Digital junkies

While walking down the street, how many people do you notice are on their phones? What are they doing? What are they listening to?

The prevalence of tech is more noticeable today than ever before.

There are unintended consequences that most people outside of technology fail to see. The reliance on cell phones makes us avoid learning basic skills such as navigation, remembering phone numbers, or tasks that are automated via apps.

Before talking about the overabundance of screens and applications in the digital world. Let’s talk about something more analog. My first car out of college was a Honda CRV from 2001. It had no back-up camera, fancy brake system, or sensors to monitor proximity to objects around the outside of the car.

I was forced to be aware of my surroundings at all times, to check my blind spots, and physically turn my neck to reverse the car.

Learning how to drive on an analog car taught me how to live in a world without the aid of digital assistants available in modern cars.

The other day, while driving a friend’s car I noticed she had the luxury of a backup camera, blind-spot monitor, and sensors all around her car. I quickly became accustomed to the available features and began to rely on them while driving.

To improve new technology adoption, companies make the experience almost unavoidable. The camera system naturally turns on when you back out. The turn monitor turns on when you’re taking a right. You can’t help but take a look at it while driving.

My friend’s never driven an analog car before. I wonder if she’d even know how if she had to get behind the wheel. A lot of the experience of driving an analog car comes with experience.

In a similar vein, I believe I’m spoiled due to modern technology.

While navigating cities, I don’t need to memorize maps. I use google maps to search for any location I want to go to. I can’t even imagine a world where google maps don’t exist. What did people do before? How did they get around? Did they wander more?

My intent is not to blame technology for all the evils in the world but rather to shine a light on valuable experiences that got left behind in the analog world due to the pace of technology.

Is everyone around us a digital junkie?

What other experiences have gotten left behind?

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