Tuesday 30 May 2006

Handicapped by technology

Becoming a less-human of modernity

At times, one does wonder if the use of technology deadens human ability to do all sorts of things, they should be able to do naturally and sensibly.

For instance, through secondary school I used 4-figure tables and in some instances 5-figure tables, when I got to polytechnic we used tables for thermodynamics amongst other subjects.

At least then we began to use calculators, but before calculators, it was amazing how many sums one could do in ones head and even more on paper.

Nowadays, I falter on long division on paper and whilst every now and then I’ll rather do the head arithmetic or the paper calculations, but I find I have to affirm my findings with the addiction to that number-crunching prop – the electronic calculator.

I could remember nigh on 33 years ago, my fascination with the hand-operated calculator the precursor to the check-out till with all the calculation appearing on rolls of paper, indeed, technology has come a long way.

In the process, I have lost the ability to do simple sums, I find that it is difficult to transcribe numbers – a continuing frustration – multiplication, I hardly do in my head when once I could do the times tables to 22 by recitation.

Now, all this computer malarkey means I rarely write, such that my once really beautiful handwriting could as well be a ciphered scrawl – it is not that bad really, but I know my writing can be a lot better if I did a lot more pen to paper stuff than tap on keys.

Becoming an asocial communicator

This leads to another aspect of socialising, I do try to make friends and maintain contact with them. However, the ease with which technology allows contact through telephony, email and chat amongst other things means that you might find time but not space.

Time is when you engage in the contact over these media, space is when you take time to meet up and “press the flesh”. My concern is that I have allowed technology to absorb my time that space is not created to engender and foster relationships properly.

On a personal level, I despair of the time I spend trying in all civility to be run long distance relationships, where I might be quite expressive emotional, but cannot expect the same of my respondents.

Even today, when I should have been celebrating a birthday with a friend who I had invited over, the reticence that accompanied rejecting the invitation was both palpable on the one hand and not clearly as forth coming as one should expect.

I suppose there are times people would rather celebrate their birthdays alone – hard as it might seem to be that articulate in a chat session.

Making time away from technology

This then feeds into other aspects of building friendship-type relationships as opposed to business ones – it leaves me open to accusations that I am incapable of showing affection, well, I am affected, could be affecting, and might be given to affectation.

I do not, however, have a pet because I understand that it would require a lot more of my time than I have to offer in dedication and concern to the level that satisfies what concern should be. Change, is journey I must surely embark on.

You might then say, what brings on this introspection? I just read that a 21-year old put a 13-month old baby he was baby-sitting in the tumble-dryer when she spilt her drink on herself – makes you ponder – the wonders of technology today!

Or rather, dense stupidity helped by technological advancement - the Philips adverts helps a lot, this is not a time of Sense and Simplicity - try - Nonsense and simpletons!


Philips claim simply makes no sense

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