Isolating technology

Anastasia Spytsya

Before you start reading this, stop and take a look around you. What do you see? I bet a lot of people with their heads down texting, updating their Twitter accounts, commenting on Facebook posts using their iPhones and Blackberries. You see it everywhere. In the elevator. In the Hub. Even at concerts.

Technology has progressed so far that today it makes a person stay away from personal communication.

About a week ago, I was at the Hub and ran into a friend of mine who I haven’t seen in more than a year. She was in a rush and did not have time to talk to me, but stated that she would love to catch up at some point over lunch. For some reason, I was not surprised when she asked if I am on Facebook, instead of asking me for my number. “OK, that’s great! I will Facebook you soon then,” she said. Ouch. Is my accent really that difficult to understand that she refused to call me?

Doubt it.

I am pretty sure that my friend, as well as many others, including myself, suffers from the negative influence of technology.

Today, we cannot imagine our daily life without technology. We are dependent on it. Our dependence on this bandit is rather unhealthy. Our assignments are online, our classes are online, our photo albums are online — everything is online. While it does indeed help us to save time, we walk around without even realizing that while technological progress made our lives easier and faster, it isolates us from the real world.

With all positive aspects that technology brings to us, there is one negative that does much harm. Technology today promotes anti-social behavior. It damages our sense of humanity.

Social theorist Jürgen Habermas argues, “technology will cause us in some ways to lose our humanity — that is, some essential quality that has always underpinned our sense of who we are and where we are going.”

I believe that face-to-face communication is sometimes challenging, but it’s so much more beneficial. When talking face-to-face, you can share a laugh, instead of typing “LOL.” When having a personal conversation, you know that your friend is not distracted playing video games. With private, vocal conversations, we get to experience so many emotions that technology isolates us from.

Right now we have a serious addiction. What is the value of having 800 Facebook friends and the same amount of contacts in your phone if there’s no one to call and talk to? What is the point of it if you stare at your screen all day long and make your real life lifeless? Instead of discussing my columns online by posting comments, why don’t you get out and share your thoughts with your friends who actually care about what you have to say unlike other online readers? Of course, discussing my columns in particular is exaggeration. I mean any topic in general.

I guess one could argue that technology doesn’t isolate us and that it simply evolves a new kind of communication and substitutes traditional face-to-face communication. Another argument is that online communication makes the world a smaller place by allowing people to keep connections with each other that they otherwise would have never had.

I agree to a certain extent. Technological communication is always convenient and beneficial to a certain degree. We do not realize that when we choose to Facebook someone instead of calling, it takes away from our personal relationship. We now replace the real with the digital, choosing convenience over face-to-face connection.

I just have a feeling that soon we will end our vocal communication with 140 characters per message with no non-verbal expressions and with no eye contact. The real will soon become the digital. And the result will be tragic.

Anastasia Spytsya is a senior Russian translation major and political science minor

and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact her at [email protected].