Future shock from the machine

Are we not thinking about how we’ll affect the future at all?

I was born in 1990, when the world was much smaller. Before the zoo became connected.

Look at how connected we are now. We’re so close we can almost touch, yet we’re so far apart we don’t speak to the people whose breath we can almost see. Half of the time the people around me are on their phones, consumed by pixels when there’s a beautiful world in front of them.

As I walk to class I prepare to sit in a room where just about everyone has their neck craned (text neck and SMS slouch, soon to be justifiable medical conditions) in some way that allows for optimal viewing of their small illuminated world in which they are normally playing a game. Imagine seeing this just about everywhere around the world, not just in little Big Rapids.

Whenever I see someone sucked into their phone/tablet in class, all I can think about is wasted tuition, time wasted trying to educate these students and more money for the college that will likely be used when I’m no longer here. This isn’t how I thought I’d see fellow classmates “earn” their degrees.

How can people be so sucked into a screen three feet away from their face, yet be unable to devote ten minutes to any one of their friends, let alone an acquaintance or person they just met? We are becoming either only as open as our Facebook or as open as our text messages allow us to be in limited characters.

It’s very difficult to get a message across, especially in 160 characters or fewer, during an age where seemingly everyone I come across is impatient, anxious and unable to pick up on social cues in normal discussions.

If I send a message longer than a couple sentences, it is considered a book. I’m lucky if half of what I wrote was comprehended. I don’t even bother taking time to talk to people anymore. I’ve just decided to go down to the 160 character limit. I’ll begin to stutter until I realize my limit has hit a max, then reset the conversation.

How have we become dependent on a little machine? I don’t need a second brain, nor does anyone else.

If someone doesn’t know how to do something, give them 60 seconds and a smartphone connected to a cell tower; they’ll have an answer.

Our brains need to be stretched more than that. I am continuously having difficulty with my memory now that I study for a rigorous schedule. Add in a social life, personal time (sleep), and a job and where is the rest? It’s spent trying to keep up with life through a machine. That’s no way to live. Cell phones have become radiating pocket pace-makers.

We’re getting off much too easy by not pushing our mind to remember and do all of the work our phones have begun to do for us. I used to remember phone numbers like a boss when I was younger. Nowadays? I probably know ten phone numbers that aren’t land lines. I feel like our memories are becoming shorter because of the nature of how short we’ve become as a group of people.

When I first started typing up essays in middle school, I ridiculed how horrid the spell check in Microsoft Word worked. I never imagined seeing every input box I would type in today with a spell check. I wouldn’t be so miffed by this if it didn’t enable brain laziness. What is passing for education today should be classified as remedial. We must have all forgotten how life was before we added pocket weights to our jeans.

How many sights have you given up for sites?

This idea doesn’t help those who have chosen the Internet as a choice of escape. Just because the Internet is available to you does not mean your life should revolve around a machine. We’re trading what’s real for what we see inside a machine.

None of us are acting as rebels. It’s time to Rage Against the Machine.

I challenge you to go a day without pressing a button.