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Is Technology making people stupid?

By The Admiral ·
From my Blog:

The question just raced across my desk that got me thinking. The question was: Is technology making us stupid.

I had to go back to my cave and seriously go over all of the past 10 years and in retrospect, the conclusion that I drew was that technology makes it easy for us to use, but I get really miffed when someone can not give me change for $2.00 for a $1.02 item without bringing out the calculator.

I have been told that I hate technology, and that is essentially correct. I can not stand technology that is used not as a tool, since reflecting back to James Doohan on Star Trek who used technology to fix problems, but to use it to be an integral part of their life. Such as a cell phone that keeps numbers, appointments, and the like rather than being able to keep track of the information in their head, they keep it on a phone.

I have a Windows 98 CD key stuck in my head and all of the phone numbers (except the outlaws) in my mind, and I use technology exclusively.

The reason I do remember all of that information is because technology is like a mean girlfriend or ex-friend who you call when you have a flat ? they abandon you with no other recourse than to hike 10 miles to the latest gas station. It breaks, and you are stuck basically in neutral.

To add to the insult is that people will spend nearly $49 Billion dollars on memory items this year, just to store birthdays, anniversaries, and simple days. One of the favorite sayings that I have comes right from Edward Tennor, a senior research associate with the national Museum of American History and author of ?Why things bite back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences,? says: ?The risk of computerization is that people can have an illusion of really being smarter than they are.?

So is technology making us Dumb? Continuing what Edward Tennor continues that some believe that society can not make people of the statute of Thomas Edison, in that they believe that Edison and other inventors of the past developed their genius by building their memories and that with technology, ours are becoming flabbier.

I have personally seen people who write the user manuals for items such as the iPod and other convenience technologies contact support because they do not know how to turn them on or use the volume buttons. At one point in time it is because I thought that just because they are writing the manual and making sure the grammar, spelling, and placement of the chapters were correct, that it was not necessary for the writers to understand it. But then I asked a question to one of the writers that has pretty simple to answer: ?Where is the product you are writing about??

The answer I got was a bit disturbing. ?What does having the product in hand have to do with writing about it??

So, then again, perhaps there is a reason why highly skilled people do not read the manual. The moral of the story is that perhaps technology has made us dumb and dumb and infiltrated to the point that we make dumb decisions, and we write blind about the products that we have to support.

Have we become so dumb that we can not count or remember when our children were born? It would seem to me that the day my child was born was the best day of my life on January 14, My wife is happy that I remember her anniversary on April 6, and my mother is thrilled when I remember her birthday on September 14th. I did that all without cutting and pasting, and I don?t have any kind of calendaring programs.

I put an engine in my truck with an engine hoist in a week, drink beer, and have three PC?s on my desk. None of them, not a one, does a function that my brain can not. I refuse to allow it to get that far. After all, if everyone trusted computers as far as they could throw them, I would be a rich man, as well as every other tekie.

Are we heading toward a society where stupidity can not be created or destroyed?

I got a response from this in my blog that highlights the technology/society response, but want everyones opinion.

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