Welcome to the Dark Side

During a math exam, I looked around. People were using their calculators as if there were no tomorrow. I did too. After finishing the exam I talked to some people and what came out was quite worrying: more than half of the people I talked to admitted to having used their calculator even for the simplest calculations like 8 x 6. I started asking myself why that could be and I figured out: we are just too dependent on technological devices. We sometimes stop using our brains and we just trust technology. But is that a bad thing?

Calculators and other great things

Sure, some technological devices are great and you really need them. Or have you ever tried to take the square root of 5223 without a calculator? Sometimes it is just not possible to do something by yourself, but relying entirely on technology? Sounds scary to me. There is a solution at least to the calculator problem! Have you ever heard of QAMA? This calculator only gives you the correct answer after you provide an estimate of what could be the answer. This way technology AND your brain can work together perfectly.

medium_6756753669-e1347936367910There are also other devices that make the life of everyone way easier. Take search engines like Google as an example. Can you imagine running to the library every single time you have a question or you don’t understand a word? I personally wouldn’t be able to ever leave the library. There are just too many things that I google. As I already stated in my last post I’ve become a huge fan of Nicholas Carr and his question “Is Google making us stupid?”. According to Carr, we lose the ability to concentrate for a longer period of time because we’re so used to just skimming headlines and short paragraphs on the internet.

There are always two sides of the coin

Technology is important and it makes us faster and more efficient. Take texting as an example. Instead of calling you just send a text real quick and the person can answer even if they’re in a meeting. The drawback here is that according to a study, kids for example don’t know how to write correctly any longer and the children writing 2 or more texts a day had worse results than children who didn’t text. Also, kids are becoming more and more dependent on other technological devices than just cells. In the era of video games, computers, tablets and other technologies, children lose their ability to socialize. This following video is an interview about the problems technology causes for children.

It’s not just the kids

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We grown-ups also lose very important abilities like for example the ability to concentrate for a longer time. I just experienced that myself when I tried to study today. After 20 minutes, my mind just wandered off and left me with all kind of thoughts but the topic I was working on. I’m pretty sure everyone at least once experienced the following: You’re supposed to work on something. You are supposed to really get things done and what do you do? You just quickly check your mails or your Facebook page. After some time you realize your “quickly” just turned into a few hours and there is no more time left to do what you were supposed to do. One way of avoiding that is discipline. I personally seem to lack that a bit so my solution could be “Freedom” an app that blocks the internet for a certain time that you set.

Isn’t it weird that we need technology to fight our dependency on technology?

To my mind this shows us again how dependent we are on technology these days. There are a lot of drawbacks to technology but I’m not saying stop using technology. It is good and necessary to use technology because it helps us to perform better and faster. So the questions whether technology is a good thing or a bad thing or whether it makes us stupid or not has one simple answer:

The answer is “both,” and the choice is up to us.

(Annie Murphy Paul)

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