Technology: friend or foe?

It is said that we have an overall turn towards materialism, consumerism as a race and that may be why we as a race appear so cruel and selfish nowadays, seemingly less tolerant. The generations before us may have been no better (probably crueler when you look at human torture, but I wonder if on the day to day interaction level, were they more group oriented than we are today?) I wondered if the new “communications media” were partly responsible for it too. I mean we all say how video games and TV are desensitizing our children but in addition, can we blame our friend the Internet?

With SMS / Chat/ email and blogs our communications may be faster and you can reach a wider audience but there is little or no dissension. People may disagree but when one sends out an email or an sms, one can get the feeling that “I have said it… it is done, it must be correct” as there is no immediate argument. When (and if) you do receive a response it appears in the same format which appears a little less “real” and so may matter little to our psyche. Consider chatting for instance, or posting comments on blogs, you feel less inhibited to post your thoughts as the person at the other end is not really in front of you so you feel bold enough to say what you will. This false confidence could generate the boldness to think you are right in whatever you do. Also, once your thoughts are out there in sms you really do not know the person’s reaction and so can be quite smug in thinking whatever you said was correct or agreed with.

Basically all I wondered was if these avenues of communications were giving us false confidence into believing whatever we say or think is correct? Not seeing a “real” negative response to your thoughts may be making us bolder unnecessarily. Perhaps that is why the “me-ness” of a generation is so strong today. Perhaps this is why we may start to think our acts of inconsideration are ok. I know people throughout history have shown inconsideration but not in so many numbers (yes yes I know we have a larger world population now) but also, the elements of shame, guilt and remorse are missing now. That is what is truly alarming (to me at least). You will see people boldly speak of their misdeeds,
1. not recognizing that what they may be doing is incorrect for society
2. not really feeling any remorse once its been pointed out to them.

Also, this instant access to information and instant gratification through the Internet is making us less patient as a race. With SMS technology you can be in constant touch, but then you are gearing yourself for instant gratification and developing patience is overlooked entirely. This of course leads to a lot of crime and dissatisfaction when people feel they have a right to something and the right to it NOW. Technology may be good for the human condition in that we can address a lot more people’s concerns in less time and as far as treatments are concerned but is it good for the human in us? Just a thought, feel free to comment and disagree!!

16 Comments so far

  1. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 2:20 pm

    depends on usage. One can’t curse Knife just because it was used to kill a human. Same knife could be used for peeling “Aloo” and make french fries. :-)

  2. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 2:46 pm

    Life is very comforting and a blessing. It depends on us how much we wish to be ‘bothered’ or on ‘wet toes’ –

    By Grace of Supreme One ALLAH (SWT) With all those gadgets available and accessible WE prefer more human interaction and meeting in person then being in touch using gadgets.

    juniors in family are to deposit their hand phones switched off once they are home,

    Gadgets have increased distance among people, i may not visit my father’s friend in hospital as often as I send an sms to his cell and wish him well. For him it was way too FQIN annoying and heartless,,

    He believe it should remain as it was 15 years back when He was walking tall, talking and visited fathers’ friend in hospital, twice a day.

    :) smile – again it is about us how we wish to see it.

  3. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 3:20 pm

    waise it’s true that tooooo much information around us is getting out of control. Say thanks to Web 2.0

  4. Original-Anon (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 8:25 pm

    Oh puhleeze, can you confine these long, rambling posts to your own blog? The metblog is NOT your personal soapbox. I come here to find out what is going on in Karachi,instead I am treated to you guys whine about anything and everything.

  5. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 8:45 pm

    Orignal, I know you don’t miss me much but it was definitely good to see you again. Hope things are good at your end.

  6. SiddiKee (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 8:45 pm

    sure i agree with the anon what relevance it has with KARACHI

    this is global phenomena discussed on many blogs here & there

  7. hell (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 9:26 pm

    Thoughts and rants are allowed on this blog, there is actually a category for it. For those of you, who DO NOT want to read this author’s entries, please don’t. This was an open discussion, and not a whine. People in Karachi are allowed thoughts and discussion, perhaps it’s not obvious to many, maybe due to the lack of tolerance around us – but not everything needs to be painted black. Yes things like this are stated over and over again around the world but in Karachi you see the immediate effects of how intolerant we are – just check the queue jumping, the honking, the traffic,

  8. Danish (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 10:13 pm

    Anon and Siddiki…I feel the writer’s views are very relevant to Karachi as it is in any other part of the world..Consumerism and Materialism has changed our beliefs and courtesy or plain acceptance of a person who doesnt have your views is negative.

    And why does everyone have to come in every other topic and make rants at the writer..If you dont agree with it or dont want to read such stuff..Stay away from these topics

  9. darthvader (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 10:45 pm

    it’s like there is a race between the author of this post and rameez raja to be the number one Tool.

  10. Tariq Khanani (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 11:26 pm

    Fact is fact…….face it. Decide that u consider urself fortunate or unfortunate that ur living in age of technology. Adnan is right, it all depends on how u use it.

  11. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 11:43 pm

    I agree with Original, this post has nothing to do with Karachi, Sindh or even Pakistan. get a life

  12. Notonebuttwo (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2007 @ 1:00 am

    From some of the comments it would appear some folks have missed the point here (not surprising). Anyway some of them actually personify what was being said, but then Karachi is too full of negativity and intolerance why should the comments be any different.

  13. Obi Wan Kenobi (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2007 @ 1:43 am

    @Saba : Too long for me, how about executive summary for me :-)

  14. Original-Anon (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

    Adnan, old buddy, thanks and it is good to see you too after a long time:)
    Obi – I’ll do a summary for you. Here goes:
    Internet and other technology have made us bad, impatient, self absorbed people.

  15. Obi Wan Kenobi (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2007 @ 10:22 pm

    Thanks Anon, much appreciated. Thank God, I did not waste my time reading this post.

  16. BINDIYA (unregistered) on September 25th, 2007 @ 7:18 am

    I think the pigeon age was more romantic.

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