I want to begin this post by saying that I am one who absolutely loves technology. I have been a huge fan since the Atari and Commodore 64 days. I remember sitting for hours punching code into my old Commodore just to make a small box float across the screen. The Atari joystick had one, big, red button…how hard can that be? Now, I can speak to my Xbox 360 and make it do almost anything I want. It is remarkable to see how much technology has improved over the years.
Back when I was thirteen or fourteen, my Dad and I mowed grass for people during the summer. One of our customers was a man who worked for Zenith. He used to entertain us with stories of a television that would one day hang on the wall and be as thin as a picture frame. That was back in the 80’s. Oh, how we would laugh at “that crazy old man down the street”.
Now I can’t even remember anyone’s phone number. All I have to do is find their name, touch the screen, and we’re connected. Pretty cool, but yet somehow terribly sad. I can hear a song on the radio, put my iPhone next to a speaker, get the name of the song and a link to purchase it on iTunes. (Now that part is just cool, not sad at all.) I even have a credit card reader I can plug into my phone to accept payments with. That comes in handy when I go to someone’s house and work on their computer.
What prompted me to write this post is an incident that happened a few weeks ago. My family and I were driving to the small town in North Carolina where I grew up, and where my wife’s family currently resides. We have a Garmin GPS that shows the speed at which we are traveling and also the current speed limit. I will occasionally glance at that and not pay much attention to road signs.
Well, the one thing I didn’t realize is that it does not adjust for construction zones. Yep, you guessed it. I was cruising along at 70mph (thinking the speed limit was 65mph, because that is what my trusty navigation system indicated) and got pulled over. Only then, did I realize we were smack in the middle of orange barrels and heavy equipment on the side of the road.
To my dismay, I received a charming little ticket for driving 15mph over the construction zone speed limit. We were at least an hour and a half from home, so I knew there was no way I would make it into court. And, it’s not as if I could use the “GPS made me do it” plea. The ticket cost me over $400, but that’s not even the worst part. The postman delivered a delightful notice, from the DMV, which informed me that my license had been suspended for one month. Oh joy.
I’ve been driving since I was fifteen, so you can imagine how hard it was to go an entire month. Getting my license back felt as if I had been released from prison.
Technology has improved our lives in so many ways. Has it also made us not so smart? Back in the day, we had to rely on brainpower and ingenuity to get things done. Now, we just have to make a phone call, push a button, or speak into a TV that is hanging on the wall. Like I said, I’m a huge fan of technology, but I’m starting to think it might be making me stupid.