Saturday, May 10, 2014

Technology: Pro or Con?

I've been thinking about how technology affects every part of our lives. There's some new advancement almost every day it seems.  I feel like I can't keep up - or like tech can't keep up with me!

At the grocery store recently while I scanned a shelf of products, I had a weird moment. I found myself wishing that I could find the specific price and product I wanted by pressing CTRL-F.

Why isn't there a way to computerize the shopping experience in a really useful way? That's what I want to know.

Of course, we all think we've come a long way with technology we use in our everyday lives. I think that, If my grandmother could see the way she shop these days, she'd probably think we've come too far.

 I'm old enough to have one foot in the age of Atari and the other in the land of self-parking cars and I am still stumped by some of the features on my smartphone. I often wonder what this current world of our would look like through the eyes of Grandma.

My father's parents grew most of their own vegetables and got most of their meat from neighbors who had farms. Any food they purchased came from the little store down the street. During my childhood summer visits to the grandparents, Grandma would send me an my cousins to the store for things like bread or flour, which she got on credit. I didn't understand that she paid this bill off every month. It was like having a Capital One card with special privileges. Only local of at least two generations need apply! My own parents shopped at the Commissary or BX. I knew nothing of this local credit system.

I have a cousin who lives in San Francisco. A few years ago, he was telling me how he orders his groceries online for delivery to his doorstep. I felt like a hick the next time I had to drive to Walmart for vanilla soy and eggs.

On the other hand, I have an aunt in her eighties who almost performed an exorcism on my phone when she saw me using it to check my email. She never has gotten over losing her rotary dial desk phone to the push-button handset model. I find it both funny and interesting that she thinks technology effects on society is more negative than positive. Maybe it's not really funny.

According to my aunt, technology has ruined young people, eroded manners, and closed more doors than it's opened. I had the nerve to argue with her. I played PRO, she played CON:

  • PRO: Cellphones and computers let parents keep in almost constant contact with their kids.
  • CON: Contact by text and email can't replace face-to-face communication.
  • PRO: We can work from anywhere (and in our PJs, if we want!).
  • CON: We are never away from work.
  • PRO: Computers have shrunk the world. We can meet and get to know people from across the globe.
  • CON: A lot of shallow relationships can't replace a few solid relationships.
  • PRO: We can take virtual tours of almost anywhere in this world.
  • CON: And we forget to look at the beauty right outside our front door - or the mess right in our own homes.
  • PRO: Technology has given more people more opportunities than ever before.
  • CON: There are still a lot of people left out of those opportunities.
  • PRO: We can keep up with news and information better than ever.
  • CON: We get so much information that we care less about the details.
  • PRO: Technology is improving medicine and business.
  • CON: It's making us forget people and individual lives
  • PRO: Cookies!
  • CON: What?
  • PRO: I just ordered cookies from Sri Lanka! I couldn't do that twenty years ago!
  • CON: Uh huh. You know they say cellphones cause brain damage.
Okay, so my auntie might have a point.

Peace
--Free


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