I wake up bleary-eyed. I look for my partner in crime who is curled up toward the wall in deep sleep. I hate to wake him up but he is my daily dose of everything. As I unlock him, a bright glare illuminates my face. It is my smartphone. My task manager, daily planner, alarm and my window to the world.
So, I check my instant messaging app and reply to unread messages. I check the latest news updates. I peek into my social networking accounts – an emoji here, a ‘like’ there. This ritual, as scoffed as it is, makes me feel closer to family and friends living in different geographies and the events of the world I am otherwise, not part of. That is what technology does–it brings us closer. Our smartphones, social media forums, picture sharing applications and search engines perform this function efficiently. The technology essentially makes us feel secure, loved, cared for, and part of the bigger picture in the big world. It rarely abandons us. And, it never shuts down.
Today, there is a multitude of online apps with one outshining the other. We can share photographs, audio and video, order shoes, food and groceries, even get our clothes ironed. We might, at times, be confused, but we are tempted more often with what technology can do for us. Within the frame of our smartphones and computers, we wish to capture everything. Such is the nature of technology–it compels us to remain engaged.
From the time we wake up until the time we go to bed, technology beckons us every moment of the day. Whether it is a reminder or a critical business meeting over video conferencing, technology has seamlessly made its way through all spheres of life. It has created limitless opportunities in a world we could only dream of.
Some say, greatest ideas are born out of technology. Driverless cars, robots to operate on patients, drones, 3D imaging and a whole gamut of applications bear testimony to this truth. We have apps that offer diligent services not just limited to our respective towns and cities. Today, sitting in the cosy corner of my home, I can order something from far-away Manhattan. Or for that matter, there is a local concierge service provided by apps. Technology has simply made life easier and more convenient.
And the wares peddled online aren’t restricted to groceries and cuisines. People meet, find jobs, life partners and the love of their lives online. Literally everything is available in this mesmerising virtual world. Safe to say, technology has not only changed the way we do things, but also the way we think.
Amidst all this glory of technology, there is a thought nagging at the back of the mind: What if none of this existed? What would our lives be like without smartphones, search engines, apps and social media networks?
My realisation: Technology has converted us. We no more have reunion dinners sans mobile phones, opportunities to talk and make friends seem like a thing of the past. Smartphones are the new icebreakers. Conversations at coffee tables have become rare as someone or the other is glued to their hand-held device. And then, of course, we have bigger problems of stalking, harassing online, morphing pictures, phishing and hacking. Meanwhile, we have pictures and status updates being checked every other minute and our gadgets rendering us oblivious to our surroundings. In this ever-evolving world driven by technology, space for human interactions, love and family time is limited.
Our lives are easier and the world is smaller, true. But after all the luxury and ease of things I experience on a daily basis (and I am grateful for it), I wonder where the joy of a heartfelt conversation without the intrusion of a gadget has gone? When will I stop being distracted by my status update during a conversation I am having with my best friend after five years? Where have those days gone when I used to see the contented smile on my mother’s face as I stuffed my mouth with some of her best cooking without looking into my phone? When will I lose myself again in a child-like moment without having to think about things?
Do I need to give up on technology to live those moments again? Or can I have the best of both worlds?