Has technology devalued the human experience?

Photo by Tyler Meuter

Let’s be honest — our generation is highly dependent on technology.

Advancements, particularly in handheld devices, such as smartphones, iPads and smart-watches, have made our lives more efficient by making everything we need accessible at the tap of a screen or a swipe to the left. Our lifestyles have dramatically changed over the past decade because now, instead of face-to-face conversation, we have messaging apps with emojis to express ourselves. Instead of flipping through page after page of text, we read and scroll through material on a screen. Instead of using mental math to calculate tip, we open the calculator app on our phones.

Essentially, technology has taken the “hard work” of talking to someone in person, of physically reading a book and of using our minds to do some mental math and replaced it with a device. The small satisfaction of doing these simple tasks without the use of technology has been cast aside with instant gratification from attaining what we want when we want it.

Has technology become so advanced that we, as a generation of Millennials, cannot physically or mentally live without it? Think about it: if all the technology today were to run out of battery or disintegrate for some odd reason, would we still be able to successfully accomplish the same tasks at the same speed as with technology?

I, for one, would struggle. I depend on my laptop to complete assignments because most, if not all of my professors post homework and reading online. I depend on my phone to communicate with my friends and family. Especially at Tech, when everyone is busy with his or her own schedules, communication is best by email or text. Living without the use of my phone or laptop would make studying at Tech and communicating with anyone extremely difficult.

However, I have noticed that technology, ironically, disconnects us from living in the present moment. Even though we try our hardest to communicate what we mean over text, there is still a possibility for miscommunication or misinterpretation of what was written. If, instead, a conversation was held in person, facial expressions, changes in tone, and hand gestures are some ways that miscommunication can be avoided.

With constant focus on a screen in reading and using phone applications, we limit ourselves to a brightly lit screen and forget to appreciate the physicality of turning each page or handwriting calculations on a sheet of paper. These daily little things are what truly matter.

It is great that technology catalyzes our lifestyle by making simple tasks fast and easy to complete. However, at the same time, we should be aware that it also can isolate us, from one another. So take time to disconnect and appreciate the present. Technology will always be here, but will each precious moment of your life always be here?