I remember being deeply suspicious of all the personal computers and technology as it became more prevalent in our society. A library media specialist once called me a “Luddite” due to my hesitancy and reluctance to climb aboard the technology train. Over time I began to see the usefulness of word processing, making templates on the computer, saving to floppy disc, then to servers and thumb drives. When the internet caught on, I spent many sleepless nights in chat rooms , meeting new people from around the world, going through wormholes to new web portals, forgetting to eat or burning food in the oven. At that time you had to be connected through your phone line. People had a great deal of difficulty getting a hold of me. Then cell phones, Ipads, Smartphones allowed us to be “connected” online and on the phone at the same time thanks to wireless networks. Facebook, Twitter, snapchat, ereaders, on and on all supposedly making us more informed more connected.
As I look at what has occurred over our recent Presidential election and all the instant information, 3 second videos, satellite television, Newsfeeds, I can’t help but worry that we have reached the Apex of our understanding and are now beginning the downward slide back toward the stone age. How can a free society thrive when all information is given equal weight? Fake news is seen as real news, there is no filter, the democratization of information has buried us with snippets, soundbites and half-truths. We are rich in information but not in wisdom.
Is human existence and evolution really dependent on technology? Is our new way of communicating only through screens, emails, text messages, news feeds. The vast majority of American don’t even watch news on television anymore. They are getting most of their information from Facebook or some other quick, shallow source. Gwen Ifill from PBS NewsHour passed away two days ago, I am sure most people had no idea who she was. Is in-depth reporting dying along with her? Will the lack of depth lead to a new kind of stone age where we only see what’s around us, in our own little clan, or bubbled off world?
After the election, I thought it best to put down my phone, spend more time talking to other humans, reduce my data plan, delete some favorite games from my phone, look up every once in a while and have a conversation.