Five Things I’ve Stopped Doing Because of Technology
I’d like to call myself a technology enthusiast. I like to adopt to new devices and apps that make my life easier. After years of being dependent upon technology to ease day-to-day tasks, it dawned upon me that I no longer do certain things (that now seem trivial and non-productive) which I used to, when I didn’t have a smartphone in my pocket.
Do I miss them? Most certainly not, I think technology is a wonderful enabler for us to lead better lives. But I can’t help but look back with nostalgia upon the following five things that I’ve evolved out of doing:
1) Asking for Directions
I still remember how excited I was at the prospect of this one feature on Google Maps for Java Phones — the ‘My Location’ feature. My primitive Sony Ericsson K750i did not have a GPS chip back then, but the app could tell me my approximate location using a method called cell-tower triangulation. And I would dream about a time when phones would become our navigation devices (admittedly because I suck at directions).
What followed was years of inadequate map data and horrible user interfaces that kept improving incrementally. Google Maps was (still is) the only mapping service that I put my trust in. Not to say it’s perfect; it still does land me in wrong destinations some times. But the huge number of positive experiences trump the few negative ones. Today, it’s come to a point where I blindly follow what the turn-by-turn guidance voice tells me as I travel in any city. It might not be the best route, but it’ll take you there eventually.
This, as opposed to stopping in a narrow lane, rolling the window down, getting wrong directions or clueless stares, while people behind you honk like crazy. No thanks, I’m glad I don’t have to do that anymore. But yeah, it takes away some human interactions from your life.
2) Staring out of the window
When traveling somewhere in public transportation, in the olden days I remember staring out of the window, because there was pretty much nothing else to do. Looking at the same landscape over and over eventually got replaced with me staring down at the screen of my smartphone. Now, journeys that last hours aren’t as boring as I catch up to reading stuff I’ve Pocketed, or read tweets or catch up with my peeps on Instant Messaging. And it isn’t just me — observe any train, bus or any other public transportation, and nowadays you will see most people drowned into playing Candy Crush, catching up to the latest episodes of their favorite show or copy-pasting messages from one WhatsApp group to another, among other things.
3) Sharing things
Till long my home had one television and one internet-connected computer. That vastly changed in the years that followed — now there’s two TVs, each family member has his/her own computer. We still have one tablet but I can see how that might change too in the near future.
Since the internet has become such a crucial part of our life, there’s tons of private information that our devices hold. Private photos, textual conversations, access to social networking services — it’s all out there to whoever we lend our phone to.
While there are only a few ‘smart’phones that have a Guest Mode or multiple user logins that will keep your data private, for the rest of us it can be a slightly uncomfortable ordeal to temporarily hand over our phone to another adult (or worse yet, a kid). I’d rather prefer not to.
This is vastly different than how electronics that weren’t smart were so easy to share because there was no sensitive data to be worried about (yeah, except maybe for a disc that was *cough* accidentally left in the DVD player once).
4) Mental Math
I’ve never been good at performing mental math. And now thanks to devices that are at an arm’s length, I no longer have to. I feel no shame as I reach for my phone whenever somebody asks me what’s 38 percent of half a million, or when I need to convert 4.7-inches into centimeters.
Thank god those awful days are behind me!
5) Trying to recollect things
Most of us are exposed to truckloads of information every living minute. The temporary storage in our brain can only retain so many things, and we tend to forget easy. But instead of trying to think hard in trying to recollect the name of that actress you saw in a movie years ago, it’s just easy to search for it on IMDB. I have found what I was looking for by just inserting parts of what I could recollect on Google. There are apps that’ll tell you what song is playing by listening to it, there are apps that will remind you of something the moment you move out of your current location.
Yes, over-dependence on devices to help you remember stuff can lead to chaos if the device fails on you at the worst possible time. But hey, it’s a heck lot better than getting a small migraine every now and then as you try to recollect something.