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Saturday, January 26, 2019

The double-edged sword of technology

Recently, I heard a few students discussing how we no longer have to really memorize or think about answers, facts, or information of any kind because of today's technology - the Internet; artificial intelligence (AI); calculators; GPS; devices like Google Home, Siri, and Amazon Alexa that retrieve information for us and then verbally communicate it back to us; etc., etc.

The double-edged sword of technology.

While it is true that technology has come a long way and that it's only going to get better with time, technology can never replace, nor should it ever, the original computer - our own individual minds.

Technology is meant to make certain tasks and aspects of our lives easier, including learning. Without technology, we would still be attempting to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together; getting from place to place by horse and carriage; making our own clothing; and, because I know you go to the library frequently, still looking for books with the card catalog.

But technology can't stand in for our own built-in need and desire to think critically, reason, memorize, reflect, experience, feel, process, synthesize, create, build connections - be human. The moment we begin to allow that to happen, our own existence as both individuals and as a species may as well be deemed worthless because at that point, are we truly living when we have surrendered our very essence?

The mind is so truly beautiful, filled with endless potential, and so very unique to the individual. Having the same mass-produced technology think, calculate, memorize, etc. for all of us will reduce us to being nothing more than zombies.

As a collective species, it's the human mind that gives us superiority over technology and over all other species on this planet. And at the individual level, it's our own unique minds - our very essence, really - that differentiate ourselves from other individuals. And when multiple minds come together, that's where the real magic can happen - collaboration, new or improved ideas and inventions, deeper understandings, shared vision, and so on.   

Don't let technology come to slowly replace your mind. Don't let that happen. Don't waste that incredible gift you have. Technology is a valuable tool. Master it. But never let it master you. 

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