Firstly, Happy new year all!

Technology. It can be wonderful can’t it? Where would we be without it? How did we ever cope before the likes of the Internet or mobile phones? Perhaps it is as well to consider it can also be a double-edged sword too. How many people over-rely on it or chase their tail in pursuit of it? Has anyone ever found themselves lusting after the latest hi-tech equipment with the latest features. More often than not – do you really need these? Come on, let’s all own up!

Remember technology can fail. You may recall just recently my hard-drive failed. Last month just before Christmas a potentially more serious event happened when a text message I thought I’d sent – didn’t get through (resulting in a chain of events which culminated with me being reported as a missing person and a lot of worried people behind the scenes. I took technology for granted and was completely oblivious to the whole thing).

Another irk is that technology has changed the way people think and operate. There is an interesting article on this particular topic by Nicholas Carr – Is Google making me Stupid. Working at a University most days, I’m seeing a decline in what many would call fundamental skills. More people are now reliant on calculators and spell-checkers – there is a clear deterioration in both maths and english skills. Likewise with research. In the “old days” people had to go out and find information from various sources, like divers they immersed themselves in a particular area. On the one hand, we no longer have to trawl for information from such places as public libraries or gain it via personal experience which may or may not produce the desired results. We can just type in a Google keyword or two and bingo, things come to us. The flip side is it changes how our brain operates and how we think. We suffer information overload. We forget an awful lot, there is less wisdom about a particular topic. We also don’t question what we read online as much as we should. Why should we automatically accept that what we are reading online is the final say on a matter? Plus I bet most people are only “skim reading” this post anyway. So here is a crazy thought – next time you forget something, don’t automatically run to Google – try to remember what it is using the traditional method. Sure you might be frustrated trying to remember who sang that song, or who was in that movie. But it is a good practice for your brain and it will be much more satisfying when the answer comes to you. And in most cases it generally does!

So remember that technology – whilst a brilliant and amazing thing – is something we can easily become over dependant on.


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