Computer technology has brought about many miracles but has also opened up a huge can of worms. Some weeks ago I was using my smartphone just like any other day when suddenly I received a Facebook notification. Now what was annoying about this occurrence was that I intentionally turned all notifications for FB off, but despite that the feed just kept coming in.
As helpful and revolutionary computer technology has been, I feel like tech companies such as Google, Facebook, and Tinder make using their services as inconvenient as possible but in very subtle ways.
Take for example the Youtube App. In 2013, I had a red Metro PCS smartphone where whenever I had Youtube up I could play videos with my screen off as much I wanted. The same cannot be said for today, where in order to do the same thing you must have a paid subscription to Youtube. If you don’t have a subscription and want to just blast “Cruel Angel’s Thesis” with your screen off, you simply cannot do that. As a result, my phone’s screen will be on in my pocket to where even a slight glide of my finger across my pants pocket, can stop my song entirely or perform another function.
I mean really, why would I pay to use Youtube Music? Even if I wanted to, albums such as the Sigma Harmonics OST and Vielen Dank from Hamauzu Masashi aren’t even provided on the service, but that’s beside the point. Another problem that I see with Youtube is that sometimes the website will flood my “feed” with suggested or random videos that are completely irrelevant to me. So at the end of the day, it’s just this flood of content or “time-vampires” wanting to gobble up my precious resource.
Computer technology may be a complex creature but in essence, they’re still tools in that they make performing tasks much easier. I kind of feel like these tech companies are out to capture as much of people’s attention as possible. They’re not all to blame, of course how I use my time is totally my responsibility, otherwise, I’ll become a deprived “chrono-zombie”.
Whereas the hammer is made of steel, software, for example, is composed of code. This abstract immaterial property that can do wonders such as creating virtual worlds, computer intelligence, distance communication, the world’s knowledge at our fingertips, etc.
Lately, I’ve been wishing that I lived in a world where computer technology, radio, and television didn’t exist. When you think about it, we really don’t know what that reality is like. We may never get to experience the kind of life our ancestors had during a time where such inventions didn’t exist. But here we are in the 21st century and I can only imagine the kinds of problems future generations will face in a world with even more complex technologies.
It’s saddening that we weren’t prepared for this future, we’re taught how to read and write but not how to use technology. I mean we’ve been taught “just enough” to be effective cogs in a machine but not how to intelligently use our technologies.
At the end of the day, we should understand how our own tools affect human existence for better or worse, especially with the advent of computer intelligence which has its own set of complex problems. From a worldbuilding perspective, technology shouldn’t stunt or restrain human potential. It’s like a gun, it’s simply a tool until it falls into the wrong hands.