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Monday, April 29, 2013

Truly Addictive Technology?

I am increasingly skeptical of the benefit of our immersive dependence on technology. It's an interesting development for me as I spent the first 2 decades in this profession aggressively evangelizing for the productive use of technology.

Now I find myself evangelizing for the judicious use of technology, and the importance of limiting that use so that we can live as humans must live to be fulfilled.

There are all kinds of cliched science fiction analogs that I am compelled to resist, along with the obvious and sometimes accurate comparison to substance abuse/dependancy.

However, the neuro-chemical similarities of technological over-use and dependence and drug abuse are stunning. In many people it is nearly identical. The serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine levels while using Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. are similar to those when using Ecstacy. The problem is when you come down from Facebook, Twitter and Youtube or Ecstasy. Restlessness, irritability, depression and even suicidal thoughts can occur.

The appropriate and balanced use of technology and drugs have much in common too. Drugs used properly and in a controlled fashion can be miraculous life saving medicine. Used recklessly without thought and reason, drugs destroy personalities, relationships and lives.

I have become quite a skeptic when it comes to the relentless pressure to over-use technology. Many of us feel intimidated and pressured by ads, peers, clients and family to adopt and interact with various forms of technology with little thought about potential negative effects or actual productivity or quality of life improvement.

I have no doubt that Google Glass is a VERY compelling technology. I don't even doubt the potential productivity gains in certain situations. But I am concerned that the possibility for unwitting unhealthy dependence is VERY high.

Social networking doesn't replace real relationships. Electronic games are no substitute for real sports and physical activity, and virtual worlds or enhanced reality isn't a substitute for a real life and real accomplishment. That doesn't begin to address what I believe may be most important;  the spiritual factors that are a fundamental part of being human.

Even if you have a perfect handle on living a balanced fulfilled life that includes all the wonders of new technology, there's the potential risks of the completely public, data-mined life. We have not even begun to deal with the realities of that.

Read Roberts article and tell me what you think...

Robert Scoble - Google+ - My two-week review of Google Glass: it all depends on the…
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