I considered taking a tech holiday this holiday weekend. You have heard of this, I’m sure – turn off or leave behind the phone and laptop; go where there is no wifi or service, or just ignore all that at home for a day, weekend or week.
I have tried in the past. Twice on vacations I had no phone or wifi on a regular basis – and I survived. But when I did go somewhere that had free wifi, I was quick to log in and check messages, email etc. So, I cheated.
I generally write these posts during the week and schedule them for the weekend when possible, so it may appear that I am online when I am not. But this weekend I will be mostly at home and hoping to spend a lot of time out in the garden. My only tech out there is that I always listen to podcasts while I am working.
I queued up three posts during the past week: Friday, one on Memorial Day becoming a weekend thing, this one and a follow up reminder for the original Memorial Day on May 30. So, nothing for tomorrow, Sunday. Let that be my tech holiday.
Here are some thoughts on technology to ponder, with a few comments of mine – and for you comment on, if you are so inclined.
“Even when you take a holiday from technology, technology doesn’t take a break from you. ” – Douglas Coupland
This would be a good essay writing prompt for my students. What does he mean?
“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.” – Steven Spielberg
I will admit to “bridging” my walks, sitting in waiting rooms, riding on a train, sitting on the toilet, drinking coffee at a cafe with my phone. It’s hard to be totally bored if I have my phone. Is that a bad thing?
“Technology is, of course, a double edged sword. Fire can cook our food but also burn us.” – Jason Silva
This has always been true, from knives and swords to breaking the atom.
“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” – Steve Jobs
Nice words from a man who was obsessed with technology and not particularly nice to people, no matter what kind of “Zen” vibes he tried to give off.
“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.” – Bill Gates
That may be a goal of technologists, but it is also sneaky. Is this what Coupland’s quote means? Is our unconsciousness about picking up the phone 100 times a day or that the phone is pinging cell towers and telling my location even when I’m not using it?
“Every time there’s a new tool, whether it’s Internet or cell phones or anything else, all these things can be used for good or evil. Technology is neutral; it depends on how it’s used.” – Rick Smolan
Sounds like the same idea as the Silva quote, but then there’s the “neutral” part. Some tech is not neutral. A weapon is not neutral. A computer virus is not neutral. Technologies and the use of technology is sometimes designed for evil. I know that a smart bomb won’t do anything without a person using it with intent, but that tech is not neutral.