Thursday, September 26, 2013

Robot Nation

I was talking to a good friend at lunch today about technology and realized I had more to say on the subject when I got home and found it being addressed online too.

When I was in high school, we took an entrance exam called the ACT which also asked us a series of questions in an attempt to suggest careers we should consider. It was a little graph with an asterisk in the area of jobs suggested for me. My asterisk was placed in an area void of jobs. I now wonder if it was a prediction of the future!

I really enjoyed my own company and preferred not to work with others. I was the typical science geek, happy to play with my chemistry set or breed fruit flies. I didn't like directing others AND I didn't like following orders. So when I had time to reflect, it really made sense to me.

One day in college, I was going to play tennis with a friend of mine and realized I had forgotten the tennis balls. I gave her my racket and looked at my watch, estimating how long it would take me to go get them. I can remember her smiling and commenting how nerdy it was to time everything I did. I had never realized how silly it was and began trying to stop doing it.

Over the years, I used my watch to begin avoiding people. If I approached someone I didn't want to speak to, I'd glance down at my watch to see what time it was. It went from being rude to avoiding ANY eye contact and socialization. It got so bad that I finally stopped wearing a watch in order to force myself back into the REAL world.

So now I go through life without a watch on my arm, my cell phone is turned off in the car for emergencies, and so far I have resisted even getting a tablet. If I know want to read something, I get a book. It eliminates the temptation to become engrossed in useless stuff and instead, engage with the world and people around me.

In The Robot Novels, we see humans crowded under domes after sucking the planet dry, eventually overcrowding causes us to move to the stars where land is plentiful and people few, some served by thousands of robots, rarely meeting another human face-to-face. From the disposable use of the planet to the gradual decrease in human interaction, it seems to be a very accurate forecast of where we are going.

I try to fight it by interacting more with the world around me and doing my bits to be more aware of the landfill I personally create but it doesn't seem to be something that the general public really cares about.

The smart device revolution is changing the world in very strange ways. From losing social skills to grammar and simple decency, many things once considered valuable are supplanted by gadgets. I wonder though, when we run out of plastic (think O-I-L), how will this new "ME" society handle it?

The Hunger Games:

No comments:

Post a Comment