I love this article written by WILLIAM H. DAVIDOW:
Virtual Reality Is Addictive and Unhealthy
As a technologist and fan of augmented reality, I first noticed Davidnow’s stance toward people constantly staring at their smartphones and listening to their iPods.
…I see people walking down the street, eyes fixed on the screens of their mobile phones, ears plugged into their iPods, oblivious to their surroundings…to reality itself.
Davidnow makes a good argument that tools are making the rules to the point that our tools are now managing us. He gives some solid examples to argue his point, such as the role “tools” played in facilitating the 2008 economic crisis and the liquidation of Borders bookstores.
He talks about the rapid evolution of tools compared to the evolution of human society and makes a statement that I agree and disagree with:
I now believe that our minds, bodies, businesses, governments, and social institutions are no longer capable of coping with the rapid rate of change. And it is obvious that this change is indeed more rapid than any comparable change that came before.
Currently working under the umbrella of a local government entity, I see examples everyday of our struggles to keep up with change. As I posted before, however, I believe we are still capable, even jittery, to inject more technology into our lives. We are addicts!
By the end of the article, I had already come to the same conclusion that Davidnow iterates: “…take control of your tools.”
How do I reconcile with my addiction to technology? First, I loath staring down at the screen of my phone. The tools must be designed around our lives, not such that we are required to mold our lives after the tools capabilities to adopt or use. I think that as the technology becomes more ubiquitous with reality, the tools must be designed to by non-pervasive. Opaque, side-notes that are easy to obliterate at will on a second’s notice to allow us to focus only on our reality.
Second, who’s to say that virtual information is not an important part of reality. Just because my eyes and ears cannot receive certain kinds of “real” input directly from my limited senses does not make that information any less important to my here-and-now. The information must be real-time and relevant, not distracting.
And last, have the discipline to use technology tools responsibly. Learn to recognize what is and is not appropriate for your given situation and act accordingly. Do not lose control of your divinely designed senses. Start by following Davidnow’s good advice:
I have shut off most alerts and reminders on my computer and smartphone. I check for e-mail on my own schedule, just a few times a day. At home, I have built a physical wall around the virtual world. I let myself read news on my iPad anywhere in my home, but I answer e-mails and conduct business only in my office. I heed Staudenmaier’s advice and never end important conversations by glancing at my smartphone. My iPhone is never present when I am out with my wife, listening to the challenges my kids are facing, or playing and laughing with my grandchildren.
And then, when the time is appropriate, put on the Google Glasses!