November 10, 2013

Negative aspects to Internet technology

In this column, I play the role of curmudgeon, grousing about certain aspects of the Internet but, like many other irascible critics, offering no solutions.

Across from my Sept. 8, column was an Associated Press story, “Samsung unveils new Smartwatch,” and I’m beginning to notice TV commercials for it.

One of the main purposes of the Smartwatch seems to be to alert the user to incoming messages on their smartphone. I had read about this new tech marvel earlier, but this particular article got me thinking about the need for such a device costing $300.

Does the world really need a device to tell them to go to another device to read a message from another human being?

Do we need a smartwatch to connect to our smartphone, which we can use to program our TV just so we can mitigate our boredom?

How about this as an alternative: Send a check for 300 bucks to Doctors Without Borders and either wait until you see your friend to talk with them or, if you’re not that patient, wait until you get out of the meeting to consult your missed calls.

Franz Kafka has said that most of our problems stem from laziness and impatience, and perhaps Karl Marx got one thing right when he claimed, “The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”

We seem to have forgotten that the root of the term “technology” is from the Greek “techne,” which translates roughly to “craftsmanship,” and because craft is usually the practical application of an art, it is much to be admired.

Certainly Samsung is crafty, but that’s a whole ‘nother use of the word.

It’s a reasonable premise to argue that the Internet has had a more powerful effect on global societies than any other single technology. And it’s even more reasonable to claim that it’s been particularly effective on our youth.

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