If you spend time reading our blog at Fermented Pixels, you’ll know that we believe that technology helps your business in ways we aren’t beginning to fathom.
We graduated from voyagers, crusaders, and sailors skirting through open blue oceans in search of new lands or from camelback trading for spices to borderless economies where a Russian UX/UI specialist could be working with a digital agency in downtown NYC without batting an eyelid (or without losing sleep either).
We wrote about how technology paves new ways for us to consume content and to create content. You’ve already read about how we are sitting right in the vortex of the new age of entrepreneurship.
Technology is radically changing how we live, interact, communicate, work, travel, learn, and do business.
We predicted how Artificial Intelligence will compete for your job description, whether or not robotics will completely dominate manufacturing, or if drones can do better than delivery folks.
It wouldn’t do us justice if we just harped on and on about how marvelous technology can be for all us.
Every rose has its thorn.
The rise of tech, new opportunities in business, and the ever-changing relationship between us and the technology we use isn’t all just song and dance.
There are some serious issues with technology, though.
Smartphones could be making us stupid.
By now, you probably already lost sense of directions (which used to come naturally to us) all thanks to Google (or Apple) maps.
You don’t dust off old cover backs nor do you rarely smell the good old rusty old pages of a classic paperback.
Our brains are at the risk of being asleep way too much.
We don’t put our creative faculties to work nor do we sit and think about problem-solving maniacs as we once used to.
We don’t enjoy quality relationships as much as we used to.
We don’t look into people’s eyes.
The act sharing our opinions in public have morphed from lively, in-person, walk-in-the-park debates to anonymous entries in an online forum.
The natural need to share among us is now reduced Instagram updates. We only show up in Facebook updates (and that’s also how we connect with loved ones).
Some of us are fine with shooting a talking-head video for Youtube but we barely made any progress on the art of public speaking, did we?
On top of all of that, we are happy crashing-and-burning our planet’s resources giving way to our own version of the Apocalypse instead of the foretold enigmatic raging war between angels and demons.
Not everything is good for us when it comes to technology. As such, we need to regulate our dependence on technology. While it’s okay to make good use of your handheld supercomputer-like smartphone, we need to back off a bit.
What’s so bad about technology? Here’s what:
Technology is anti-nature
Naturally, we were meant to walk the earth, hunt for existence, and make good of our unique ability to communicate. Humans have the power of cognitive thought, intuition, feelings, perceptions, and so much more.
We relied on our senses to feed us with information. We depended on our motor brains for everyday survival. Our instincts, gut feelings, and the remarkable ability of our brain to process information was central to our lives.
On a computer screen or on the portrait view of your smartphone or while you lift your wrist up to peek at your smart watch, all of what makes us humans unique is gone in a flash.
We don’t feel. No instincts are out at play. We don’t connect (unless someone pings on Facebook or Tweets at you on Twitter — which isn’t what we are talking about). We don’t let our brains process anything (apart from onslaught of fake news and other trash).
As you use technology, barely any of our senses are engaged as well as they should. We don’t act instinctively at all.
There’s no fight or flight. There are no big, dangerous bears anymore.
Our perceptions now falter. We can’t make sense of what’s true and what’s false. We lost the connect.
We are no longer truly living the way we really should.
If you think about it this way. Technology, in a twisted way, is taking you away from the nature you belong to.
Officially, you are now dumber
Got a smartphone? You are now officially dumber than how cognitive and smart you could have been several years ago.
In the year 2010, Nicholas Carr — former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, wrote an influential book called The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains. In the book, he writes about how he realized that he couldn’t focus and he pointed to significant neuroscientific evidence that the internet was turning us in “scattered and superficial thinkers.”
He specifically wrote:
“Over the last few years, I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory.”
At the University of Arkansas at Monticello, it was found that students who didn’t bring their phones to class scored a full letter higher than students who brought their phones, even though the latter students didn’t use their phones.
A Journal of Experimental Psychology study in 2015 found that about 166 subjects found focus immediately wavered when phones beeped or buzzed.
Tim Askew, CEO of Corporate Rain International, believes that we now see a threat that everything you were supposed to do naturally — such as to store information or to memorize stuff.
“We no longer are laying a fecund bed for our thinking and our creative process to flourish in”
Just by carrying those smartphones you won’t think hard enough, you won’t engage your brain to its maximum potential, you’ll risk losing flair for creative thought, and so much more.
Relationships, lost in a sea of nothingness
Eric Pickersgill’s project “Removed” is a sombre reminder of just how far we’ve walked away from the functional nature of creating and nurturing our relationships.
Take a look at one of Eric’s photographs were photoshopped away the smartphones from people’s hands to show you how it really looks like from outside in:
Two kids, parents. The family seated at a table. Instead of having “family time” together, everyone is lost in their own world of meaningless nothingness.
No one has anything to share. No talk. No laughter.
There seems to be looming loneliness despite being together. Lonely despite being with people you love?
Only today’s over-dependence on technology can do this to us.
Brain damage, from children to adults
Each hour spent on screens creates brain damage so severe that this is an especially vulnerable situation for little children below the age of 3.
We are absolutely sure that adults are affected as well.
Did you know that:
- In the United Kingdom, National Institute of Clinical Excellence recommends screen time of more than 2 hours for children of any age.
- In the United States, children under 2 or 3 years of age should not have any exposure to screens at all — phones, tablets, or television.
- In France, it’s illegal to market television shows to anyone under 3-years old.
- In Taiwan, Parents have a legal obligation to monitor children’s’ screen time.
Why all the fuss over screen time and kids below the ages of 3? A landmark study found that children lose memory, focus, language skills, and attention span if they spend more than 2 hours per day gazing at any kind of an electronic screen.
The landmark study focused on 4,500 kids for its findings. Since we are not aware of a similar study for adults yet, we can safely assume that it affects us adults as well.
Technology plays havoc with adults too. Did you know just how much damage just staring at your phone before you sleep can cause?
According to Dr. Dan Siegel — clinical professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine — notes that staring at the screen before you sleep releases a string of photons in your brain giving off signals that you want to stay awake (despite the fact that you should sleep). This allows you to continue to stress out, disallows any rest to your brain or your body, eats up your sleep patterns, and more.
None of this is to say that you should dump your phone in the next trash can. It’s not to say that you shouldn’t surf the web, read online, catch up with your books on Kindle, or to stay in touch with your friends on Facebook.
These are good times we live in, but we believe we shouldn’t bring the house down with our obsessive addiction.
We have information at our fingertips, but it’d be awesome if you match that information with intellect, natural cognitive capabilities, and our infinite capacity to innovate and think on our own feet.
You can use solid content strategy for growing your business, but you can do your bit to add quality to the mix and avoid dumping trash into the world wide web.
Social media is for you to connect with others, just that it’s not limited to rally with the “mobs”
Technology is the catalyst for the advancement of humanity and enterprise. It’s our way of making our own lives better. Over the years, it has helped us as people, shaped the way we live, and allowed us a magnificent life that we live now.
But we need to come to terms with our proclivity to get addicted to devices, to consume content non-stop, and to engage with the apps we enjoy.
As a society — and for us as individuals — a nuanced and self-regulated approach to technology is much-needed given the risks and the downsides of the same technology that can empower us.
We need to constantly ask ourselves if our tech aligns with our ethics and morals.
It’s clear that all of this is a grey area, open for debate, and it leaves everyone in charge of their own usage and habits.
Industry & governments can only help so much.
Regardless, we can all help ourselves. We have ourselves to answer to.
Technology is much like a double-edged sword. Use it; just don’t enslave yourself to it.