“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots. “
- Albert Einstein
The generation of idiots is almost here! On one hand where it cannot be denied that technology has played a vital role in bridging the worldwide gap, it also cannot be overlooked how technology has replaced in-person conversations with face-timing via smartphones. Technology today has brought the youths (specifically) more closer to their overseas friends than to their friend sitting right next to them. And surprisingly, this is quite acceptable in today’s youngster’s world.
LETTING THE FACT SPEAK:
In Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less From Each Other, by Turkle (2012) , Turkle conducted a survey on the students of Elon, in order to determine what impacts technology has on in-person communication. In it, the students were asked to rank the following statement on a scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree,
“It bothers me when my friends or family use technology while spending time with me.”
The results were as follows-
- AGREED-STRONGLY AGREED: 74%
- DISAGREED: 6%
- NONE: 20%
Christian Lous Lange had rightly said that,
“Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master. “
The present generation is so tech-friendly that they are willingly turning their tech-friendliness into an obsession. Kids and youngsters avoid making small talks in person, and use their smartphones as a means to get away from it, or avoid having small talks. There is a kind of awkwardness in their handling of the situation which involves people in flesh. Imagine a scenario when these technology-obsessed people will have to face an interview. Would they still use their smartphones as a prop-to-avoiding-real-talk? Or will they suggest the interview be taken on Skype?
CONTRARY TO THE CONS:
Contrary to many researchers’ beliefs that technology hampers face-to-face communication, Baym, principal researcher at Microsoft Research, believes that research suggests Digital Communications enhance relationships and that “the evidence consistently
shows that the more you communicate with people using devices, the more likely you are to communicate with those people face to face” (Adler, 2013)
What Mr. Baym has said is not fully convincing. How about communicating with new people, people whom you meet as and when in life? Talking to strangers offline would then become the most dreaded thing, won’t it? Because all your life you have been expressing emotions through Whatsapp and Facebook emoticons. Real emotions as if has become an ancient thing. Putting up statuses, getting reactions, and commiseration is what you now live for. Life has become a hectic schedule, and so a little comfort in form of entertainment via technology is completely understood. But letting your life revolve around it? Unacceptable! This is how you let technology master you. Dangerously.
Though the pros of technology cannot be denied, the obsession with it can certainly not be overlooked. The misuse of technology is what is harming the social interaction between young people. Technology is human’s greatest creation. And it also is human’s most dangerous creation.
The different fan clubs on the internet brings people of various countries closer. They all share a mutual interest (which maybe they did not share offline with anyone) and connect on that basis.
Technology has made it possible to reach out to people on the other side of the world. The advantages of technology are innumerable. But most often these advantages hold no weight when it comes to face-to-face interaction.
Field observations, a survey of 100 Elon students (in Emily Drago’s Strategic Communications), showed results that the rapid expansion of technology is negatively affecting face-to-face communication. People are becoming more reliant on keeping in touch with friends and family through technology and are avoiding to engage in-person, accompanied by phones and such devices, even when in the presence of others. A large number of individuals felt the quality of their conversations degraded in the presence of technology, and many of them were bothered when friends or family used technology while spending time together. Nearly 46% of the survey respondents communicate more frequently with friends and family through technology than in person- a strong indication that face-to-face communications have decreased both in quality and in quantity.
Technology has harmed the human interaction to a great extent. Use of technology in front of elders and friends is disrespectful to them. Use of technology while conversing with people in person is unacceptable. Misuse of technology is unacceptable. At the same time the advantages of technology is highly acknowledged. Though it has provided with ample ways of virtual social interactions, it has also hampered the real social interactions between people.