Technology, the Medusa of our Day?

I came across unrelated but commonly themed articles today that contained ideas worth spreading. The technological advances of our current era are transforming the way people interact. Some argue for the changes, others argue against them, but as with all human developments it behooves us to ask whether we are managing the change or if it is managing us?

The first, an article from the New York Times called “Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain,” describes an unusual journey taken by five neuroscientists. Matt Richtel, the author, noted: “It was a primitive trip with a sophisticated goal: to understand how heavy use of digital devices and other technology changes how we think and behave, and how a retreat into nature might reverse those effects.

Having been on a similar trip deep in the mountain region of Thatwontworkhere, Canada, the article piqued my interest. Attention, learning and memory work differently under the influence of the many technological devices that we load our belt buckles, cars and homes with and these scientists are out to prove in exactly which ways.

Medusa by Caravaggio from Wikipedia

I know that for myself it is easy to get caught up in the seemingly purposeful distractions of technology. Technology wrongly used can work as a modern-day Medusa, turning all who stare deeply into its eyes into stone. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no Luddite, but I am concerned that – the human race – stay in control of our creation.

So where do we start? Enter Geoffrey Webb’s post entitled “10 Rules of Tech-etiquette,” an excellent article that earned Geoff a promotion to Freshly Pressed the other day. Staying in control of the technology that you surround yourself with requires attention, awareness and diligence in action. Follow Geoff’s advice and you are sure to regain respect in areas where you’ve slowly (and likely unknowingly) whittled it away by your obsession with your iPhone, your Blackberry or your laptop.

Take more time to look up and connect with those in your immediate vicinity. The return will far outweigh the investment!

10 thoughts on “Technology, the Medusa of our Day?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Technology, the Medusa of our Day? « Gregg Hake's Blog --

  2. Mister Reiner

    “No technology” experiments like the one mentioned in the article are funny. People can’t stop technology from happening or permanently reverse its effects.

    If what they say technology is doing to our brains is true, then we’re evolving in some bizarre manner and we’re not going to know if the long term effects are are a good thing or a bad thing for many years to come.

    As new generations grow up with the technology, their perception of what is normal will be far different from ours. I’m sure the question, “What do you mean disconnect? What’s wrong with you? Are you not feeling well today?”, will be quite common.


    1. They are funny. It’s interesting to see corporations and universities spending so many research dollars to gain a better understanding of the ways we’ve changed over the last century in particular as a result of the technology boom. I suppose they do it to find the best ways to take advantage of the new “normal” in marketing, government, education, etc. I bet the world my children inherit will be hardly recognizable from the world I came into.


  3. Colin

    Most of those things on the list seem to be respect issues. I think many people (myself included) are now splitting their focus almost by habit, but all that shows is a lack of character, and the inability to give 100% of yourself to another. Thanks for posting this and referencing Mr. Webb’s post. Now I can consciously make sure that I am not showing disrespect simply as a habit!


  4. Kimberly

    That sure deserved my attention, I’m guilty of some and victim of others. People are still the most important asset to our lives, businesses and happiness.


  5. Brad

    i’ve been in remote areas for extended periods of time without contact to the outside world….it’s a unique experience! i don’t think we need to go to those lengths to learn a lesson but it can be helpful to get us out of our routines.
    the NY Times article you reference gives some worthy ideas to start.

    i was speaking with a man in a coffee shop recently, my phone rang and i simply turned it off – he looked at me like i’d lost my mind, “you’re not going to answer that??” – “no, i’m speaking with you”….isn’t this just common courtesy – seems like we’re just programming ourselves to expect interruptions from all angles and that “multi-tasking” is the norm??
    But i wonder how effective our creative thinking and relationships become without the right environment that allows things to fully develop??

    thanks for the reminder to be present with what i’m doing no matter where – electronically or not


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