Becoming program dependent
The constant expansion and improvement of various devices for the communication of messages and the gathering and manipulation of bits of information from around the world is mind boggling. My son, who is a professional computer consultant, indicates to me that it is becoming more difficult for him to keep up with all of the changes that are regularly being made in all of the various programs that he has to handle in his work. I get reminders, almost daily, of the need to update some of the files of programs, which are few in number, on my computer, and many of the emails coming into my inbox are newsletters and reports from professionals regarding some important changes that are being made in existing programs or the issuing of brand new programs to improve and to speed up the ways in which I share and process information.
An example of an impersonal message
I got an email message a week or so ago from someone who just said “Thank you” to me. I don’t know what they were thanking me for, who they were, or where they were from. Nothing in their email address gave me any personal information, apparently to protect their privacy. It is good idea to protect one’s privacy on the internet, but I think we are in danger of becoming very impersonal in our communications with each other. And many of the messages that we share are so brief, like 140 characters for tweets, or just some photos, as on Facebook, that they are almost meaningless. Some of the photos from my grandchildren are cute, but they are soon lost or otherwise buried in archives of “old” notes or albums of unorganized and unidentified photos in various files on my computer. It is easy to build a network of hundreds of “friends” on Facebook, but knowing each of them or sharing anything of real value or meaning with most of them is almost impossible.
Are you becoming program dependent?
Can you write a personal note to another person without being dependent on a computer to compose it and to deliver it? How long can you get along without your cell phone or Ipad? Can you balance your checkbook or figure the interest on your credit card without depending on a calculator in your hand to do the calculations? How good is your memory for some important facts and figures in your life without depending ona handy link
to take you quickly to the appropriate files of data?
Are communication mistakes really funny?
Political commentators and critics have made a lot of jokes about gaffs and factual errors in various statements that our presidential candidates have made from time to time, often in response to spontaneous questions where they are without the aid of some handy device to remind them what to say. But are such “mistakes” really funny or are they symptoms of a serious problem that is facing us all; are we becoming so dependent on various software programs and technical devices that we are becoming almost meaningless and very impersonal in our communication with each other? Such mistakes may not be very serious for most of us private citizens in our personal conversations, but I think that they could be very serious if they continue to appear too frequently among our political representatives who daily make important decisions about how we conduct our civic lives together.
Let’s talk about this. Are we becoming too dependent on software programs in our communications with each other? Are we becoming so dependent upon calculators in our hands that we are in danger of losing some basic personal mathematical skills? If so, what might we do to correct this tendency and avoid some of its problems?