Don’t let the robots take over | The Triangle

Don’t let the robots take over

The damaging effects of technology on communication

Photograph courtesy of D J Shin at Wikimedia

I can remember a time in my life when everyone used house phones, and the first flip phones were just being born. I know my parents remember a time when if you left the house, you had to leave with a pager and quarters for a payphone.

Times have changed but not necessarily in a bad way. The technological advances humanity has made are astounding.

Medical practice has evolved to an entirely new level within the last 70 years. Nowadays, if your hip isn’t working right you can get a new one!

Military advances are also staggering. It’s no question that guns are more powerful, bombs explode much bigger and planes fly much faster.

Fortunately, life has gotten easier too because of technology. We don’t need a fire to cook your dinner. Stoves and ovens are the wave of the future. We also don’t need to drown our food in salt to save it for later; a fridge is now in every home. Fireplaces used to be a necessity, and now they’re just a luxury. Talk about food and shelter.

And computers are literally the greatest invention since sliced bread. We now have phones, laptops, desktops — you name it. Ten bucks says you actually never knew what AI stood for, but let me tell you, it’s called artificial intelligence, and it is here to be everyone’s friend.

Now that we have computers, we can send emails to our co-workers. Staying professional and keeping up with the latest file reports have never been easier. You can ping someone anywhere at any time. You need to make a report? Who uses pen and paper anymore? Put down a keyboard and get typing (R.I.P. typewriter). Whether it’s Microsoft Office or Google Drive, you can make documents, letters, spreadsheets or slideshows and take them wherever you need.

Computer games? Don’t play if you’re a noob waiting to get pwned. You play League of Legends? It’s alright if you don’t. If you thought console games were lit, try modding: once you mod you never go back. Don’t worry Xbox One and PS4 are still lit. Pick up a controller and a headset and let’s rock out.

Netflix and chill or Hulu and hangout? You don’t need friends to binge watch an entire series in a weekend. Buy your own family-size flaming hot cheetos and a lot of water and sit back and watch some quality television or movies. And no, they won’t be surprised when you started the show on Monday and you’re already on Season 4 by Thursday.

Six words: video chat is the new chat. Who needs to talk anymore when you can Skype your friends anywhere there’s wifi. Speaking of video chat, there’s FaceTime, ooVoo, Facebook video, Tango, anything. If your friends are far away, bring them to you. If you want to see the new dog your cousin got, see it live. Talk face to face and avoid miscommunication of phone calls and texting.

Don’t even get me started with phones. Omg hashtag lol. Texting isn’t just for teenagers anymore. Grandma knows how to use emojis and she’s about to hit you up. And my boy Alexander Graham Bell’s star-studded invention the phone call will never go out of style. Cell phones are probably the it-factor of the last half-century.

Check out 1967 when folks were excited that they had mobile phones in their cars! Now we have them glued to our hand. And those fat boxes people called computers in the 1990s are extinct, they’re also glued to our hand.

The amount of things you can do on a cell phone now is just amazing, mind blowing. Touch screens have completely made buttons go out of style. You can’t tell me that if I asked you in 2007 what would become obsolete that buttons would be in your top 20, let alone top five.

Social media has literally made staying in touch a thing of the past. If your friend was moving away in the 20th century you had to hope they remembered your house phone number or had written it down. Otherwise check the mail periodically and hope for the best.

Now you can tweet how you feel and people from all over will react. You can post on your wall and have people like and share everywhere. You can make profiles anywhere and have hundreds of thousands of friends and followers: you can never have too many friends. You can even see your friends doing daily activities every day for 10 seconds!

These pocket sized computers are getting better and better. Even the cameras on these phones are incredible. Got a Point and Shoot? Who needs it when a picture of worthy quality is at the touch of a button.

Need to record your daughter’s dance recital or capture that rad ollie off the curb? Pull out that phone and record, and slow it down so it looks real cool. Make sure you post those pics and vids so everyone can like!

Even if you don’t have friends, who needs them when you have Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant? Ask them to tell a joke, or to tell you a story — they don’t bite. They’ll tell you the weather or the time, they’ll play music for you, just about any task you can think of off the top of your head. When you have all these people to talk to, how can you ever feel alone?

Oh yes, the digital age has emerged. It’s made communication easier, faster and better! But the real question is that is this really better?

No one talks to anyone anymore. We’re so invested in the digital world can we even see the world around us? Computers were revolutionary when they first came out. I’m sure there were plenty of people who worked on them day and night and were tired of doing so. Now people do it every day without question.

If the wifi goes out in the night people start questioning how they will ever survive. They just go to sleep and wake up to browse tomorrow. If it’s not on by the next day Lord have mercy.

People take every passing second they are not doing something staring at their phone. If there is literally 30 seconds until the meeting starts, people will be staring down at the screen. If the conversation gets dull hanging out with friends, out come the phones.

If the movie slows down for even a second, you will see a wave of lights start popping up in the theater.

I didn’t grow up with cell phones, but I honestly don’t know how I did things every day. I’ve been catching SEPTA since I was in diapers. Catch the bus to grandma’s, catch the trolley to the store, catch the train to school. Today I don’t even know how I make it through a ride without looking at my phone.

It doesn’t even matter how many friends you have on Facebook, or followers anywhere. None of that really matters when you boil it down. People like a pic or comment on a post and keep moving like it never happened.

No matter how much we have become invested in the digital era, real face to face contact should supercede everything. If I ever need to talk to someone about something important, something between us, I need to see you when you’re free.

Video chatting is great for long distance, but if that’s the only way we talk when distance isn’t an issue, there is probably another problem with this friendship. Texting doesn’t count as a real conversation, it’s a means to do so, but not the real thing. And phone calls are cool and all, but it’s not enough. Call me weird, but I need to see you and your facial reactions when we have important conversations.

What ever happened to people making real conversations, talking to strangers and having a really good talk about something? Do people still talk to their friends for hours? Nobody values a good conversation face to face, or at the very least leave time for it.

We’re so consumed by media and everything around us that we don’t even give ourselves the chance to meet people around us. You never even know who people really are because you don’t even think twice to talk to them and get to know the real them. That’s unfortunate.

We may not live in a world where fully functional AI’s exist, but artificial intelligence is on the rise. Electronics may not be powerful enough to plan an attack against us, but at the rate that we are sucked into the digital world, it’s almost like the robots have already won.