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March 26, 2019

2/20/2019 2:06:00 PM
Room for a View: Taming Technology
By Charles Wilkinson


I have no difficulty admitting that technology can drive me crazy, but it keeps me young, if not in years at least in energy.

As both friend and writer, I live on my iPad, smartphone and computer. I search on Google, shop by Amazon, read iBook’s and keep up with world events via the digital New York Times, CNN and Politico. My kids (and grandkids) help me with the difficult stuff like travel arrangements, tech-language and games I never use.

Still, as with Kleenex, Velcro and Scotch Tape, today’s technology prompts the question: “How did I ever get by without it?”

But, beware!  Computer technology and its offspring – social media in its many forms with all their wonders – can become addictive to anyone who is unaware of or ignores the dark side of progress.

They start off as wonder worlds, become playgrounds, and then close friends, workplace colleagues and sometimes constant or even sole companions.  Users too quickly can lock into a life of social isolation, insensitive choices and self-centeredness. Still, technology is evolution in action, surging our world into the future at a far greater rate than even Darwin could have imagined.

These days, computer technology and social media seem to be using each other for their own purposes while users with darker agendas use them to spread doubt, fear, hatred and other ugliness. 

The World Wide Web is constantly collapsing boundaries, but social media is running amok with insensitivity and recklessness. Immediacy too easily becomes more important than accuracy and thus sometimes the birthplace of fake news and false information.

I plead guilty to falling prey to that tendency, not rereading and too often hitting “send” prematurely.

I need to constantly remind myself that words in print and via media have a power and lifespan mere spoken words usually do not. Anyone can instantly broadcast impulsive thoughts and reactions to millions worldwide without considering the consequences or wisdom of doing so. But the world deserves the time it takes to make messages clear and honest.

All is not dark, however. Ours has always been a world of discovery, extensive and ever-expanding knowledge and innovation.

As an “ager” and non-techie I am grateful to still be and feel a part of it and understand enough about the new technologies to get by.

Like many others, I can barely keep up with updates and constant changes. I cannot imagine what that world will be like even 10 years hence. But I know if I am still around, my thumbs will still be trying to learn how to text.







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