Jan 272012
 

Our longtime friend Alex is an architect.  As systematic as he is, he may be better suited to his occupation than anyone else we know.

So six or seven years ago, we were visiting over a beer, and he was telling me about his Saturday morning.  He had a backyard construction project going, and he told me “so yeah, I thought I’d try it this way, and if it didn’t work out I’d just Undo it and try it another way…”

See what happened there?  He spends his days mostly in software, where a mouse click or two wipes away a mistake.  That mindset momentarily invaded his real world convincingly enough to plant an absurd thought.

I’d remembered that as an interesting anecdote and nothing more until today, when I realized technology had similarly compromised my thinking.  I was listening to talk radio at lunch and wanted to hear something said, but hadn’t been listening closely enough.  My immediate thought was “well, I’ll rewind it and…”

…except I can’t rewind the radio in my F-150, can I?  Oops.

My DVR, and probably to some degree online video, have apparently wrecked my attention span.  My default level of attention is now less than it ever has been, because I’ve been conditioned to believe that I can simply rewind if I want to truly listen to something.

You know, everybody worries about nuclear holocaust or environmental calamity as the cause of humanity’s potential extinction during its ontological adolescence.

What if it’s just that we’re eventually going to be unable to listen for thirty damned seconds in a row?

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 Posted by at 8:46 pm

  3 Responses to “Technology’s insidious cerebral assault”

  1. Dude, I’m sorry… I didn’t get that last bit. Could you possibly… ?

  2. Along similar lines of thought, the other side effect of our reliance on technology is that we remember much less information these days. Gone are the days where we must read a book and actually learn and memorize the facts we read. Now we have Google, Wikipedia and the likes that give us all the information we would ever need just a few keystrokes away. Other things have suffered such as remembering phone numbers… How many phone numbers do you know off the top of your head? I think I know maybe 4 or 5. I don’t even know my own desk number off the top of my head yet. It’s all stored in my phone book on my iPhone. Remember when your good friend’s birthday is? Nope… but Facebook does. And we all subconsciously realize that there’s no need to really commit any of this information to actual memory, because it’s all just a few clicks away.

    It makes me crack up when someone is put in a situation where they’re without internet, or even without power, and suddenly they’re like a ship dead in the water. No work can get done, no way to communicate, and no idea how to go about their lives. I’d bet a large percent of the first world populous would have rather significant anxiety if forced to be without their cellphone, internet, and TV for an extended period of time. I would probably take a bit to get adjusted to that way of life. And just think, 2 of those 3 things didn’t even exist in the common household 15 – 20 years ago.

    What has happened to us all? Maybe Google knows….

  3. Kelly, hugs for the chuckles. Y’all need to move closer so we can have dinner once in a while. You know you get Saintseester in the deal too. 🙂

    Tahm, right you are on the phone numbers. I actually posted about that once. And I have an absolutely unavoidable unplugged 48 hours approaching. I suspect blogging about it after the fact shall be fabulous.

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