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Thursday, March 25, 2010



In case you haven’t noticed, technology changes very rapidly!  I know, it’s a shocker.  You can buy a brand new computer and its technology is old news in less than a year!  Everything from cars to cell phones becomes obsolete obscenely fast.  Our society is becoming increasingly advanced, but there’s a less-than-subtle side effect.  Our society is becoming increasingly, well . . . incompetent. 

Take phone numbers, for example.  I can still remember many of the phone numbers I had to actually dial before I first got a cell phone.  I remember the phone numbers of my best childhood friends and of the house I lived in until I was twelve.  Can you?  Now, I don’t even know my work phone number.  It may seem miniscule, but how many things do you really have to remember nowadays as compared to fifteen years ago?  Hardly any!  Something in our lives does it for us.  Your brain is suffering from a lack of exercise.  Pretty soon its going to get brain-abetes. 

A more recent trend in rendering basic motor skills obsolete is the keyless movement.  Many things are going keyless now.  Vehicle entry was revolutionized by the remote keyless entry device for your key ring.  Most people call it a fob (even though fob can be just about anything on your keychain).  Fob users no longer have to physically unlock their car doors with the key itself.  What’s the main benefit?  You save about 4 seconds in opening your door, we’ll say 8 if you have to reach in and push the power unlock for any passengers.  Doesn’t seem like much, but time is money, right? 

Think about how much you earn per hour.  Now divide that by 3600.  The result is how much you earn per second.  You’re doing pretty well for yourself if it’s over a penny.  Do the math.  I’ll be honest.  I have a remote for my car, and I use it, but I wouldn’t be terribly upset if it didn’t exist.  But it gets better!

Some vehicles have a device on the fob which allows the user to just be close enough and the car unlocks itself automatically.  I’m talking to the guys, here.  I know it’s cool, but is that much of an inconvenience to reach into your pocket?  I mean your pocket is already at hand-level.  All you really have to do is move your wrist to take out your keys . . . and use them. 

It’s an uphill battle to fight off cool, though, even if it results in convenience (or laziness).  It used to be skillful to parallel park, now it can be bought.  It used to be skillful to do a lot of things which have since been automated.  Maybe someday, I can just think and my computer does whatever I want and types articles straight from my atrophying brain.  Now there’s an idea . . .

By: S. Cole Garrett


Rocket said...

this post sort a reminds me of the Talosians...they were these dudes (on the original Star Trek) that had huge heads and huge brains.. they had built all theses advanced machines but no one was left who could fix them or make new ones. they had become these atrophied little giant bobble head guys. they're technology had ruined them.

also note to blogger."i tried to download a picture of the big head dudes but you have no gallery"

Beppo said...

There's an ongoing debate about whether Google (and the Internet) is making us dumber. (It's really not fair to single Google out, but the article that started this debate put it that way.)

I don't think it's necessarily true, but there are a lot of things we take for granted. Like how many people can explain how an FM radio works? That's technology over 100 years old!

It may not matter much if we keep advancing in technology. But what if there's ever a giant solar storm or some man-made catastrophe where our country loses power for an extended amount of time. Can you imagine how life would be if we had no electricity? Or what if there was a serious oil shortage and we started running out of gasoline? Ponder the long-term effects of that...

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