“OK Google, Play Culture by Migos!”, “Hey Siri what is 425 times 6? Hey Siri can you remind me that i have to attend a meeting tomorrow?” “Alexa switch off the lights!” “Alexa turn on the AC!” “Ok Google what time is it?” “Ok Google what’s the traffic like on the way to work?” . All this must have sounded alien to somebody just 5 years ago, however it is nothing new for the new generation.
-by Mehvish Waqar
With so many gadgets around us acting like our very own personal assistants, it won’t be wrong to say that all of us are used to giving countless commands day in and day out. From answering questions, reading news, controlling the lights, fans, and even the garage doors, to controlling the thermostats they can do it all!
It is not an uncommon sight to enter a lounge and see all the family members glued to their digital screens whether they are cellphones or tablets and it is even more interesting to see the little babies stuck to their iPads (tech nannies). It was hilarious when I witnessed a baby asking Siri to sing a lullaby for him.
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found out that the use of interactive screen time under 30 months could impair a child’s development of the skills needed for math and science.
To be honest, I consider myself a victim of this addiction too, where I feel like I am totally handicapped without my cellphone. It stores everything, from my contacts to personal notes, to pictures and videos, even my next grocery list and my passwords for the gazillion accounts that I have online. It’s almost like having a personal assistant in my pocket all the time. So the stuff that my brain was supposed to retain is now being retained by something else.
Apparently it makes us feel like we are in charge or we are empowered enough to command and get our work done easily, however if you look at it from another angle the case might be totally opposite.
An over indulgence in these gadgets has led to the focus being narrowed down to a little screen. We get off from one gadget and hop to another one. From laptop to cellphones, to tablets; this hopping continues throughout the day.
This tech craze has taken over our abilities to think, to be creative, to juggle our minds, and to polish & sharpen our mental skills. Since the solution to almost anything and everything is at the tip of our tongues we don’t feel the need to make a conscious effort to think or to brain storm. So there is a lot of over reliance on these gadgets which is leading to under-utilization of our mental and physical abilities.
Sometimes I wonder what am I going to do with all the energy that I saved by sitting on the couch and not having to walk up to the lamp to turn it on.
If you think of it logically your mind doesn’t accept the intrusion of another mind-like-assistant that all of us have kept in our houses. So, in most cases the mind decides to take a back seat and lets you play around with your gadgets. For example, now that Siri can do all the calculations I feel like all the mental math that I learned back in school has pretty much gone down the drain.
South Korean doctors have used the term ‘digital dementia’ to describe a deterioration in cognitive abilities that they believe is caused by the overuse of smartphones and games devices. (Future Centre)
I remember as a kid, I had memorized the phone numbers of all my friends and relatives by heart and I never had to dig into my digital diary for that. Now I feel like I can’t even remember more than 5 phone numbers, reason being that I have trained my mind that there’s no need to retain all those numbers, since I have other gadgets to do that for me. So it feels like I have delegated the work that my brain was supposed to do to all these gadgets.
Something that always pricks me at the back of my mind is why have we limited our mental abilities to whatever is readily available. Prior to the emergence of Google, students would work their minds off for preparing assignments or writing essays trying to come up with something which would be better than the rest of their class mates. That exercise really used to polish their skills and enhance their creativity.
Now the same students google their assignments, then rephrase whatever they get to mend it into their own version. Once again, instead of bothering their brain to come up with new and creative ideas they would prefer to copy somebody’s idea and get done with their work. This kind of convenience kills creativity and hinders the generation of new ideas. It also leads to the underestimation of one’s own abilities.
Some people would argue that these gadgets have made life easier, less complicated, more convenient, they save time and energy. Well, there’s no doubt about all these benefits that they offer. However they offer this convenience at the cost of something much bigger and important- which is the optimum utilization of your mental abilities.
The key word here would be balance. There is no harm is taking help from these high tech gadgets which obviously offer a lot of convenience but using them to a point where they start replacing your mental abilities is the issue. The problem begins when these gadgets start making you feel handicapped without them.
Humans, I believe have the ability to undertake all their chores themselves. Taking help is one thing and relying on something to the extent that you can’t live without it is a completely different story.
Using cellphones, tablets, smart watches, Google Home, Amazon Echo and all the other similar gadgets for helping you with stuff that you don’t already know or during times when you really need help is perfectly fine. However, making them a habit and letting them overpower your mind is a very unproductive situation. It would only make your mind and body clumsy.
The question here is how to avoid making the mistake of relying too much on your devices and not knowing the fine line of when to put down the hand-held. We have come up with a list for you of when it is okay to use your gadget versus when you should probably put the device down.
|When It Is Okay||When It Is Not Okay|
|Calling an Uber||Neglecting your relationship by using your device|
|Researching Facts||Heavily reliant on AI to be 100% factual|
|Using it to teach children||Using it to preoccupy children|
|Asking for the weather forecast||Using it for simple mathematical skills|
|Commanding it to Play Music|
|Playing Chess against the computer to strengthen the mind||Online Gambling – Don’t be so naïve. House Always Wins|