Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Technology That Divides

There is so much technology everywhere now. We are all so high tech compared to a generation ago. A lot of the tech stuff that we have now would have been science fiction stuff in those days.

I was in my teens when we got our phone and I think most of us felt that the house phone was an awesome thing to have. I remember World Cup 1984 when my friend and I would call each other during the matches in the wee hours of the morning. And there were other wee hours too when we would sometimes sneak the phones to our rooms or we'd sneak to the phones tot talk. The urge and yearning to talk were great those days... still is. I used to earn Mom's admonishments once in a while when I was caught during those wee hours.

But the phone back then offered us so much opportunity to keep in touch with our friends. I used to get so much talking pleasures out of it. It enabled us to connect with our friends... And being teens, it was a great way for us to continue yakking past curfew hours.... 8)

Fast forward 20 years... we now have so many apps and gadgets for us to stay connected. Instant messaging, social networking apps like FaceBook, Twitter.... and the other gadgets like the iPads, Galaxy tabs, etc which has made computing and staying connected very mobile and convenient. We are supposed to be a very connected society. Everyone seems to know what everyone is doing, the holidays they have taken, food they have eaten, people they have seen and so on... even your emotions are not sacred...

Yet.... this technology which is supposed to make us closer seems to be doing the opposite. I saw a newly married couple at a coffee shop a couple of days ago. They were there for quite a while... Yet the whole time I was observing them, I noticed that hardly any conversation was going on. Instead both were preoccupied with their smart phones. Both were communicating but it just wasn't with each other.

Families go out for dinner and we see the same thing. Everywhere, you see gadgets which are supposed to connect us, yet they seem not to be bringing us any closer. We seem to holding many conversations yet many of these conversations are just surface conversations. We seem to be doing a lot more of those communicating stuff but they just don't seem to be bringing us closer to each other. An ongoing effort to project an image seems to be the focus of some, I feel, sometimes. It's quite easy for the art of conversation to get lost in all these.

We broadcast our statuses. We 'talk' incessantly into the cyber world. We project our image over the internet. But many of us have become poor listeners. We 'talk' so much that we have forgotten how to be good listeners. I find this to be true in many of my classes these days. Kids just don't know how to listen. And I don't know whether it's also due to too much stimulus from the media. There is just so much media content everywhere now.

Technology is supposed to enhance our lives. Yet I am not sure whether it's enhancement that I am actually seeing because I notice that it seems like it's doing quite a good job at dividing us and making many of us drift apart unknowingly.... all the iProducts and its wannabes.

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