Dear Technology...Miss Me?? (No.2: The Lost Letter)
The second correspondence between Dr. David Sitt and Technology heats up.
Posted May 20, 2013
It has been quite a while since we last spoke. I had sent you a letter via snail-mail but after about 18 months, it was finally sent back to me. Rumor has it you’re now splitting residence between Silicone Valley and Silicone Alley. I guess I’ll stick with email from now on.
Much has happened in my life since I last wrote and I can see that you’ve been busy as well. In the last two years, your 4G cell phones became all the rage, Instagram was born, and Facebook went public. By the way, talk to Mark Zuckerberg for me—I think he owes me some money.
On a more serious note, I was recently thinking of the passing of your dear friend and great visionary, Steve Jobs. The late CEO of Apple once said, "What a computer is to me is the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with. It's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds." That’s some compliment to receive from such an innovative and inspirational thought leader! But before your ego gets too big, Technology, keep in mind that 11 years later Mr. Jobs was singing a different tune. He said in a Newsweek Article printed in 2001, "I would trade all my Technology for an afternoon with Socrates." OUCH! It seems that even some of your biggest fans have to acknowledge that with your ability to enhance our lives, you have your limits too.
BTdubs, I have a new love interest in my life… your pal Siri. If my wife wasn’t so fond of her as well, she’d probably be pretty jealous. Siri is a clever one, always on the winning team at our family Jeopardy matches. And no one is on top of my schedule as she is. Without fail, the morning of my closest friends’ birthdays, I get a little alert from Siri reminding me to make a phone call. And she will even suggest the nearest store for me to buy a card. I don’t care what the Digital Natives say, an old school birthday card beats a momentary e-card any day.
It’s funny; I used to be able to remember my schedule and my friends’ phone numbers and birthdays myself. Researchers like Neuroscientist Veronique Bohbot at McGill University have been studying this trend and presented her findings at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in 2010. Using smart phone features like the address book, calendar, and GPS reduces reliance on our hippocampus, the brain structure that controls memory. Just like any other body part, it responds to the “Use it or lose it” motto, reducing in strength and size as we outsource our memory to your digital devises. Maybe the fact that I keep forgetting what day my yoga class meets isn’t just a coincidence after all.
According to Time Magazine’s massive 5000 person poll on American technology use, around 50% of American adults admit to sleeping with their cell phones. This is an enormous percentage which includes about 80% of 18-24 year olds (2012). I can’t imagine what their partners must think, although they are likely consoling themselves by updating their own Twitter status. Considering how intimate you have been with so many people, I would think your Facebook inbox must be flooded with relationship requests by now; I know you’ll get to mine eventually. We truly are in a relationship… but it’s complicated.
Well old friend, it seems that we are evolving even more rapidly than ever before. I think we should keep up these chats to make sure we keep up to date.