EDITORIAL: Technology takeover

By Kaitlin Barr
April 3, 2008

Silicon Valley, who is one of the world’s “always on” areas by having more gadgets in their companies than people, recently announced they were going “topless.” Meaning, companies in the information technology capital are turning off their laptops, Blackberrys and iPhones in board meetings so they can concentrate on each other.

This raises the question: has our world become so dependent on e-mail, text messages and IM’s that we don’t have the personality skills that most once had?

So many people in our generation refuse to pick up the phone anymore. “I don’t like talking on the phone, texting is so much easier” is a common phrase often said by college students. Even professors are now texting students to talk. Why the sudden change?

Does personality matter anymore? If you can type a nice email, what’s the point of having the people skills you once needed to talk on the phone, if most of the people you are interacting with don’t even pick up the phone?

If our generation is coming into sending constant text messages and e-mails, what does that mean for future generations? Will we be communicating with our future children through texts and never face-to-face?

24 hours a day during classes, meetings, at work, at home, even now at church, more and more people are constantly on their phones. Playing games, sending texts, e-mails or downloading ring tones, everything except calling someone.

Is this taking away from our learning? If a student is constantly texting in class, they may not be hearing all of the notes, therefore test scores will be lower and schools will loose credibility. When you’re done a class and you walk outside, what is the first thing most people do; reach for their cell phones.

Are cell phones, especially ones with e-mail, giving people a small case of ADD? When someone cannot sit through a meeting for an hour, or a class for forty-five minutes to an hour without touching his or her phone, it comes off as having ADD. Is it in fact?

In a recent article in the L.A. Times, Linda Stone, a software executive who works for Apple Inc, and Microsoft Inc, calls the continuing need “continuous partial attention.” She described it as having an intense desire to be connected to the world all the time.

Is that it? Do people want to constantly be connected with everyone that they feel left out if they’re not online?

In a world that is constantly growing economically, the need to be connected is felt by most. Regardless of your field of work, the Internet is a vital resource you’re your everyday actions.

As the years progressed, technology has drastically increased, and the world is keeping up with all the latest developments. More and more people rely on the Internet in their everyday lives and we are becoming too dependent on it. Technologically, gadgets can only get more innovative, and more expensive. Personally, people may start to more and more apart. Is that something we want?

Kaitlin Barr

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