Is Trusting Technology Trumping Our Natural Instincts?

Is There a Problem Trusting Technology?

Whatever happened to spontaneity? Do you remember when you used to wake up and say, “What do I want to do today?” Nowadays we wake up and look to our phone to dictate our day. We check the weather app to see what to wear and check our email to tell us what to do.

According to designer James Victore, “We have become so trusting of technology that we have lost faith in ourselves and our born instincts. There are still parts of life that we do not need to “better” with technology. It’s important to understand that you are still smarter than your smartphone.”

Reading this article really stuck out to me because I’m ashamed to tell you how many apps I check before even getting out of bed. My smartphone is the first thing I check when I wake up and the last thing I check before I go to sleep. My phone isn’t even on my nightstand; it’s in bed with me every night. There have been plenty of times where I have second guessed my own judgment based on something I saw on my smartphone. Have you ever been lost and still followed your GPS even though your first instinct is to go the opposite direction from where it’s leading you? As a society have we become so dependent on technology that instead of pulling up a map and figuring out something ourselves we trust a computer over our own common sense.

The author goes on to point out that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your Google. Mistakes are a part of life and often the path to profound new insights. Think about it… how many awesome places are left undiscovered just because you are so used to following your GPS? When navigating to a destination, a computer can’t take into account extraneous factors such as a hungry child or a change in the group’s vibe.

To “know thyself” is hard work. Harder still is to believe that you, with all your flaws are enough, without checking in, tweeting an update, or sharing a photo as proof of your existence for the approval of your 719 followers. A healthy relationship with technology is taking ownership of your time and making an investment in your life.

So do you think you’re smarter than a smartphone? Or are you letting your device dictate your daily life?

-Britney

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15 thoughts on “Is Trusting Technology Trumping Our Natural Instincts?

  1. Although I would like to say I am smarter than my smartphone, and not dependent on it for everything it wouldn’t be the truth. Our society as a whole has become extremely dependent on technology especially smartphones. Just as you stated in most cases where common sense should trump technology, I’m sure most would agree technology will win. What this means for future I can’t say, but I’m interested in finding out! Great Post

    • Hi Kenny,

      Thanks for your comment. I have to say that I’m dependent on technology too especially my smartphone. I don’t trust my instincts sometimes but look to my phone for guidance when sometimes I should know better. As technology progresses in the future I’m sure we will become more dependent on it in our daily lives.

  2. I like to think I’m smarter than my smartphone, but some days I’m not so sure! Just like we can’t blindly believe everything a human tells us, we have to make sure we don’t believe everything a smartphone tells us. We, after all, are the ones with the real brains, the most sophisticated computers ever built.

    Your post made me think about this article from The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/11/pinterest-stress-moms-social-media_n_3253475.html) that I read this past week about “Pinterest Stress.” The article details a new study about how Pinterest and other social media are putting undue stress on mothers (and probably many of the rest of us) to live up to the images and words we see online of the perfection of other people’s lives. I think regularly unplugging from the electronic world and spending time IRL (in real life) is a really important thing to do. Leave the house without your phone for a while! It might create anxiety in the beginning, but it can ultimately be very liberating and restore a sense of what is normal and real. And, it can restore your trust in your own judgement.

    • Hi Celeste,

      Thank you for your comment. Some days I’m not sure either. Thank you for sharing that interesting article. Social media probably puts undue stress on everyone seeing the perfection of other people’s lives. I would say a lot of social media is not a real depiction of people’s lives. I know some people share everything about themselves via social media. However I would say that majority of people only share positive aspects of their life via social media especially with all the privacy issues nowadays. For example I would think people would be more likely to post about an engagement instead of a breakup on Facebook. Or post a glamour shots of themselves going out instead of a picture when they first wake up in the morning with no makeup on. With social media we tend to share our best self and set unrealistic standards for other people.

      I really like your idea about unplugging from the electronic world and spending time in real life. I know my friends get on me when I spend too much time on my phone when we are hanging out because apparently I can’t talk and text at the same time. I know when I’m doing schoolwork it’s nice to just put my phone on do not disturb and spend time away from my smartphone. I think it would be a good idea to have my phone on that setting more often to restore a sense of what’s real in my life. Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  3. It is so sad but so true. You really got me thinking about how this relates to social media. Why must we feel that if something isn’t documented it is as though it doesn’t exist? This really got me thinking about how technology is really making us miss the moment. We are so concerned with documenting that we aren’t experiencing. I think asking the question are you smarter than your smart phone, was an excellent question a hard truth that hit home hard. If my phone isn’t working, I am on the side of the road, sleep, can’t ask anyone for anything because I don’t have anyone’s number memeorized so I can’t tell them who to call. I feel like Google should have a sign in the sky like batman. That or maybe we should sit down and figure out how to merge new technology with the simplicity of the past.

    I’d love to hear your ideas on how we could do that.

    • Hi Shelby,

      Thank you for your comment. I definitely agree that social media is sometimes making us miss the moment. I can’t tell you how many photos on Instagram I’ve seen with the #workflow or #gymflow. It just makes me think ok we know you have a job; do you have to take a picture of yourself working? Also isn’t think taking away from your productivity? Then it makes me think, is posting a picture in your workout clothes the only way you can show that you work out? Or is it a shameless ploy to show off your body to all your followers?

      I agree if my phone is dead or not working I feel kind of lost. I just hope I don’t have anywhere to go that I need my GPS for. I think I went two months without a car charger and it was a struggle to survive. It’s so sad but true that Google might need a sign in the sky like Batman. We use the search engine for everything and need it to function in our daily lives.

      It’s really difficult to think about merging technology with the simplicity of the past. My first thought is figuring out how to look at a map and navigate that way if our GPS is running us around in circles. But then I remember that in order to pull up a map of our exact location, we STILL need our smartphone. I think putting our phones away and enjoying personal interactions is the first step to living in the moment and not depending on technology. Where we go from there, I have no idea.

  4. I’m so glad that I’m not the only person in the world that is thinking about this! I have had a love/hate relationship with technology for quite some time. I love the ways that it has expanded our knowledge and capabilities but I HATE the way that it cripples us. If you want something, “there’s an app for that.” Which makes it difficult to use it only when you have the NEED. I like the point you made with Shelby about merging new technology with the simplicity of the past. I think the first step should be identifying the times that we use technology when we want it and the times we use technology when we need it.

    I’ll refer to the GPS example. It can give your exact location. It can give you the quickest or shortest route from point A to point B. It can tell you what’s nearby like gas stations, grocery stores, and bars. But the only time we truly need a GPS is if we’re in a rush, stranded alone, in the middle of a field, without street signs or an old fashioned fold-out map. When we use it outside of those circumstances we’re refusing the opportunity to explore, denying our ability to observe our surroundings, and shunning the people around us who may have the information we’re looking for. Technology can be a great extension of our natural instincts and ability, but without proper self-control it can be toxic.

    • Hi Christina,

      Thank you for your comment. I agree that the “there’s an app for that” mentality makes it difficult to use our smartphones only when we have the need. You made a great suggestion about taking a step forward to merge new technology with the simplicity of the past. I think it would be a really hard to task to make a decision about what we want and need when it comes to technology. Thank you for expanding on the GPS example. It really makes us second-guess our natural instincts and take crazy routes that aren’t always easier. I’m finding that now especially traveling through DC because even the latest smartphone doesn’t take into account construction and road closures. There have been a few times where I have to pullover and ask to myself, wait did I just make a circle and I’m still not any closer to my destination? Technology really needs to be leveraged with the proper self-control.

  5. You made some great and valid points! I too am guilty of checking my smartphone constantly. It’s unfortunate that we have let them consume our lives and make us less physically sociable. Albert Einstein once said, “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” We rely on smartphones because we think they just makes life easier, when in fact they make us lazy.

    • Hi Gaby,

      Thank you for your comment. I think we are all guilty of checking our smartphones constantly. I agree with your point about smartphones making us lazy and that you for sharing the quote 🙂

  6. Smartphones are a fine line that we all walk on, either we let it infiltrate into our lives and we do not know when to say enough. It’s like the work-life, life-work, if you let work control you or can you find that fine separation of work and life. I believe that certain people can distinguish between this on when they use their smartphones or are they using the smartphones too much.

    However, there is a new disease called “sleep-texting”, when individuals do not know that they are texting to individuals in their sleep. Now, is it possible that they are using their smartphones too much? Or is switching one addition for another? It’s hard to say, but here is a great article from CNN Tech that highlights the story to give you a better understanding if we are smarter than a smartphone.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/22/tech/mobile/sleep-texting

    Amanda

    • Hi Amanda,

      Thank you for your comment. I agree that there is a fine line that we walk on and it’s the same with work-life and life-work, separation between the two is essential. Wow this concept of sleep-texting is blowing my mind. I’ve heard of drunk-texting but sleep texting is a little excessive. If this is the case, people are really using their smartphones too much and they can’t even “shut off” when they are sleeping. The article was really interesting and Dr. Shelby Harris described the concept as having your brain on autopilot. The rate that people are texting along with the fact that most people sleep next to their phone (I know I do), it’s an automatic behavior. It’s almost like a form of sleepwalking but this is less dangerous. Thanks for sharing this interesting article 🙂

  7. This is an awesome blog post and as you said not only do we rely on our cellphones but technology in general. Your post also reminded me of the calculator. There are so many math problems and long division problems that I used to be able to figure out in my head or on paper but, now, I need a calculator to make sure I am answering the problem correctly. There are some things that we should be do on our own without any other influences.

    Now getting back on track…I am definitely tied to my phone at all times. One time I lost my phone and I had I felt lost without the comfort of my cell phone.I am constantly texting, checking my e-mail, and logging into my social media networks. Almost everything that I need, except for food and water, is on my cell phone.

    • E’Shara,

      Thank you, and thank you for your comment. The calculator is a great example. I usually leave a 20% tip at restaurants because I’ve worked as a server and know it’s hard money. When I take my mom out to eat she gets so mad when I whip out my tip calculator and figure out how much I should leave the server. She always says, “You should know how much 10% is and then just double it. If you can’t do that, I want my money back for college.” The sad part is she’s right. Simple math I should be able to do in my head but my smartphone does it so quick and the only effort it really takes is punching some numbers in. I feel your pain with losing your cell phone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve completely backtracked or gone back to my house on my lunch break, just because I left my cell phone at home. It’s terrible that we are so dependent on these phones to function in our daily life. I know I can’t live without my smartphone and the worst part is that companies know this. That’s probably why the “There’s an app for that mentality” caught on like wildfire.

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