Dependence on Technology: Are Humans the New Handicap Dummies?

In some instances, I’m grateful for the technology we have. Technology is great for simplifying processes and creating systems as answers to problems. But I started thinking; when it takes humans out the equation, we have a problem.

Technological Dependency: Food Journaling Hack

*Listen to the audio version of this blog while reading for a complete experience!

A dependence on technology is not initially bad. When keeping a food journal, the dependence on technology solved a problem. It has been hard for me in the past to be consistent with keeping one.

I would start lasting for one week. Having to constantly write every specific detail of what went into my mouth, even if it was just a piece of candy, irritated me nutty.

The second issue was not having a visual of daily recordings; it was difficult for me to visualize accurately what the food looked like and how it was prepared.
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Then the idea of snapping a picture on my phone presented itself. This relieved me of textual constraints, but I quickly realize that the more pics I kept on my phone, the more storage it took up. I knew in the back of my mind that pictures would be a key factor in recording consumption.

Long story short, I was blessed with an idea of how to refine the process. I would take pictures, add them to my iPhone note app, and upload it to my email. For an exact step by step set up, visit the post I wrote for it here.

Times like this you take a step back to smell the roses. Food journaling was cumbersome in the beginning but with Apple upgrading their Notes app adding more features and the ability to add images, journaling became effortless. But did I allow this simplification to steal a learning opportunity from me?

Calculating Away Life’s Problems Explained Through a Calculator

While we are subtracting on a calculator, we are subtracting more and more from our mathematical capabilities.

As technology progresses to do more and more things for us, I can’t help but ask the question, “Then what do we need humans for?” I think it’s a legitimate proposal.

Consider a calculator. Though a great invention rectifying adding and subtracting in time sensitive situations, ease of problem solving, and quick response, the device carried a symptom: it did all the work for us.

When we challenge our brains placing them in a high stress situations, some, if not all, grow. If we press on and succeed through the mental stress, the growth is phenomenal. In an article titled, The Positive Effects of Stress, the author writes, “Incredible though it may sound, stress is actually a cognitive enhancer which can boost several aspects of our mental prowess and so help us in professional and academic capacities.”

Using mathematics as an example, manually (using our own brains) calculating numbers and solving numerical word problems naturally places our thinking in a stressful mental environment. Thus why reputably Americans avoid numbers like the plague. And if you have no plans on entering a field in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), then moderated use of a calculator would be expected.

However, math is not completely eliminated from our lives. What about the geometry needed when it comes to measurements in cooking, building, simple household assignments? What do you do when a device is not around? Have you unknowingly diminished your belief in yourself to perform, self-talking yourself into stupidity because you’ve allowed a dependence of external factors to cheat your confidence?

While we are subtracting on a calculator, we are subtracting more and more from our mathematical capabilities. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying to never use a calculator. It is convenient in specific circumstances, but giving it too much power to solve all our math problems is a metaphor for how we give general technology supreme authority to dictate our lives.

As a teacher, I see students today who struggle with math severely and our handicap if left with their all grains. I know a Calculator can’t do all the work for you as we still need to understand definitions, syntax, which equation is to use when, etc.

The dependence on technology is slowly defining our existence: are we necessary or becoming unnecessary? It truly reflects the direction we are heading.

Paradigm Shifts I Wish Were Only in Final Fantasy XIII

I noticed a paradigm shift in thinking–it’s no longer enough to truly understand how something works to develop your own internal problem solving capabilities. No. that takes too long.

It’s trendy to ask, “How can I solve this problem as quickly as possible? Which tool/resource can I use to solve this issue for me?” Don’t reinvent the wheel we all say, but what if the wheel required analysis, examination, and re-configuration to build a new one?

“In all thy getting, get an understanding. Understanding is crucially critical when learning. It is not enough to solve problems without knowing the ‘why’ behind the ‘how.’ Understanding is a precious thing; it is the key to truly unlocking a skill or our ability to do a thing. Understanding shifts thinking, moves societies, and can dramatically guide someone’s direction.

I am a web designer and developer. Just last year I started using WordPress. Before, I was hand coding my from scratch. I made the switch because using WordPress solved several issues:

  • the speed at which I did websites
  • clients having a channel to maintain and manage their own content

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I disappointingly admit that hand coding can be a very slow process; yet I don’t regret the handson experience one bit. Building projects and products from scratch helped me to understand the core of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I understand what language conventions are, how to accurately style in CSS, and properly read–write functions and variables in JS.

The prior experience has enhanced my WordPress customizing as I can’t take a theme and make it more malleable. I’m not limited to the basic settings of WordPress or the restrictive features set by theme creators; who upsell additional theme features like plugin panhandlers.

Letter to the Masses in a Mess

Dear people,

Don’t allow technology to steal your ability to think. We have to fight to discover the joy in mental challenges, exercises, etc. When we avoid them, or say, “this is too boring, ” we miss growth opportunities.

It is said that technology is here to make our lives easier. I don’t disagree with this statement, but I do think some people have allowed it to make them believe that it’s okay to stop thinking and being innovative. There is a responsibility to using it; those who understand that tech will eliminate some things so you can focus on what’s more important will continue to win. Those who accepted a belief that it’s here to replace us will crumble under their own manufactured fear.

I leverage social technology, for example, like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube for promotional purposes. If I start allowing it to be my means for real social interaction, ignoring my ability to physically communicate with other human beings, then that is me being irresponsible. I am deliberately (if not purposely as many people now are self-proclaimed introverts and proud of it) squandering my own social development.

Creative entrepreneur Roberto Blake in his video How to Make Money: Focus on Revenue Generating Activities, he says, “Anything that does not require a human touch, should be handled by robots.” Use technology to take care of all the minial task so you can focus on what you’re meant to do. But leverage it to leverage the lives of others, not leave them out of work.

It’s a code world out…don’t get left in the cold living in it.

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