Dumb, gullible, and dependent (read helpless) are some of the adjectives that come to my mind when I wish to describe the present-day consumer of technology
Imagine someone opened your smartphone by forcing your finger on its biometric sensor, while you were sleeping or unconscious due to some reason. You might say, so what? Well, if it wasn’t that important why did you use the finger-print lock, in the first place?
I recently read this novel where a scientist at CERN (one of Europe’s most prestigious nuclear physics research organisation) gets killed because his Iris could open a secure vault. At the risk of sounding ‘Amish’ I’d like to say that I’m a fan of technology but all these movies and then Ultron trying to rip apart that island scare me (remember Westworld?). But I try not to let it go to my head. The point I am trying to make here is that some smart people are plotting against the masses out there (the not-so-smart ones, so to say) and putting a lot of their mental faculties into disuse. In other words, while technology is getting smarter, its users are becoming dumber. ‘Dumb’ (in the sense of being gullible and over-dependent on others’ intelligence) is the one adjective that comes to my mind when I wish to describe the present-day consumer of technology.
How many of us remember the mobile number of, say, our best friend? Or, our parents’, for that matter? There was a time when I was growing up, and we used to memorise stuff that was important. Nothing important was left to be stored somewhere else. Imagine stuck in a situation where you cannot access your phone but need to reach out to your parents. What will you do? That phonebook is not going to do you any good then. Had you committed some important numbers to your memory, you could bring them into use.
I experienced a similar situation recently, when I had to reset passwords to my email, internet banking, Facebook and Instagram constantly for almost a week, because I would simply forget these.
Email is actually important. It’s a part of our identity now. You forget a password, let them send a link to your phone/ email and you are back to life. What if you were trying to access something a bit more important and critical but forgot the password and it’s one of those days in Lahore when the mobile signals are down? Think about it!
We are putting way too much in the hands of technology and creating this sort of a short-term amnesia -- or, perhaps, stunted memory -- where we are committing nothing to memory and leaving our brains to ingest information like the Kardashians.
We are creating way too much clutter everywhere as well. Look at your gallery -- WhatsApp makes you download images and, before you know it, the memory of your phone is full.
I would like to end on the note that technology is a bliss but don’t let it clutter your life or let it forget some important facts of your life. Start using your brain (and if you were earlier, please resume), and avoid shortcuts. Don’t let that internet browser trick you into remembering your passwords for you; do something yourself for once.