Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Searching for Satellites

            A conversation at work the other day turned into a fit of exasperation by one guy.  He was completely perplexed by not only the overall work ethic and attitude of today's workforce but the utter dependence on technology.  The most notably enslaving piece of modern electronics being the GPS.  Today most truckers can not move without a little screen telling them which way to turn or a power outlet in their dashboard to plug the device into. Now I am a truck driver by profession, and have been for nearly 20 years, and had found it a source of pride to know where I am going.  I could get anyone or anything from Point A to Point B in a timely manner and had a stockpile of road maps for the entire East Coast just in case.  This exasperated guy was my senior by a decade and had those 10 years' worth of experience to show.  He could not even begin to comprehend the need for a little TV on the dashboard to tell a person where to go, or with this modern marvel how a person could still get lost.  Which leads to my quandary.
            Have we, as a community, as a society, grown so reliant on computers and technology that simply driving down the road needs to be computer assisted?  Some new cars even park for us.  The manual transmission is a museum relic made only for "true enthusiasts" and even then a computer stills helps with the shifting.  The phone is dead, replaced by mini-computers that dial for us and turn our speech into mis-spelled words.  From what I see in print (newspapers, magazines, etc.), e-mails, or any other correspondence, spelling has become an afterthought, proofreading be damned.  We have grown too lazy to even use "spell check", simply forwarding along the butchered note.  Texting has shortened every word in our language.  "Ok" needed to be abbreviated to "k" because the extra letter may cause a complete system crash and the nano-second spent reaching for the "o" would have cost precious time.
            We robotically hand our children these phones, allowing them to circumvent education and transition into a population that no longer knows full length words.  Some schools have gone so far as eliminating script from the curriculum.  Our children are returning to history and signing their names with an "X".  They communicate in half-words and symbols.  Communication has become a modern day cave painting art form.  People can no longer have or need the ability to interact physically, in-person.  Most merely hide behind the keyboard, mouse, or touch screen.  Even the most primal of instincts has been altered by tiny cameras.  Sex is no longer an act of intimacy but a public performance sent to everyone through the touch of a button.
            Technology is increasingly moving us closer to our roots.  Soon, the younger generations will speak in clicks and grunts, print their letters, and make their marks "x".  They will mindlessly move about the world following the directions of a voice in the dashboard, never truly seeing where they are going.  They will be lost when the battery dies, the electric goes out, the satellites are lost, or the system needs to re-boot.  We are embedding in our children a dependency, a weakness.  The future will be confusion when those fateful words come blaring,  "Recalculating......recalculating."

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