To Tech or Not to Tech: Yeesh, What a Question

July 2, 2018|Posted in: Uncategorized

I’m not a technophobe.

I know, I know, starting a post like that is just begging for people to come crawling out of the woodwork and point out how much I AM scared of technology, but I’m not. I mean, I have a healthy respect for it, as I feel too few of us do, but that’s not fear, it’s common sense.

Every time we log on or plug in somewhere, we are giving the world access to our lives. That is not inherently wrong, but neither is it inherently safe–and we seem to have trouble reconciling those two things.

Online shopping? Convenient, sure, but risky. Virtual assistants? Forbes found Alexa “surprisingly easy” to hack. Smart app-powered homes? Once hackers  get into your refrigerator they can take over everything else in minutes. Why not just give them the keys to your house?

But …

Just paying with a credit card is risky, even at a restaurant, where the wait person disappears with your plastic and does heaven-only-knows-what with it in the back. Even without Alexa, Google has pictures of my house available to anyone who wants to check. And of everything I own that could be hacked, the ‘fridge is about the last thing I am worried about (coffee-maker is a different story … you want to hold something for ransom, hack that puppy. I’d be giving you all my computers, all my keys, and my mother. But I digress.).

My point is, technology itself is not the problem. The problem is our all-or-nothing attitude toward it. If we use anything at all, we tend to put all our trust in it. That’s not healthy, and I’ll tell you why: it’s not a matter of IF technology will fail, it is a matter of WHEN. Face it: if sites as big as Equifax or eBay can be hacked, no place is safe. If Amazon and Yahoo can go offline, anyone can.

That doesn’t mean stop using them. It just means be smart.

I love Wikipedia … but I also have reference books upstairs. Not nearly as many as I used to, granted, but still. I have an Instagram account and even a website that I update occasionally … but I would much rather talk to friends over beer than over the internet. And I can’t recite more than a couple phone numbers: I don’t have to, they’re all in my contacts list. But they’re ALSO in a journal in my office, and I have a list of the most important ones in my safe deposit box.

The Powers That Be want you to think of that piece of paper as antiquated and unsafe–what if there’s a fire? Your paper list is gone, but your contacts are still in The Cloud. But that is looking at the argument backwards. If some bozo wants my contact list (I don’t know why, either, but work with me here), there are MILLIONS of paths to that information in The Cloud. It’s just a matter of finding the door someone left open, and you can do that from anywhere in the world, 24/7.

On the other hand, there are only two pieces of paper in existence with that information on it. To get at one, you would need to be in the US, in CA, in San Francisco, in my neighborhood. You would have to get past Neighborhood Watch, an active security system, reinforced windows and more locks than the Panama Canal (not to mention a particularly ferocious Maine Coon. He can take you. He can.) or you would have to break into a bank vault. Let me know how that goes …

Look, I get it: We use some form of technology in almost everything we do: we cook on a stove (well, I don’t really, but …), zap in the microwave, store in the freezer. We have hot water, cold air, and LED lights. Technology is all around us.

But all this time we spend online or in front of the 55″ HD screen is unhealthy. It’s rewiring our brains, isolating us from our friends, and causing an epic of depression.

This ain’t living. Life requires us to explore the world. To live is to take risks. To live is to go outside and ride your damn bike. To live is to stand outside your lover’s window and throw rocks at it. To live is to go out with actual friends and have a real conversation. To live is to splurge on little things like local brews and physical birthday cards and a trip to Peru.

Real life is the original hi-def.

Technology is fine. And I’m not scared of it. But it IS dangerous, and it’s not life. Put the phone down, go outside and play.