There are some like myself who think that you should use technology to assist, not dictate your actions, and only when absolutely necessary too! In other words, you allow the technology to do what it can do best but also recognise that you alone are solely responsible for the outcome. So many blame a bad result on a given technology and fail to see how it is for the most a pure lack of awareness on their part, whether this be poor training or just blissful ignorance.
An example of this can be fully illustrated with car navigation systems – the so-called ‘Sat Navs’. I only use them when my destination is not known to me and in all other instances will disregard the prompting suggested by the system – much to the annoyance of a few people I know. The reason I do this is not immediately obvious, surely the satellite-aided systems can do calculations much faster and act much quicker finding alternate routes – so much better that a human brain?
This assumption is fundamentally flawed from the outset as the user has actually, and quite unreservedly, given way to the obvious advantages of the said systems without also giving due consideration to the fact that these very same systems can be further configured to select the destination by choosing more options for the fastest, nearest, and other avoidance criteria that can be set such as peak times; and by not taking into account recognition of the fact that any subsequent notices issued by the said device will then be tainted by the ‘default’ parameters active at any given time – the user has essentially ‘inherited’ those same set of parameters and they will be the ones used to ‘influence’ the advice being ‘accepted’ – and therefore may in turn be of detriment to a user who might otherwise have taken a different course of action had they fully realised that this was indeed taking place.
Difficult to understand? How about driving through town while the London Marathon is in progress? Here your otherwise quite routine drive to your destination while following the instructions, from anything but the more sophisticated of ‘Sat Navs’ equipped with traffic update alerts, would instead soon become a complete nightmare that could possibly have been avoided if you knew how!
This is why such systems are ‘dangerous’ as they effectively allow people the option to ‘sleepwalk’ into a given situation without reading the full implications purely because they had put nothing less than ‘blind faith’ into technology – as many would be prepared to accept that such technology has become the new standard to which we can build on our degree of progress in an increasingly predominant technological age – not to mention those numerous tales of people quite literally driving into crazy situations, such as getting stuck under a low bridge or driving into the river, by just simply following the ‘Sat Nav’ and ignoring any other warning signs and abandoning all common sense as the ‘much superior’ technology will allow them to ‘switch off’.
There is also this alarming new trend we now have where smartphones are ‘glued’ permanently to ones’ person – and in public too where a smartphone is always ever present in the hand – just in case it needs ‘feeding’ quickly like any other ‘newborn’ and would otherwise take too long to fetch from it’s ‘crib’, I mean safe haven. Seriously, I see so many people blatantly ignore speaking to their child for fear of being ‘interrupted’ and recently witnessed a parent firmly ‘fixated’ on a smartphone with their child carelessly climbing up a park slide – does not bear thinking the consequences of that action going terribly wrong!
So here is the burning question that one can be asked, “Is there now not anything presently left on the smartphone that is so important that it has to be so dealt with immediately? (or are we all now such slaves to both technology and business where this must so be done this way!”) – I am a ‘rebel’ and the one time I was given a company ‘crackberry’ with the expectation to be readily available to deal with the ‘urgent’ incoming messages was ‘err, well I can’t repeat my response – else some moderator will no doubt bleep me! By and large technology is an extremely good enabler and will allow many of us to do some truly wonderful things, but please also do recognise that there is still no real substitute for using your brain occasionally too, (said tongue in cheek of course). Brian Ferry sings you should be a ‘Slave To Love’, please don’t allow yourself to be a ‘Slave To Technology!’