Technology Sends Mixed Signals


Okay, call in the clowns – I am officially old.

Not to say I’m throwing in the towel, but I am increasingly interested in simplifying my life. As much as I love technology, ‘more and more’ seems to be turning into too much.

The recent unveiling of the Apple Watch is one just example. An accessory said to be so amazing your willpower to resist purchasing will be rendered powerless whenever within one thousand yards, the product is downright Orwellian.

The concept of a watch keeping my health vitals, vibrating every time an email arrives, or allowing me to purchase a coffee with a casual swipe of the hand actually seems a bit intrusive. I can almost see myself, after a long day off ringing or vibrating, tossing the offender into the ocean. In some ways the new Apple Watch just might manifest into something along the lines of a police-issue ankle monitor.

When it gets right down to it, I just want my watch to tell me the time.

But these increasingly odd feelings are not stopping with my watch.

Believe it or not, I take great pride in my ability to parallel park – so much I once thought of mentioning the valuable factoid on my resume. Today, however, many new cars come equipped with the technology to successfully parallel park your car without human assistance. This, no matter how convenient, makes me a bit sad as I can still hear my dad’s coaching in the background as I pull off yet another parallel parking masterpiece. Somehow my dad’s voice saying, “push the self-parking button,” does not carry the same emotional currency.

A couple weeks ago a speaker mentioned a popular new app for the iPhone that turns on the camera as to allow you to read your Facebook feed on your tiny screen and see where you are walking without ever looking up.  Yes, as if occasionally lifting your eyes off your little screen is too much to ask, there is an app for that.

Today we are finding new generation not knowing how to read or give directions without the assistance of their phones. To tell my daughter’s generation a destination is on the west side of a particular road is akin to speaking Greek to her.

Recently I asked her to tell me what side of the road a business was located.

“Is it on the east or west of the interstate?

“Dad,” she once said, “I carry 10 different tubes of lipstick in my purse. Do I look like I carry a compass?”

Like I said, the world is getting complicated in an odd way.

Computers were designed to help us become more efficient. But I’m becoming increasingly suspect they just might be sucking the wind out of life. Everything is becoming so predictable, so precise. The wiggle room of the unexpected is where many of us discover the fun in life. Nothing really beats the excitement of the imperfect.

So as the clowns move a few steps closer, they shouldn’t have too much trouble finding me. I’ll be they guy checking the time on my watch right after successfully completing another perfect old-school parallel parking job.

– 30 –



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