Source of the image: http://www.thehindu.com
One of these days I was calmly enjoying my newspaper, a rare pleasure nowadays, when my son which is seven, approach me and bombard me with this questions:
Dad how come you don’t own an Ipad? I come with some lame excuse and he went on. Dad why don’t you have an Iphone or a smartphone? All my friends’ dads have those, so why don’t you?
I responded to those fine questions, and got myself thinking, the kid brought my attention to a very interesting theme, why on earth do we really need all those technological gadgets? Are we happier, are we better persons and are we more responsible and aware? The answers to these questions are the base to this small article, just intended to open a view to the new technological gadget world. This is not a scientific article, it is just an opinion intended to plant little seeds of discussion about this subject.
Ok let us face it, do you, the average citizen, have time to explore your very expensive gadget, do you really profit any palpable real benefit from all those bytes? I doubt it. I do not own an Iphone, an Ipad not even a smartphone. I’m the proud owner of a 8 year old simple cell phone, yep you got it, it has no built in camera, and I thrive real well in this new high tech world, my brand is present in all major social net works, and I produce my internet security work in a good flow any way.
Judging only for the contents produced in the mainstream of gadgets using, I would say that we are not getting smarter, rather the opposite, internet is fed up with eager and frantic “iphusers”, which waste their time and money taking pictures and making videos about cars, motorbikes, food and so on, all trivial and nauseating subjects, gadgets seemed to have made us gain a sort or exhibitionist/voyeur syndrome, we need to expose our life so others expose theirs. And that is not very smart, is it?
Tech gadgets are polluting the earth that is a fact, already scientifically proven. Rare metal earths like Scandium, Yttrium, Europium and an all lot of others, are rare, highly polluting, expensive metals that are needed to fabricate that smartphone you so much desire, so you can stash those porn videos without your wife knowledge. So, are we getting more aware, are we doing something to save this planet, are we thinking about the costs in terms of pollution of these gadgets? I really do not thing so, our drive it is to own, just own.
Has the world, advanced in terms of human respect, in the last five years, do these gadgets permit an effective change? Here it is the only point that I to certain extend admit that gadgets have fared in acceptable terms, by permitting that images and videos that witnessed crimes against man kind, can be more widely spread and thus creating a different awareness or at least I would like to thing that they do fulfil this purpose. The citizen reporter, the citizen eye witness, is a product of tech gadgets, that is an interesting feature of these XXI century citizens, are they more aware or they just motivated by that morbid exhibitionist/ voyeur syndrome that we early speak of. Indeed we acknowledge that there are people motivated by strong ideological ideas, that focus on their concepts to “fight” for his or her notion of what life should be, and that use the new gadgets to enhance that purpose, we will call them “gadgetivists” those persons be they motivated by good or bad, sane or insane objectives, are the only ones whom I think that really do a good use of that investment they made by acquiring that Iphone or that Ipad. So are we indeed getting better persons? I really don’t know.
I see friends that lost their ability to just enjoy a good afternoon end conversation, over a cup of coffee or being the case with this hot Portuguese Summer, over an ice cold beer, people seem to have lost the desire to engage in conversations, and what better image of that lack of ability than teens, that seem to have the cell phone glued to their hands, always carrying that piece of worthless and expensive technology around, like an extension of their own bodies, are they happier? Guess not, and judging by the problems of anxiety generated by the absence of connectivity I would have to say that gadgets just added another stressing factor to the already stressing way of life of modern societies. So we are not happier!
But we are more informed, or at least we have more sources of information. Well I must agree with that we have indeed an information society, but are we making a good use of it? Again I would have to say, no we are not. Generally speaking, we are like floating boards in an immense tide of information that flood us; we are not even capable of processing 1/3 of that flow. I frequently hook up on my twitter account, I don’t have a big legion of followers, nor do I follow a huge number of accounts, nevertheless, that equilibrated, so I think, twitter account of mine, has a permanent flow of information that I get tired after ten or so minutes of checking articles and suggested links. We live in the age of the information tsunami; worse, we live in the age of a daily information tsunami, which renders the most capable of persons incapable of processing such a flow of knowledge. So again, tech gadgets are more of a handicap, but of course there are lots of good and wonderful things about them.
By reading this article you may think that I am a person who hates technology, nothing far from the truth, I just think we must seriously address this questions, and much more, so we can understand if there is any need for this tech madness, or if this is leading us to better paths instead of being just another way of wasting resources and feed the markets, like cinnamon and pepper once fed the Portuguese discoveries!
Are we being driven to acquire useless tech gadgets, what is the role of marketing and publicity in this event, are our children being driven to a sort of collective madness because of those kind of equipments.
In this new context of world economical crisis, what is the lack of financial capability to cope with the latest models of the paraphernalia of gadgets, doing to people, specially to children whom are most fragile, though some young adults 20 to 30 years of age sometimes display the same levels of anxiety, eagerness and compulsory drive to acquire gadgets as young kids, thus proving that societies are definitely becoming more immature!
I have nothing against Iphones, smartphones ipods, ipads and all those fine examples of high tech, what really bothers me to some extend is empirically seeing that we humans are slowly setting aside those things the made us what we are; humans!
I hope I could with this small reflection, make people think on this things with really opened eyes, there is much material for investigation here, furthermore, one can even exercise a forecast, what will become of a child that uses all sort of gadgets one day when his parents can no longer provide financial support for those items, what psychological problems if any, can we expect to see? These kinds of questions really bother me, because if one thing we know is that the needs always propitiated some kind of deviating behaviours, I often thing about connectiviness as a sort of addiction that one can not control, a compulsory drive that makes oblivious of everything except the online world, and that my dear friends really frightens me!