Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Three Thoughts About Technology

On Morning Joe this morning, it was reported that there's now inpatient treatment available for internet addiction. Wikipedia tells us that internet addiction is excessive computer use that interferes with daily life. Joe seems to think that this is a problem largely for children and grandchildren, but I'd argue that some parents and grandparents are struggling with this issue as well. People don't know what to do if they're not online.

One of the stats I use a lot at work is that more than  half of us have added checking Facebook to our daily routine. Even before we have our coffee, we're going online to see what has happened in our family & friend's lives. It's so important to observe other people's lives - when do we have time to live our own?

Thought number two: there was a tremendous rainstorm here last night, with thunder and lightning and torrential rain for a short period of time. Our power stayed on. But it made me think about the amount of knowledge we all store on electronic devices. Books work when the power goes out. The computer doesn't.

Obviously, the ultimate place to store knowledge is inside your head. That's portable, always accessible, and doesn't take up storage space. But we all have limited capacity. I certainly don't remember everything I need to remember to maintain our household on a typical day. It's smart to have a low-tech copy of all vital information, in case the power does go out.

Third. The first thing I saw on the TV this morning was Feed The Children's infomercial, raising money to provide for American children living in poverty. Later on, on the news, I saw a story about the millions of Syrian refugees, including the unprecedented level of children, who are living in camps. 
So much of survivalist philosophy & education is centered in a hunker-down mentality; I wonder if there's not a need to prepare yourself to live as well as possible if you have to take your family on the road and flee whatever bad thing has happened. We need to have a conversation about moving away from warfare, natural disasters, even economic dead zones.

Technology can help us access economic resources no matter where we are (assuming one can access the web) so I'm no Luddite - there's no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater - but we need to use tech to lift us out of poverty & improve our circumstances; not saddle us with addictions and keep us from being successful.

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