Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thought of the day - technology

I have mixed feelings about technology.

On the one hand technology makes some aspects of our life simpler, such as communication. Just look at what we are doing right now: I'm writing something that can be read almost instantly by people all over the world. We can "chat" with people who we will never meet (or even get the chance to meet) face to face without the wonders of modern technology.
However, with these technologies and our  increased dependence on them, we are losing the ability (to some extent) to communicate with our fellow humans in real life, face to face situaions. I'm afraid that our ability to to read non-verbal communication will also likely suffer as Moe and more of us have our noses stuck in our smartphones. Especially the younger generations.

Don't get me wrong, I love my smartphone. 95% of this blog has been written and posted via smartphone. Maybe, just maybe, we should "unplug" for a while...

I suppose the underlying issue I have with technology is that its continuing use causes us to lose skills we once had. Take navigation for example. The GPS unit has revolutionized the way we travel from point A to point B. In my profession, GPS has become the standard tool for mapping fires and navigating to remote spots. This is a good thing because our map accuracy has been vastly improved; but there is a cost - the loss of map and compass skills.
How many of us could pick up a paper map and a compass and find our way from one point to another? Could we map out the course we took on that map? Can we determine how far we have traveled? These skills aren't too difficult to learn, but without practice we will lose them. I even teach basic land navigation in some training classes and I rely on GPS so much that it takes me a while to get comfortable with map and compass again.

And what about our ability to do simple math or even spell without calculators or spell check?

I'm sure some will say (and may have a  valid argument) that maybe we don't need these skills anymore now that technology can do it for us.
Maybe, but I'm not too sure......

No comments:

Post a Comment