Is Technology Making Us Lazy?

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Man On Couch
Technology, as defined by trusty Google, is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry. The idea of technology is often, even though misguided, ascribed to computer or information technology although it is applicable to anything that makes our lives better or easier.

For the purpose of this blog, I am focused on technology as it applies to computers and Information Technology but more specifically when applied to software. Computer technology has two counterparts; hardware and software.

Hardware and software are inseparable but highly contrasted aspects of the computer technology we use on a daily basis and as such the two couldn't be more different. Hardware is more fundamental and therefore does not change much over long periods of time. Software on the other hand is highly malleable. Undergoing change at a relatively accelerated pace.

It is for the reason of the tendency to undergo rapid change over short bursts of time that software has a greater impact on our daily lives than hardware. Software has and continues to find prominent spaces in our daily routines, at times even without us noticing it.

Making Our Lives Easier

If there is one objective truth regarding the utility of technology, it is that it is designed to make our lives easier. Even from the early days of human endeavour, we crafted tools that enabled our species to rise above the environment and make an attempt to subdue it.

We developed a wide range of tools and strove to make new discoveries that made this possible. We discovered fire to keep us warm, stone implements to tear flesh and bone, the fulcrum to shift massive weights, bricks to construct our dwellings , the wheel to facilitate our travels and many centuries along the path of progress, we arrived at the computer.

There is no doubt that these discoveries and perhaps more than any other, the computer has made our lives easier many times over. What makes the computer special is the fact that it is a tool with applications in all areas of human activity. At home or at work, it takes a position at the center of human activity.

Again there is no doubt that the computer has made our lives easier in every respect. Human development and civilization has evolved in leaps and bounds since the computer appeared on the scene. At the forefront of making our lives easier has been software within the computer.

The Price Of Progress

The sad reality of our existence is that there is always a price to pay for any gains to be made. Indeed computer technology and software have simplified our lives considerably, but at what cost? 

The impact of computer technology is wide and varied. Among the gains lie what can be considered positive effects and what cannot be viewed in the same light. Take social media for example. Social media has allowed us to connect like never before but it has at the same time robbed us the depth and intensity of relationships.

Making our lives easier also means that we do not have to exert ourselves as much as we used to when performing routine tasks. At first this might seem like a good thing all round but upon close examination, it becomes clear that we have lost something significant in the process.

Exertion is an important part of the human experience. The feedback we receive from pushing against something is rewarding and good for our sense of well-being. I am all for progress and making life easier but how far should it go?

If you no longer have to visit your friends and relatives to say hello, is that a good thing? Software has evolved to such a point that most people now experience life through a software-driven technological lens. It is now easier to become a couch potato and order food in, shop and even get your entertainment without having to leave your house.

There is one term that comes to mind for what I have just described- Lazy. We have become so dependent on technology that we have made it a substitute for important human activities. Things have gone to the extent where even the quality of our relationships has deteriorated.

Is It Worth It

One way of measuring the worthiness of any activity or process is to measure the net gain. It is to be expected that any form of advancement will come with some negative connotations tied to it. To gauge true progress however, we need to examine the overall impact of these developments.

The question of whether technology making our lives easier is worth it sure sounds like a no-brainer; and it is. That was the objective in the first place right? I am however more concerned with degree. To what extent is it making our lives easier.

If the answer is that it has made our lives easier to the extent that we are living more comfortable than before, then this is a good thing, if not then it is a cause for concern. If it is making us lazy then we should put in the effort to address that.

Countering Laziness

Technology has a tendency to suck people in. It fundamentally changes the way we operate. With Netflix for example, it means no going to the movies anymore and with instant messaging it means not calling as much. Messaging is its own form of laziness as can even be seen in the way people don’t use full words anymore as is the case in the once popular LOL which has now been replaced by an emoji.

What is important is to be conscious when we are taking shortcuts in using technology. To be fully aware that there are other modes of operation or means of engagement than the experience being found in using the technology.

By being aware of the alternatives, you can broaden your experiences and try them out once in awhile. Instead of texting, you can sometimes actually call. Instead of playing a video game, you can actually go outside and get involved in a real physical activity. Instead of group chat you can have a night out with friends.

Technology making our lives easier in itself is not laziness but if we choose the easy route every time, we are missing out on other forms of interaction that can enrich our lives. Laziness manifests itself in the unwillingness to work or expend energy when it is beneficial to so so. 

As long as we try to sometimes exert ourselves in ways that lie outside a technologically defined bubble, we have a chance at beating technologically induced laziness.

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