Thursday, August 1, 2013

Avoiding Technology Dementia

There is a place for technology. But there is also a place for conventional books, conventional planning and thought, and for pencil and paper.

     I don't mind technology.  As a nurse I wrangled intra-aortic balloon pumps, external pacemakers,  Harvard pumps, and insulin pumps of different types.  I not only performed peritoneal dialysis, but I taught other nurses how to do it, and helped to write the policy manual on it, in the hospital I worked in at the time. The wide variety of blood glucose monitors available to the public has made the control of Type I diabetes mellitus, and Type II actually possible, and it has done so far more cheaply than most thought possible.   I actually like technology when there is something positive to be gained from it.   I like the alarm system in our farm house, both the one that was hard wired in when the house was built, and the wireless one we added later which has some amazing features, and cost much less than the original, both in terms of installation, and for monitoring.  I like technology when it benefits my family and I.    This actually isn't what's going on now for many people.   Smart phones, smart apps, kindles, mini tablets, etc. have all gone whole hog.   I might be one of the only people I know who actually keeps 35 phone numbers in my head.  Why should I leave everything to a Smart phone ?  If the phone malfunctions, data is lost, then no one will be able to phone anyone.  Mothers won't be able to call the landline at their kid's schools.  Adults won't be able to call their elderly parents. People won't be able to make a call to their doctors.  What is more insidious is that at least some of the people in their twenties today can't plan a project or make a "to do" list without an electronic device.  There are a few studies which indicate that excessive use of electronic devices does "soften the brain".  Not having to recall at least some data means that this function in our brain is lost, at least temporarily, just as a muscle we don't use, tends to atrophy or weaken.
              I have technology as it benefits me.  I have no intention of becoming a slave to it. I won't pay for the best and the brightest new gadget.  I will pay attention because if something which benefits me emerges, then I might have a use for it.  However, I will not pay to "keep up with the electronic Joneses" and I will not pay my way to technology dementia making electronics inventors and software developers wealthy, or shall I say, wealthier men.

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