My Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Infinite Knowledge at my Fingertips

One never realizes how integrated technology becomes to his or her life. Sure, everyone is different, but it makes its way in one way or another. As for myself, I sleep next to my phone, checking it before and after I sleep. I look at my phone countless times during the day, assuming it isn’t already sitting in front of me or in my hand. But it seems as though my smartphone is but the simplest means to keep my mind occupied in between the significant occurrences throughout the day.

A growing number of people today have smartphones, more than likely less than two feet away at this very moment. Knowing this, can having such a vast variety of knowledge at our fingertips (quite literally) create a lazier attitude in modern society? I was skeptical at first, due to Nicholas Carr’s evaluation. Ironically enough, I got somewhat distracted about halfway through the article, possibly due to its length. This leads me to believe that the web is in fact changing the way we gather information and ideas, but I do believe it is more of an advancement rather than a deadening of human attention.

The internet seems to be crafted by the people who use it. Sure, information is readily available in countless magnitudes. But how much do we use or need? Things like Wikipedia are essentially in existence to give a quick spurt of info right when it is needed. Need to know the capital of Egypt? Just look it up on your smartphone’s Wikipedia app. If all you need is just a little piece of info, why look up an actual encyclopedia? If someone wants to know how to spell a word, it’s obviously going to be easier for most to just google it or look it up on dictionary.com. This is the kind of “smart” that is mentioned in Alva Noe’s article. I agree completely that the web has made our processes to knowledge bearing different from what previous generation’s were (or even our own back in the day), and I agree that we have adapted to a world integrated with technology.

People can say that our smartphones divert our attention away from real life, and distract us from more important things. But as technology advances, so does its impact on us. The concept of multitasking is one of the glorious luxuries that the web seems to offer. Sitting in a library, one has to get up and search for a book, which will undoubtedly contain more than enough information, alas introducing an overwhelming amount of unneeded information. Even looking through articles online takes effort and time. Being able to look something up online in an instant saves time, effort, and allows you to stay focused on the original task (whether it be a blog post or an argument with a friend). Smartphones may seem like a terrible way to get distracted and start multitasking, but I think it does the opposite. Our technology is made to help us, and make life easier (and possibly more entertaining). Our smartphones can help us stay focused by giving us what we need to know when we need it (directions, definitions, names, prices, etc.). Rather than making ourselves move away from the habits of multitasking such as driving and talking on the phone, we are simply making our technologies make it easier for us to accomplish.

I thought this was a rather interesting list relating to technology and you (the viewer)

http://www.independent.ie/business/technology/20-ways-technology-is-changing-our-lives-26870103.html

I suppose I’ll leave you all here with a couple questions:

Do you think our technologies play a bigger role in our lives than we may think? (Do you do more with your iPhone than play fruit ninja?) Do you think that our technologies make it harder for us to pay attention to “real life”? Or have they maybe become part of “real life” in a sense?

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