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As tech moves forward, do we go back?

Gareth Mullins, Staff Writer

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It was yet another day in study hall, with me looking for something to do as I usually try to. Pondering to myself, the first thing I could think of was checking out the weekly news headlines, which is always my first go-to in order to see what’s going on in the world, but also to inform myself of where we are going as a society.

Well, what I found was pretty mundane. The first thing I saw that popped up was a news article on the “all new” iPhone 8 that’s releasing later this year.

At first, I thought that this needless advertising for the next Apple product was just another product of the fame and fortune that Apple has all across the globe, whether that be positive or negative (if you are as big of a fan as I am of PCs or the Macbook, of course).

But,the more I was thinking about this in EE11, the more and more connections I made regarding what technology is doing to our day-to-day lives. How much it changes us, defines us, and even how it makes us communicate.

This led me to formulate that, through the years, perhaps the advancements made in the tech department have been a little too much and can eventually lead to a ghastly conclusion… for all of humanity.

There is no denying that, through the ages, man has produced some outstanding advancements in technology. The wheel, for example, was produced in ancient times, and is still used to this very day. Edison, with the lightbulb, lit up the entire world in an age of industrialization, and even the invention of the seat belt has improved lives after it was released as a safety precaution for everyday life.

But, for the very same reason that technology is ever expanding in our modern age, one can argue the push for newer and newer technology only harms us in the long term.

Surprisingly, the beginnings of the digital revolution started in the 1830s with the invention of the first computer. Using a punch card mechanism, inventor Charles Babbage’s machine was able to equate basic number problems faster than a human, prompting a worldwide rush to create machines that were even better than his, leading to pushes in Britain, Germany and many other parts of the world.  

This push led to the invention of the Colossus machine in 1943, which was the first electronically programmed

Colossus in action, manned by Wens Dorothy Du Boisson and Elise Booker.

machine to have ever existed. With processing power no one at that time could believe, the machine was able to calculate very complex mathematical problems, which led to the breaking of the Nazi code that was causing a potential Allied defeat in World War 2.

These simple machines were amazing devices that helped cure many of the problems that their inventors were having, such as solving complex math and helping win wars. But, as technology was pushed further and further into the future, machines soon became more and more advanced, and even more and more personal to their creators.

A mere 32 years later came the MITS company’s Altair 8800, the world’s first personal computer. The once-powerful machines such as Colossus were reduced from their ginormous stature to small, portable devices that the worldwide populace could access at their own free will.

Now, I know this had many advantages for society. Gaining information was now as easy as possible, making more and more people educated in areas that they never would have thought possible before the invention of this machine. But, with those advances came many disadvantages that may well outweigh those benefits.

The invention of this device produced a new norm for many people in their lives: a newfound attraction to something that has not been seen since the wars over opium that date back to the spread of Imperialism.

Ever since the start of personalized technology that year in the 20th century, people have become so attached to electronics in their lives that the medium has become a part of life as we know it nowadays. From the introduction of the cassette tape and the greeting of the first mobile phones to the spread of social media in the early 2000s, there is no denying that technology and the Internet have become a vital source of both entertainment and lifestyle in general.

And, if anything, the continual fixation on electronics has only made us more hungry for new forms of technology, with news stories like the one at the beginning of this piece being the norm.

The things that I have mentioned will definitely impact the future due to the impact they have on us — the future of this world.

A good friend of mine, freshman Spencer Bridge, stated something a few days ago that stuck to me like glue:

“We are the generation that has grown up with all of this technology since our childhood. I mean, adults nowadays have in a sense, too, but we have had stuff like that since birth, man. Remember Leapfrogs?”

Of course I remembered my Leapfrog. Those things were my childhood…
Wait… They WERE my childhood…

Bridge pointed out the inevitable truth for both us and for our future: we millennials have become so attached to this technology that it has become essential to our day-to-day life. Waking up and first opening your phone to check your social media has become mundane for all of us. Switching on the TV for a glimpse at what is happening outside and around the world (or to even binge-watch some Netflix). Using GPS to get from A to B. Even the use of smart devices for cooking! Fridges with touchscreens? Now the new norm for all of us.

Tech has even become a part of our daily schedule as students. How to survive study hall? Turn on your phone and listen to your music. How to check your grades? Pull out a computer and have full access.

The biggest proponent of this is the push for one-to-one in our daily lives, though. This entire subject creates controversy for students and faculty alike. The addition of Chromebook devices in the classroom are further altering both the methods that teachers use and the way students learn completely.

Looking back at a previous article in the Trojan Times, the struggles that this push produced has been impacting all of us, including some of our favorite teachers. Mrs. Nelligan, an English teacher, feels that “Some parts of technology don’t belong in the classroom.” Mrs. Stonebraker, a Social Science teacher, doesn’t think that “Chromebooks should replace the teacher.” Mr. Garis worries that students are not as motivated to do work and make deadlines due to these computers.

But, in an ever evolving – or devolving – world, working online seems to be the only option for us. And it all stems from the introduction we had as children.

And, with the way things are going, the introduction WE had will be nothing compared to what today’s kids will be forced into.

This infant gets a taste of his media diet.

Look at children nowadays. As toddlers, even as being only a few months old, parents who are looking for a break from their kids or some time to get things done opt to use iPads to keep their kids occupied, as seen below.

This is slowly starting to become the norm, even with many doctors claiming that this introduction is terrible for kids. Giving young children such devices is like “playing Russian roulette with their development,” as doctor Richard House put it.

This form of “child abuse” is yet another byproduct of what our “evolving” future happens to be.

Will we as parents do the same, like my parents did with me and the Leapfrog? And, if so, with what? Virtual reality? If this is so, what will our children’s future be like? The possibilities are dangerously endless.

Looking back at the dawn of technology, humanity was forever changed in a positive sense. But now, we are just forcing ourselves and our peers into a downward spiral toward an entirely technological future, all tracing back to our younger childhood obsession with shiny screens and fun electronic games.

Whether or not you are as scared for the future as I am, you must still take heed. Whether you like it or not, further change is coming.

So, put that phone down and get out a little more. Taste the fresh air while you still can. Reap the rewards that nature offers.

Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time until hunting for Pikachus and Squirtles is your only way of staying in PIK condition.

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As tech moves forward, do we go back?