The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Technology ...

I have not yet gotten myself a smart phone, and I don’t think I will anytime soon. I’ve seen many of the Androids and I-Phones out there, very impressive. They do all kinds of things; view pictures, take pictures, surf the Internet, figure out your location with GPS, tell you where restaurants and other stuff is in your vicinity, record voices, view and send e-mail and text messages, on and on. But you know what? Aside from the e-mail and texting, these smart phones remind me of Leatherman tools. I.e., those all-in-one things that look like a mutant pair of pliers; they have all sorts of mini-tools folding out from them. Akin to a Swiss knife on steroids!

But as with the Leatherman, almost none of the tools on a smart phone are the best possible forms of that tool. The I-Phone screens, although getting bigger, are still really too small for long-term reading or serious internet research. They are still kind of clunky as phones, sort of like talking into a piece of toast (an old Motorola Razr is still a better design for a pocket phone). As cameras and voice recorders they are OK, but if you really want a good picture or voice recording, you still need to get a camera or voice recorder with a good stereo microphone attached. If you want to view photos digitally, an I-Pad with its bigger screen is still the better option. About the only thing smart phones really shine at is sending short messages quickly.

As with the Leatherman, they have their place. If you need to travel light, if you don’t have room to pack all the right tools for every occasion, then a smart phone in your pocket can be very useful. But for me . . . I’ll keep my little flip-out cell phone, along with my digital camera and voice recorder. And as to tools, I have a decent little tool kit in the house and partly in my car trunk. But no Leatherman! I’m just an old-school kind of guy, obviously.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:15 pm      

  1. Jim, As to the smart phones, and various types of them, I agree with you. I find myself wondering just what real need a person has to do all the multiple things one can do on such phones — and all at the same time! Furthermore, I wonder if there’s a real need to check the weather, international news, national news, local news, and most especially all the latest on celebrities at every single moment. “Breaking News” of what the most recent celebrity has done seems a strange use of the term. Are the actions of a recent celebrity (often hyping his/her latest movie, music, play, etc.) “news”?

    But then I find myself wondering if there is a “new” kind of human being developing. I’ve been known to think several (OK, maybe only 3 to 5 things) at one time. When I do, it takes a while to formulate the entirety into words. But the question often is: Is what one is thinking worth putting into words? Then I find myself wondering: Will this technological ability to do several things at one time make humans a new kind of human, say homo-technological? Or will it have the effect of limiting the ability of humans to carry a thought that contains more than 140 characters? Will it make humans “dumber” in some way? I think the jury is still out on these questions.

    Then too, I find myself wondering just how easy it would be to destroy a humanity dependent on technological equipment that is dependent on electricity. It seems that most of everything humans use, in such a case, is dependent on electricity. And what happens if there is an electrical outage?

    Yet, I find myself thinking (I’ve said this before) of the horse. Some 150 years ago, few people would have considered going anywhere without a horse (or maybe a donkey or mule). The only other option was walking. Now we have roads lined with automobiles during rush hour and most of the day in some areas. The term “horses” is limited to something about the car. Odd isn’t it?

    Perhaps a change is coming and it is useless to try to deny it or stop it. Yet, I’m intrigued by the number of people (albeit they are small in number but I think very serious and determined in their intentions) who are learning to do without all the techno-gadgets; and they seem to be doing very well, thank you. Here I am definitely *not* speaking of the “crazies” that could be lumped in that group. I’m speaking of the ordinary, sensible people for whom all the technology is overwhelming and who simply want to limit their use of it.

    Then too, one thing that bothers me about the new smart phones is the fact that anybody can be “kept track of” with their use. How beneficial is that to the human race? Once again, I am not speaking of individuals who have nefarious deeds they want kept hidden; I’m speaking of just regular people going about their daily business. One time I mentioned to a class the issue of “privacy”; most of them (and they were adults) tho’t I must be crazy. Why would I worry about “privacy”?

    I have no answers to all these questions. But I spend a lot of time thinking about them and wondering what future generations may be like. Certainly in 150 years things among humans will have changed so much as to be as unrecognizable as things back in the 1850s would be to us these days.

    I imagine, in the end, all will depend on how technology will be used, as is the case with everything in the end. But it certainly leads to a lot of questions. And one last one: Would it not be wise for those doing the inventing to think of the positive use of technology in the development going on rather than simply how much money they can make from the marketing of a “new thing” that becomes a “need” for so many people? MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — February 7, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

  2. Jim, And one more tho’t/question: I find myself wondering just how much money corporate America makes with all the things “you must know right now” and with all the “new” things one must have immediately. I wonder: Just what is the difference between the new smart phone that people have this year and the new one coming out next year–bigger or smaller by a quarter inch. What difference does it make? Then again, will homo-technological have better eyesight looking at all the small screens?

    Then too, I often think that if it were not for the money that companies hope to make (and definitely do make) from all the various things one can do at the same time and all the new gadgets available *right now*, there would be very little to say when it comes right down to it. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — February 8, 2013 @ 11:06 am

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