Adrienne BoettingerFriday,8 March 2013

The Snap:

All of our smart devices—phones, tablets, appliances—are making us very, very stupid. We’re becoming a pack of morons—mentally and emotionally—and that’s just how the gadgets want it. That’s right: your smartphones and tablets are dumbing you down so that when the robots take over, not only will you be powerless to resist but you probably won’t even realize it’s happening. We can’t add, spell, use grammar correctly, remember history or know geography without looking at the devices permanently glued to our hands. But stay strong, dear readers. There are bands of plucky pilgrims pioneering doing things the old-fashioned way. Join them or fall prey to the coming robot revolution.

The Download:

Quick, tell me the capital of Uruguay without googling it. How many U.S. Senators are there? Multiply 12 with 11? Can you write a lower-case “z” in cursive? These are just some of the tidbits we’re losing as we continually rely on a variety of devices. I no longer drive places unless my bitchily superior GPS takes me there. When it comes time to figure out how much I owe the dog walker, I don’t do the calculations in my head. My mother is actually convinced there’s a little man in my phone who can answer all life’s questions (Typical voicemail from mom: “This is Adrienne’s mother. When you get this, ask that little man where I can get some nice hangers for your father’s pants. Also ask him how old Alex Trebek is.”)

So is the answer to eschew technology completely, move to the hills and learn to make your own soap? Maybe, but you might not need to go that far. I’ve often dreamed of becoming Amish but all my attempts—mainly by repeatedly going to a Dutch Country farmers’ market and looking demure in the direction of beardless young Amish men to curry their favor—have failed. As much as I’d love to churn some butter and have a conversation with someone who isn’t constantly looking at his phone, I have to admit I’d have a hard time giving up all my devices.

Find a balance: somewhere between having no interactions independent of technology and carving your “to do” list on a tablet of stone. You can try to limit the amount of time you depend on technology, get out some of your old math or geography flashcards (do they even make flashcards anymore?), write an actual letter, go for a hike without headphones, make a pie from scratch (and then invite me over to eat it), or whatever floats your boat. But take charge of your life in a way that doesn’t require you to charge your phone or tablet. You may find it’s actually fun to think.

p.s. Hopefully I haven’t angered my computer, the Internets or any other wonderful technology to the point where they’ll come for me first. I was just kidding. You guys are the greatest.

Hat Tips:

Market Watch, ABC News, PBS, New York Times, Image Credit: Flickr

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  1. […] more brain power than the cast of a reality show. Although I fear we’re close to bringing on the rise of the robots, there seems to be no way to stop the march to a more technologically glorious future where our […]

  2. […] to as near as much dirt as their farm-raised counterparts. As we’ve previously established, I’m mildly obsessed with the Amish; when it comes to allergens, I have good reason. Amish children tend to have lower rates of […]

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