On 28 August, 2013 07:00:26,
by Dirk Strauss
Technology Addiction – Do you ever get the feeling that you’re too dependant on technology? Do you even think that your technology use is excessive? Now I’m not talking about someone who works in IT. Generally, I have a healthy split between family life, friends and my technology addiction.
Paul Miller took a brave step forward when he spent a year living life without the comforts that technology afford people. Some might argue that such comforts come at a price. But is it worth it that a technology addiction comes at the expense of real human interaction?
Technology Addiction – Natural Human Evolution
I do have to say that I am also guilty in some respects. I do value the comfort that technology affords me. But can we argue that we are in the next evolution of the human race. Don’t get me wrong, by all means, live tweeting a funeral is bad taste. Keeping your kids in the viewfinder of your phone while they play so that you can snap that one pic to upload to Instagram or Facebook, instead of actually playing with them, might not be the best choice.
Charlene DeGuzman’s short film, “I Forgot My Phone,” brings to light (mind the pun) the use of mobile phones in our life today. We are so dependant on being connected that we fuel our technology addiction every chance we get. The next time the power goes out, have a look around you. Within minutes, everyone around you will be staring at their phone screens. It is a phenomenon that I have observed.
Technology Addiction – Where Are We Headed
I do however feel that looking back at the technical advances of the human race in the past 50 years gives us an idea of where we are heading. We are evolving, perhaps not physically (not now anyway) but we as a human race are advancing. We can already augment our bodies with machinery, robotic prosthesis, enhanced vision (forget Google Glass) as well as a host of other additions to enhance our productivity. It makes sense that there are some ideas that may seem a bit far fetched. But have a look at some of the forecasts from The Futurist magazine.
Technology has the potential to enhance our lives, and the lives of those less fortunate in a powerful way. The more we use it, the more it grows, the better, quicker and smaller everything gets.
Technology Addiction – The Dark Side
As everything in life, there is a darker side to technology. How responsible are we as consumers of technology? How secure is your Facebook account? Do you know what details of you are shared on-line? (That means STOP checking in to places on Foursquare or Facebook. While you’re busy doing that, potential robbers know that you aren’t at home.) Technology is at the behest of the human race (for now), so it is natural that it is also used for nefarious purposes. Some of these things will blow your mind. Drug Cartels in Mexico have built their own encrypted mobile network. Terrorist organisations that have their own ops centre to monitor attacks and civilian casualties caused by their attacks, in real time.
During the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, the terrorists contacted the terrorist war room upon finding a civilian hiding from them. The war room Googled the description of the man given to them by the terrorists on the ground and discovered the he was the second wealthiest businessman in India. Orders were given to execute him. When Sony PlayStation was hacked, the hackers stole 100 million people’s details. That is far more than a train robber could ever muster. This is the reality of today.
Marc Goodman talks about these topics and more in his TED talk ‘A vision of crimes in the future’.
Technology Addiction – Securing Your On-line Life
I guess the only thing we need to do is to learn to be responsible with our on-line information. We need to take cognisance of the fact that criminals will exploit any and every method or means to steal from you. Stop posting pictures of your kids in the bath on Facebook. Stop checking in to every stop along the way on a trip to or back from holiday. Robbers will know exactly how much time they have to do bad things.
Stop being ignorant about what details you share on Facebook. Stop using insecure passwords for your on-line accounts. Stop using the SAME password for on-line accounts. Stop posting a status update of how much you miss your wife when you’re away on a business trip. Instead of making that your status update, phone her and tell her that you miss her and avoid criminals from knowing that your wife is alone at home. It is okay to have a Technology addiction, but while you’re at it, make sure that your addiction doesn’t do harm to yourself or others.
Dirk is a Software Developer and Microsoft MVP from South Africa. He loves all things Technology and is slightly addicted to Twitter and Jimi Hendrix. Apart from writing code, he also enjoys writing human readable articles. "I love sharing knowledge and connecting with people from around the world. It's the diversity that makes life so beautiful." Dirk feels very strongly that pizza is simply not complete without Tabasco, that you can never have too much garlic, and that cooking the perfect steak is an art he has yet to master.