Technology has made me lazy! I used to do basic arithmetic in my head. I could count out change without the cash register telling me what change I needed to make. I could spell without using spell check. I used to be able to write a handwritten note without a lot of thought. You may think it is just part of getting older, except it started forty (40) years ago.
This is not meant to turn back the clock on technology or progress. I love technology and have incorporated it into my life. Although I love the convenience, increased access to much information and the higher productivity, I think it does change how we do things. Some technology has made us more productive and made our lives easier. It has certainly affected the ways in which we think, solve problems and perform routine daily tasks. All of these changes may not have a positive effect on our brains.
It started 40 years ago
When I was in high school we did not have calculators. We learned to use a slide rule which is a mechanical analog computer. You could perform multiplication and division, and functions such as roots, logarithms and trigonometry. In college, it was the engineering and math/science students who used them on a regular basis. Most other students only used them on an irregular basis. This all preceded calculators.
You would not just use it o do simple arithmetic or even ordinary calculations. It was much easier to take out a piece of paper and pencil to do those simple things. You still needed to do much more than using a calculator. Calculators changed all that! Initially, they were real expensive and mostly desktop instruments. So they were used for work and not much more. I took t it like a duck to water!
After just a few years, I noticed that what I used to do mentally was not as easy as before. Before long, I could use a ten key (similar to a telephone) much faster and it made me more productive or did it? I was getting better with the technology, but I was more dependent on using it too. I could not do the arithmetic or calculations mentally as fast, but I could use the machine better.
Technology does not change all at once. I remember studying the checkless society in Finance class more than forty (40) years ago. At one time, cash, checks and credit cards were the main method of payment then debit cards, electronic payments and prepaid cards started. It took a very long time for consumers to embrace these new forms of payment. There are still people who do not have checking accounts, or other forms of payment technology. Change takes a long time!
We still use cash and checks, although there are many more convenient ways of paying for a product or service. I normally do not carry cash, but rely on credit cards almost exclusively. I like this technology, but it does change the way I think. Instead of counting my change, I must review my receipt for accuracy and make sure I hang on to it for my recordkeeping. I am much more conscious of my identity being stolen and these are the result of the change in technology.
Am I more productive?
I no longer have to remember phone numbers, pass codes, passwords, or how much cash I should have in my pocket. Is it better? In most cases, I like it better because I get to choose what I want to remember, but it does not stop there! It means I need to solve problems differently. I need to learn these new technologies and what to do when it breaks or I lose it. It used to be that I could not lose my home phone because it was plugged into the wall (permanently).
Now I am dependent on my cell phone for my entire address book, pictures, or much more. I no longer know the twenty or thirty phone numbers I use all the time and my memory is working differently than before. I do not even remember my phone number because I do not call myself and I rarely give it to people. I can use my phone to pay bills or receive payment, connect to the internet, or so much more. My life is simpler, but more complicated than before. I spend more of my time using technology, but am I more productive in the real sense?
I have so much more access to information, but I do not want to spend all my time figuring out how to use it. Information is the new currency or power tool! It can make us more money, more productive or even rich! Does it also make us more dependent on the technology too? I find at times, I cannot read everything so I use readers which will filter what I am interested in. This makes me more productive, but am I missing out on something?
How I use technology?
I make choices! I embrace what helps me and discard what I think will just make me lazy. I use online banking and credit cards because it saves me money and makes me more productive. I never use debit cards because I see no advantage to pay anyone instantly unless I receive a cash discount. Since the bank charges the store a fee that will never happen! I do not have a Smartphone because I cannot justify the additional cost for the convenience of being connected yet. These may change!
Technology is wonderful, but you should only embrace the things that actually improve your life. Buying the newest item is foolish because something better, cheaper and more productive is just months away. New technology is introduced almost monthly and it is always better and less expensive than before. Just a few years ago, social media was just an idea! We are a mobile society and there will be many new things to make us more productive, but it will also change how we think too!
Desktop computing is no longer the trend! Smaller, more powerful mobile computing combined with communication devices, online access and much more is the future!. We still need to selectively use the new technology to supplement our lives and prepare for change. Changes in software and mobile devices are moving at lightning speed. Texting, social media and networking cannot replace personal or professional relationships, but you can use technology to supplement your relationships.
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Technology has made me lazy!