Welcome to the digital age, where everyone is glued to their smartphones and computers.
In order adapt to the changing technologies, our mind needs to think fast. Our attention span has decreased. But has technology reshaped our mind in a negative way, limiting our capabilities?
We wake up every morning with the help of an alarm clock on our smartphones. The first thing we usually do after waking up is checking our emails and messages on our smartphone while going through our morning routine. After we’re done with our daily morning routine, we use various devices or gadgets to prepare breakfast. To leave for work after stepping out of the house, we use elevators or escalators at different places during the commute. From the time we wake till we go back to sleep again, there might not exist a single moment where no piece of technology is involved. Technology has become an integral part of our life, without which living in the present world is unimaginable. In the past, we have seen people reading books from hard copies while today many prefer reading from a smartphone or dedicated reading devices like the Kindle. There was a time when people used books for maintaining records. But, today almost all businesses are going through a digital transformation.
As the world is constantly evolving, technology has come a long way. From where technology began initially, it has evolved in innumerable ways and patterns. But the question still persists that “Has technology invaded our minds?” or “Has it reshaped our minds?” Now we may also think that do technology and the mind go hand in hand with changing times? Technology and the mind, how they affect each other Technology has significantly reshaped the way we live our lives. Due to this we have become habituated to technologies at some places and find it hard to function without it at times. Technology is reshaping our minds in some good ways as well as in some bad ways. Let’s explore both sides of technology’s impact.
PROS OF TECHNOLOGY FOR OUR MINDS
1. Changing Methods of Learning
Kids these days start using cell phones at a very young age. Basic methods of learning which used to work before and how we were taught don’t work as effectively today. The current generation needs much more interactive methods of learning since they are being brought up that way. Someone using a smartphone at the age of five cannot be taught with conventional methods which were used before. For them, these methods might seem very boring to them as they have directly jumped to something way more interesting and advanced.
2. Getting Better at Finding Information
Finding information about anything has become one of the easiest jobs one can do today. Search engines have improved a lot and with the development in technology, they succeed almost every time in finding the information needed.
3. Saving Time
Browsing is a hard task when you have to read or go through a lot of content. People, with time, have developed a new habit called power browsing. To save time, people go through the content quickly by just reading the headlines or by just going through some important key points. Basically one only goes through bullet points or information that stands out starkly. Power browsing helps save a lot of time and get a quick overview of stuff to find out if the information we are reading is relevant to what we need or not. One can then go through the details if necessary.
CONS OF TECHNOLOGY FOR OUR MINDS
1. Lack of Attention
With an improvement in technology and increasing workloads, not a single person performs one job at a time. We might be listening to music on our phone while using our laptop to do some work at the same time. Such habits may not be very productive since our attention gets divided among multiple tasks. One might not be able to focus properly and neither of the chores performed will be done with much quality.
Since the existence of mobile phones, people don’t need to remember phone numbers anymore. One might find it as an advantage but it can be one of the biggest disadvantages too. Usually, people don’t remember even important phone numbers and that takes a heavy toll on them when they are in an emergency and their phone stops working. Smartphones today provide a lot of extra features too which help a user to save short notes and much more. While options like these are convenient and people use it productively to create to-do lists, shopping lists, and notes, it has affected our memory to a great extent. People actually can’t remember even short lists containing 4-5 items due to the convenience being provided to them through technology.
3. Concentration Issues
Many people complain a lot about finding it hard to concentrate on a single task for a very long time. We are not able to concentrate or focus on reading something deeply. Such things usually happen because we are addicted to reading short, catchy headlines on social media. It has in a way impaired our ability to go through the content of an article in depth. We instead just go through anything we are reading once to spot if it has some interesting or catchy headline and we read it further only if we find those headlines interesting. Also reading books has become a boring task these days because we are unable to concentrate on it for such a long time. Many people drop them midway or take a very long time to complete them.
What will be your reaction if you are asked to live a day without internet or if you wake up in the morning and find out that your smartphone has stopped working for some reason? We have become so addicted to technology and we have become so dependent on it, it would be hard for us to even spend a single day without one. Being so excessively dependent on something is not good because it might leave you stranded in case of unavailability. Using technology for our own benefit is good but one should be capable enough to work without it, too.
5. Lack of Creativity
Due to improvement in technology, the Internet has become available 24/7. People search the internet for solutions to even the most basic problems. In short, people have stopped creating solutions. The Internet is a wonderful resource but has stalled the development of our mind in terms of creativity.
6. Inability to ‘Socially’ Interact with People
People are using social media a lot these days. Physical interaction has become rare and people interact on various social media platforms where they can easily fake themselves to be what they actually aren’t. Due to this, people never learn how to interact with someone in person which is a major reason why people mess up things when they are conversing with someone face-to-face instead of on social media. Social media has had a huge impact on relationships as a large number of people have been using it to create connections with other like-minded people. Apart from social media, people are also interacting with chatbots a lot. Chatbots have become a major application these days in a lot of places. The reason why chatbots have been so successful these days is the inclination of people towards chatting instead of speaking with a real person. The more experience chatbots gain, the more they become emotionally intelligent. So if we compare humans and chatbots, who’s getting better at building relationships?
Technology is affecting our minds in a lot of ways. While technology has made a lot of things convenient to us, it is upon us to use them in a good way or bad way. Smartphones have had the biggest impact on us as they are affecting us in a lot of ways and we are getting addicted to them. They are the first thing we pick in the morning and the last thing we put down at night. Although they have their own benefits, anything in excess is never good.
Technology and the mind both are reshaping each other simultaneously. But, it is up to us to allow technology to only enrich our minds and not impoverish it through overdependence. Cliched as it may sound, we should always control technology and not let technology control us.