The Utility of Technology Use in Today’s World

By Julia Bernstein

Technology these days has become absolutely overwhelming for me. I do not like the advances that have been made since about 13 years ago, when I was old enough to recognize them.

Text messaging became popular around my last year of middle school. I can’t stand it. If the telephone was invented after text messaging, people would have been ecstatic that they can actually speak to people through a piece of plastic. I also believe that people say things over text messages or via the internet that they are too afraid to say over the phone or in person.
All of these technological advances have doubtlessly increased social anxiety diagnoses as well. For example, say you meet someone on MySpace, Facebook, dating websites or Tinder, you aren’t as scared to speak your mind. The internet is just an easy way out of admitting what you probably wouldn’t in person.

At the old restaurant I used to work at, we’d call our Monday night’s “Matchmaker Monday’s.” Women actually confided in me while waiting for their Tinder date to arrive about how it’s their first time meeting up and expressed the fear that came along with that. When their date would ultimately arrive, I would spy (while doing my job of course)! Neither of the two ever had anything to say to each other. These dates were uncomfortable to even watch. They usually ended relatively quickly (and awkwardly to say the least) and I assume that if they didn’t end up going home with each other, they were texting up a storm. I’m a big fan of meeting a potential lover traditionally. As I’m sure you’ve heard before, good things come when you’re not looking or waiting around.

The increase in cellphone use has also driven me absolutely crazy. No one seems to talk to anyone anymore. They’re always either playing games, on Tinder, Facebook, texting, taking selfies, etc, on their smart phones. I can’t stand it. I can never find anyone who wants to have a real conversation these days. I’d love to have a substantial conversation in person, free of all the cellphone usage. My biggest pet peeve is when I call someone and they respond with a text message that says “what’s up?” especially when they’re not busy…

I am a person who doesn’t like to waste, but the one exception where I’d be willing to waste a bit of paper is for educational purposes. I struggle terribly at math. All throughout college, we’d use online programs to learn math, complete our homework, and occasionally we’d even take our exams on the school computers. These programs did not help me learn math. I need to write down problems with the freedom to easily erase mistakes to be able to even have a slight chance at completing the problem correctly. In some classes, it felt like I didn’t even have a professor. Everything was done online and it was nothing but confusing and overwhelming to me.

If technology keeps advancing at the extremely fast rate it seems to be, lots of jobs are going to be lost and will be taken over by computers. For example, I believe that computers will end up taking away the jobs from many accountants. A program where you can enter the least amount of information necessary will take care of figuring out income statements, balance sheets, etc., instead of an actual human doing the work themselves.

Life shouldn’t be so simple. People need to do labor themselves. What is life minus the challenge? That’s what makes life so interesting. The bumps in the road shouldn’t be able to be resolved by a robot or a computer. What makes us human is our ability to overcome the struggle. Relying on technology to bail us out of our problems is just plain lazy. It makes us weaker.

I’m not saying that technology needs to be completely removed from our lives. I mean, technology has helped the health industry immensely, for example. We just need to decrease the utility of technology. If the grocery store is 4 blocks away, take a nice walk instead of just jumping into your car. Don’t become a victim of technology overuse. The completion of a tough endeavor ourselves is what gives us that sense of accomplishment when finished. Don’t take the easy way out — we can do it.

What are your thoughts?