Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rewritten Rant

Technology Dependence
Kristina Romano

I've been thinking about what's gonna happen when it comes to technology and people. Today, there's a rise of cell phones that have more than just the ability to call people, there are MP3 players that have cameras and internet access and p2p sharing, and we're living in a world where social networking has becomes the new dating and friendship connection. We're, in a sense, relying on machines and the internet at an increasing alarming rate, to the point that one day we won't be able to function without them.

Earlier today, I was going on a short shopping trip to pick up some supplies, and I decided this all the sudden. Within five minutes, I was out the door, sure I was going to catch a bus in ten minutes, sure the store I was going to was open, and sure I was going to get a 50% discount on one item. I did this in light-speed compared to even twenty years ago.

First, I went online and looked up the bus schedules, and two minutes later, I knew that I had just missed a bus, but there was another in 15 minutes. That gave me enough time to visit the store’s website, find out that they were open until 9, and check their discounts sections for coupons and print them out. Then I was out the door, and everything went off without a hitch.

It’s incredible that I could figure out everything that fast. Even fifteen years ago, I would have needed that knowledge ahead of time. I would have had to memorize that bus schedule and know what time the store was open until, as well as gotten that coupon through the mail. The advancements are incredible.

There was only one thing that went wrong; I didn’t expect the bus to be on detour on the way back. The website didn’t have an advisory up. That meant someone on the other end of the site got something wrong. Either that, or the bus driver didn’t know that the detour was over. This brings up another point. Though computers are infallible in calculations, the humans that design the machines are not, nor can the computer calculate the physical outcome every time.

But what does that mean for our knowledge in general? Will we start refusing to learn simply because the answers are at our fingertips within a few clicks? It’s already happening with something like bus schedules.

Further back, what about things like cars and trains - they were, at one point, considered technological advancements. Today, we've modified and created systems that are so much more efficient, and we continue to improve them. We've evolved past even needing to travel or send something out to get in contact someone. We've surpassed the physical realm, and we think that this technology will always be there. Imagine what would happen when the internet crashes?

A bit scary, huh?

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