Blinding “Me” With Science – Tips For Preventing Human Obsolescence

Does it appear that our lives are being reduced to microchips of pure scientific theories of defining who we are and what our fate will be? Have we become overly mesmerized with the special effects of incredible technology in our Digital Era, as manual labor slowly disappears by eliminating the equation of human interaction, development and survival? Are we taking away the human need for purpose, creativity and positive labor that would make a substantial difference in life, as we know it now and for legacies to come?

Advanced technology gives us the ability to live better and the opportunity to get things done faster. On the flipside, how and when do you draw the line between accelerated technological progress and human handicap? For the sake of convenience, time and cost effectiveness, are we putting ourselves in jeopardy by totally deleting human interaction where it was always prevalent? In light of technological growth, have we diminished our self-worth by becoming completely dependent on these modern apparatuses, leaving our human value vulnerable to complacency? Nowadays, practically everything from mobile phones, calculators, televisions, cash registers, computers and personal digital assistants are programmed to replace prolonged thinking, processing, problem solving and decision-making. Just press a button and the computerized brain embedded in a hard drive computer chip does practically all of our technical and oftentimes human thinking.

Now, I am one to have my fair share of high-tech gadgets that truly afford me the freedom to explore greater dimensions of communication, research and organization. I love my “techno-toys” because they open a window of opportunity to learn so many new and exciting things! I applaud advance technology that promotes incredible medical discoveries to help save lives and assist those who are physically challenged to live a more rewarding life in diverse ways. I also applaud technology that helps to investigate evidence from crime scenes to solve cases and the myriad of ways to collect and process information faster, better and more efficiently. Modern technology is great, as long as we do not allow it to make us lazy and useless.

Here are a few tips to compare the effects of our dependency on advanced technology, while avoiding the downside of human obsolescence:

o Remote controls are great and convenient, but we cannot get all spastic when we are unable to find them. Sometimes, you may have to get up and manually turn on the TV, because the batteries may be dead in your device. But remember, your body’s battery isn’t dead yet! The exercise by walking the short distance from the chair to the TV just might be good for your heart and leg muscles.

o Although invented for its speediness and convenience, unless it is an emergency, I do not always use self-scanning checkouts. If the ratio leans more towards self-scanning usage than checkout clerks and cashiers, then we will slowly find that their jobs will become endangered.

o Use a dictionary or thesaurus more often in order to exercise your mind and increase your knowledge of word structure, grammar, definitions and simple communicative writing. Text messaging is fine occasionally, but we must be mindful to avoid becoming completely saturated in its continuous usage and allow it to flow over into our formal and business communications. When we find that our normal written communications contain too many acronyms coming from the universal text-messaging dictionary, then it is time to react and regroup!

o Calculators are wonderful and convenient, but try using mathematical equations to solve some basic math problems every now and then… manually and with human brainpower! Yes, if you have to use a pen and paper, or an abacus, then by all means use it. (i.e. addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).

o Use your mind or lose your mind! Brainpower can ward off mindset defects. Reading and motor skills have an incredible effect on exercising your mind. My personal discussions with many people found that certain things we acquired and learned during grade school several decades ago, are no longer taught, but were instrumental in our life’s survival skills toolkit. Do not discard past lessons of human ingenuity and endurance.

o Although I enjoy the convenience of my neighborhood supermarkets, I also make it a point to shop my local farmers markets, to support area farmers and ranchers. These occupations are projected to have one of the largest decreases in numerical employment. Since food is essential for our survival and there are growing concerns about how our food is fed and processed, you can interact one-on-one with local growers on the art of agriculture.

I love the integrated self-service gas stations and convenience stores. But sometimes, I would love to have someone else do the gas pumping for me when I pull up to a full-service gas station. I miss that nostalgia of days gone by when gas station attendants checked your tire pressure, pumped your gas, checked your oil and cleaned your windows. How I wish they were still around!

Investing into the future can be exhilarating, yet scary in the same sense, because of the unknown. However, as we embrace new technological phases of progress more fervently, scientifically and compassionately, we must be careful to avoid allowing our human value to depreciate. We welcome new ideas for saving money, while being efficient. We must ensure that modern technology helps, not hinders. We must work cohesively with advanced technology to ensure that we increase our human responsibilities, instead of disengaging our human capabilities.

Pungky Dwiasmoro Hiswardhani

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