Written by Lim Jin Jie:
Here is the link to the reference article: http://ideas.time.com/2012/03/06/the-surprising-big-idea-at-ted-turn-off-technology/
Since the advent of technology, many technological inventions have benefited human beings in one way or another; be it machinery, which has increased the efficiency of menial and mundane tasks, or computers, which have helped us in our everyday paperwork. Instead of these big machines, let us look at our small and helpful companion: the smartphone.
The smartphone is really not just an intelligent phone; it is so indispensable and pervasive in our lives. It has evolved into such a device that has proven extremely useful and convenient to us. At the touch of the finger, we find ourselves in the digital world, immersing ourselves in the latest news and updates from our friends. The smartphone allows us to communicate with our friends beyond the physical: Facebook and Twitter makes this all possible.
The smartphone is not as propitious as we deem it.
Human beings are born to communicate: we are sentient beings with the ability to use our vocal cords to create language. The fact that we are sentient beings means we are conscious, and our emotional core allows us to feel, to emote. By communicating with others, we learn how to communicate, and this improves human-to-human relationships. Now, add in the smartphone, and instead of improving relationships, relationships deteriorate, even at the same dining table. The introduction of the smartphone has prevented many from engaging in face-to-face conversations, and in between our faces are two screens, each blinking with light so bleak and dim: as is our future. Even in this year’s Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) Conference, many have rallied the audience to stop using their smart phones or tablets, just to listen to what they have to say.
Smart phones help us amplify our identities and relationships in the digital world, but if we are unable to disconnect from the digital world, our emotional core might alter us into senseless living beings, robbed of all emotions and senses. Humans are innately visceral beings. If smart phones are to convert us into emotionless pure-intellects, then the future would, sadly, be very dull and bleak.
However, many argue that we cannot just blame it all on the smartphone. Some argue that smart phones are an “enhancement” to their lives, and that the smartphone has benefitted us much more than it has harmed us. Some also feel that the human touch is still maintained even though there is the smartphone; in fact, it has even helped with communication because people can contact each other from ends of the world. As such, it is not smartphones, but mankind’s fault in allowing technology to harm our society.
As humans, we should be capable of pulling ourselves away from the smartphone or technology as we deem fit, so we will not be mindless slaves of the technological world.
The next time you notice yourself using an electronic device for a long time, take a break and go outside – the air outside is much, much fresher than that mechanical olfaction of your iPhone.