Welcome to Mexico!

By Victoria Schmidt

Technology Takes Over

 

information-overloadEven though I live in Mexico, parts of the United States sneak into my life through my e-mail inbox. For some reason my SPAM filter hasn’t been working very well lately, and I have been inundated with all kinds of offers.

I have won contests I never entered. I can order a cure for male pattern baldness, and I can grow “my member” larger, and enjoy longer erections and keep my Chinese, Russian or Latino bride sexually satisfied in bed while studying at on online university not unlike the board that certified Rand Paul.

I’m not sure why those spam people can develop a gender filter because my name is my email, and I’m pretty sure most Victoria’s don’t need most of the above mentioned material!

Yes, although some people may doubt it, I really do live in the century of technology. I just don’t have to like it! I want to know why it is that every time I become completely used to an operating system for my computer, they upgrade it and I have to learn everything all over again? Why did Apple decide to hide my scroll bars? I liked my scroll bars! It was so much easier! And they released their system a little too fast so there were some “bugs.” So what do they do?  Rather than fixing the bugs, they make another new operating system. Oh Steve, you would not be happy! But on the other side… Microsoft has messed up with 8 so badly that they are skipping 9 and going directly to 10!

Meanwhile, I have been forced, beyond my better judgment to become a part of the social media craze so that I can find it possible to keep up with my family of the younger generation. I can deal with Facebook although I know that everything I place on there is looked at and recorded and analyzed. And as for another site…no way am I going to become associated with something with a name that begins with t w i t!

And now, in case you miss the adventure of your friend in line at the grocery store posted on FB, your telephone can keep you connected! So you can “What’s Ap” someone to find out they are standing in line at the grocery store. Or your “smart phone” can give you directions to your next destination…if your software is good enough.

There are “Aps” or applications available for anything you can imagine. And many more I couldn’t even imagine. I liked it better when I could just dial a number and make a quick call. Now I feel like I need a master’s degree in engineering in order to make a telephone call. I’ve declared myself too dumb for a smart phone.Yet I can see the writing on the wall. There is a smart phone in my future.

I’ve watched the 40-somethings, and younger crowd and wondered if they would have to have their electronic devices, phones, pads, etc. surgically removed from them.  But with Aps with people’s medical information, their favorite shopping, even the ability to shop on their phone it seems they are becoming more dependent on these electronic gizmos.

Sitting in a group, you can prepare yourself for all sorts of strange noises and ringtones.  Music, whistles, buzzes, beeps, cartoon noises, and songs that announce a caller or a text. People running their own business cannot have a conversation without the darn phone interrupting every meeting, conversation or activity.

Recently while visiting four of the five generations of my family, I looked around and everyone but me was on a different electronic device. Even my elder sister! I couldn’t believe it. All were performing useful tasks. One was looking for gluten free food delivery while another was looking for photos of their latest endeavors, while yet another was talking to a friend.  And I finally said “Hey guys! Have you heard of the great new Ap? And you all have it on every one of your devices no matter which kind you have!  It’s free! It’s called an OFF BUTTON!”

OK. My age is showing. But is it so old fashion to want to have a conversation with people without being interrupted by something electronic? Once while at lunch at a reunion with my sisters, I looked around, and realized that while we were in a nice restaurant, we weren’t enjoying each other’s company, three of the four of us were on the telephone with someone else. Our table of four was actually squeezing in seven conversations.  I asked everyone to turn off their cell phones. They looked at me like I was from another universe!

Are we losing the art of personal conversation? As our technology skills advance do our interpersonal skills take a back seat? There is nothing I enjoy more than a good conversation. To watch the facial expressions the light in the eyes, the raised eyebrows the smiles, the hand gestures…all which are enhanced without the use of a phone or tablet.

And while I can really enjoy time away from these tools, can we please not lose sight that they are tools and not yet extensions of the human body? I know that we can have a chip placed in our animals so that we can locate them when they are lost. They are developing chips to implant into our bodies which contain our medical information and who knows what else. There are designs to use the mind interactively with technical devices. These are all called scientific breakthroughs. But I am wary of them. 

There are great technology medical devices, my husband’s morphine pump, my friends who have pacemakers, people who have devices that ease their Parkinson’s, they are devices that make our lives better. But when they start messing with our brain and interactive technology, and chips that can provide data technology, I no longer feel comfortable. After all, I can’t even get my SPAM to filter out emails aimed at the wrong gender!

 

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