This could have something to do with the fact that I spend at least 40 hours a week in front of a computer and don’t really want to spend the few precious hours I have to myself also in front of a computer.

There is talk that social media is ‘ruining our minds’, this infographic discusses how our brains and behaviour has adapted to technology, in particular social media. Data mentioned in the infographic highlights how our attention span has become smaller. There is a claim that ‘social media makes us more self-centered’, what do you think?

I may sound like I have a vendetta against social media which I don’t. I happily use it as part of my job, I find it interesting and fascinating the amount of information we can share with each other. I just want to try to have a balance between the virtual and the physical world if that is possible.

Mobile Phones

A term I heard today was ‘bleeping’ referring to the sound a phone makes when there is a new message.

My vice is texting, which I guess makes me a bleeper!

When looking at mobile phone tariffs I’m not too concerned about the free minutes unless they can be used across all networks but more about the number of free texts. There is something creative about being able to cram the key points of a conversation into a 160 character text message, this could also be seen as a breakdown of language with the introduction of text speak. The only times I’ve used terms associated with text speak is when testing or emailing. These days I hear the odd group of people speaking in acronyms, as in LOL, OMG and WTF although this one does come in handy when surrounded by young children.

I have had disagreements battled out through a series of texts when it would have made logical sense to have picked up the phone and talk, but I’m a ‘bleeper’ remember? It seems I have substituted human emotion for digital emotion through the use of smileys. I am considering adding a texting dictionary to my birthday list.

Don’t want to dip into your text bundle? There are alternative methods to mobile phone messaging which won’t cost you the earth.There is the application WhatsApp and for Blackberry phone users there is BBM.

Emailing

I do email more than I used to. In the past I have rented out my spare bedrooms and have remained friends with some of the tenants. One lives in China and the other in France email is a cheap and effective way of staying in contact. I can take my time, read over what I have written making sure no crucial details has been missed out.

Information

The way we research and take in information has changed.

If I want to research a topic or find the solution to a problem / question, in the past I would have  gone to the library or called the relevant people. These days my first point of contact is Google.

The internet is great for sharing information, for something that is simple to repair you can find the answer online saving you a few bob or two. With the help of an online video found through Google search a friend and I learned how to change the sparks plugs and the air filter on my old Fiesta!

Science                            

This topic has made me think about how my interaction with others has been influenced by technology and how my brain is changing to keep up with the modern world. Various articles are claiming we as humans are no longer able to focus on something for very long before becoming uninterested and fidgety. is this true?  I still like to read books and have a verbal conversation with others whether it is on the phone or face to face and don’t think I have any problem with focusing.

If technology is having an impact on how our brains evolve then what about the next generation, the Gen Y’s who have grown up and rely on this modern world? Perhaps I am over generalising and pigeon holing an entire group of people in which case I apologise but how would the brains of the technology savvy generation handle not having access to their mobile phone or internet access for one hour let alone one day? Would they go into a state of panic or cope like the rest of us?

Conclusion

When you sit back and think about it, if you wanted to you could have a full-blown conversation without either parties ever uttering a single word.

All this said, when the time comes and I decide to reproduce I would like to be able to speak with my children face to face and not through some futuristic technology from The Jetsons.

Whatever the outcome technology advancement is going to keep moving forward and so far the pros outweigh the cons for now. Imagine a world like The Terminator or even I,Robot? Maybe the world of The Jetsons isn’t so far off…I did always enjoy watching the cartoon.

Some useful links you may find of interest.

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/features/timestopics/series/your_brain_on_computers/index.html

http://www.whathifi.com/blog/are-we-losing-the-art-of-communication

http://media.mediaexperts.net/?p=11124

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-565207/Modern-technology-changing-way-brains-work-says-neuroscientist.html

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