Is Technology Making Us Stupid?

Now, I realise that it’s a bit of a leading question, especially as all of us in this industry rely so much on technology…

I have often wondered how much influence technology has on us, and whether that’s always for the best. So when I read this story on Silicon’s website, it got me thinking. I’ll summarise it for you: everyday the dabbawalas of Mumbai (India) – a largely illiterate, poorly paid, hard-working ‘army’ of men – pick up over 200,000 lunches from city workers’ houses and deliver them to their work places. They pick up the empty containers again after lunch and then take them back to the workers’ homes to start again the next day… all of that from memory!

That’s pretty amazing – especially when you find out that only one in 16 million of their deliveries goes missing. I cannot for the life of me think of any technology-driven process that would match this record.

I really am in awe of these people, but should that put in question what we do with technology in our working lives everyday? Well, I guess technology probably does make us lazy in certain areas.

I put the theory to the test yesterday – albeit in a small way. I disabled my spell checker and hid my calculator, and I am glad to report that I did survive, though I probably wasn’t quite as productive as I would have liked. Moral of the story, technology hasn’t made me stupid (well, at least not yet), but it does make me much more efficient.

My advice to you all who, like me, spend their entire day staring at a monitor, is to keep thinking and challenging what you do. If we use technology to go and do something more clever or more beautiful, then technology won’t make us stupid. If, on the other hand, we use technology instead of thinking, then we could be onto a loser…

I came across a little quirky story this morning that illustrates this quite well: "Hacked knitting machine can 'print' designs from Photoshop" - you can take a peak at it here.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Bertrand Russell: “…most people would die sooner than think — in fact they do so”.

 

1 Comments Isabelle Duarte

Posted by
Isabelle Duarte
Tue 9 Nov 2010: 12:37pm

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  • Rob:

    Interesting post. I often think similar thoughts.. I think our generation will be ok mostly because we have been able to see the computer come into our lives and we're able to relate to a time when we didnt rely so heavily on them. The interesting thing will be looking at the children of today and see how they will cope growing up in a world where the computer is their life and their life is in the computer (mainly). I think its important to teach that the computer should be used as a creative tool not as a easy way around everything?!..

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