Humanity is addicted to something as bad as nearly all of known drugs combined. This substance that people say they need comes in many forms, but it ultimately does the same thing. The problem has become so bad that “the National Transportation Safety Board called for a ban of all usage while driving” (Farman). We can’t get enough, and when we don’t have the substance anymore, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. The pain of having to face the world without this substance is intolerable and, for most, impossible. The Atlantic Magazine points out that with the substance, humanity is still falling into fountains, ignoring their children, falling down stairs, and even sitting in seats already occupied by other people because of this substance addiction (Farman). Individuals act in this crazy way because this substance keeps the minds of individuals in a virtual world. This world is located in our phones, our laptops, our televisions, digital games, and even school smart boards. Humanity is now addicted to modern technology because it fills up most of an individual’s day, prohibiting social interactions.
In order to show that humanity is addicted to technology, students had to keep a 48-hour log of their own technology usage that included a detailed listing about how students used their technology. The results for this self-evaluation may not have been as drastic as some of the results from peers, although it was surprising to see how often one can be tempted to pick up a cell phone, watch the television, and use a computer or laptop for homework.
Personal logs of technology usage are truly baffling, but not in a common way. Keeping personal logs allows the recorder to fully understand how technology dictates an individual’s life. If one were to add up the minutes of the personal log used for the study of this report, it is astonishing how much technology is used in a public high school alone. In every class, a teacher uses a smart board to teach his or her class. That means over the course of a school day, a student is in front of a screen at most seven times in a day, in 50 minute increments, for a total of nearly 6 full hours in front of a screen. Outside of school, teenagers who don’t play sports do not spend as much time outside and may spend even more time in front of a screen at home. From a television to a smartphone to a laptop, a studious individual can spend an additional eight hours after school in front of a screen. If individuals find themselves going to bed after an exhausting day of school, that individual could have spent up to 14 waking hours using technology (speaking from experience).
With 14 out of 24 hours lost to screens, the amount of technology humanity uses in a day far exceeds a heathy amount. This may lead to the idea that individuals “are all actually cyborgs” because of modern technology (Case). Another way to put this is that the human phone is practically part of the human being. TED presenter Amber Case tells us that the “traditional definition [of a cyborg] is ‘An organism to which exogenous components have been added for the purpose of adapting to new environments.’ This came from a 1960 paper on space travel…”. No human goes anywhere without their phone, which leads to the fact that humans “end up checking [their] phones all the time” (Case). Many of us are guilty of this.
One must realize that an individual can lose valuable time with such an extended use of technology. It also makes one consider how much of a human’s life span is wasted on things such as technology. The facts listed above are unnerving; it is appalling to see how generation X has become so accustomed to the digital world. Such usage prevents improper development of the human brain with respect to being social in the real world. Individuals read instead of listen and write instead of communicating verbally. Another way technology is a pitfall to society is that humanity has knowledge at the tips of their fingers, causing individuals to have ‘lazy’ minds. Ms. Case made the analogy that, “we are all carrying around little Mary Poppins technology. We can put anything we want into it, and it doesn’t get heavier, and then we can take anything out” (Case). With tools like this, it is no wonder humanity seems to be lazy.
If minds have become lazier, if conversations are now digital, what else is no longer part of the real world? Sherry Turkle shares with us that “getting that text [from my daughter] was like getting a hug” (Turkle). She also refers to what she likes to call the Goldilocks effect, where technology brings people not too close, but still connects them in just the right amount. There is a “meaningful presence that comes with face-to-face interactions” , except that such interactions no longer exist in reality (Farman). If people are distancing themselves through technology, then society is no longer social. Technology brings an illusion of togetherness, but humanity is actually quite lonely. The problem with this is that, “being connected is going to make us feel less alone… If we’re not able to be alone, we’re going to be more lonely” (Turkle). Technology has put humanity in a vicious cycle of loneliness, where the only escape is to get rid of excess technology. Even in Monica Guzman’s article, she quotes @aporetics saying “Deep down, you know your phone is the only person who really understands you” (Guzman). Such usage of technology has made many consider a technology Sabbath.
Students also had to conduct a 24 hour Sabbath on themselves of all the technology they used most in their day. This means that an individual would “take a break” and experience a day or two of life without whatever they deem as “controlling their life”. In this case, the self-conducted Sabbath for this report was a Sabbath of all technology. All clocks, radios, phones, and even lights in the house were not to be used. Clocks in the household were covered with black cloth. All remotes, phones, and computers were put into a locked chest in the basement. All lights could be opened and closed, but not by the person conducting the Sabbath.
For this report, the conducti of the personal Sabbath had to track every instance of technology usage during the Sabbath. In this case, the only time the Sabbath was broken was for a personal call to a friend for necessary information. Although it was tempting to break the Sabbath, it was mostly avoided. Emotions during the Sabbath ranged from happiness to be free of technology, annoyance due to lack of communication amongst friends, and multiple episodes of boredom. It was amazing to see how tempted one can be to fill an empty minute with a quick glance at social media. This urge to view status and understand what is going on in the world just goes to show how humanity is truly addicted to technology. It has become almost an instinct to occupy every minute of an individual’s life with something.
Humanity has an unhealthy relationship with the addictiveness of technology. For all of the good things technology might do for individuals, it also destroys them. Technology prevents humanity from interacting in the real world, ignoring that this real world interaction is beneficial to human health. Technology makes humanity forget how to be human and it makes society incapable of socializing, no matter what illusions technology has to offer. Humanity is addicted to technology, and the addiction may just be the end of humanity as we know it.
Case, Amber. We Are All Cyborgs Now. TED, Dec. 2010, http://www.ted.com/talks/amber_case_we_are_all_cyborgs_now?language=en.
Farman, Jason. “The Myth of the Disconnected Life.” TheAtlantic, TheAtlanticMonthlyGroup, 7 Feb. 2012, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/the-myth-of-the-disconnected-life/252672/.
Guzman, Monica. “Dissecting Disconnection: Why I’m Taking the Week Off.” SeattleTimes, 3 Aug. 2013, http://blogs.seattletimes.com/monica-guzman/2013/08/03/dissecting-disconnection-why-im-taking-the-week-off-tech/.
Turkel, Sherry. Connected, But Alone? TED, Feb. 2012, https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together?language=en.