133/366 – Technology Dependence
One of the ways you know that you’ve perhaps become a little dependent on something when you don’t notice how much you need it until after you don’t have it. Such as it was that after serving on a jury for three days, one of the things that I quickly learned was how dependent most people have become on technology to do the basic tasks and things that they need in order to get through the day.
For obvious reasons, there was an electronic device ban in the courthouse, so when we walked into the building every day to turn off and lock away the mobile tech, I suddenly felt like I’d been cut off from the world. Without the ability to check my email for work or for home, without the convenience of being able to talk to whoever I wanted when I needed to, and without the resources at my disposal in the palm of my hand, there was almost a sense of nakedness, of vulnerability. Forced to communicate through passed handwritten notes, through pay phones with limited minute use per charge, and through other less modern means, I suddenly found myself feeling very inconvenienced and fidgety, even though I had no reason to be.
Sure, you may say that the 12 of us may have grown up at some point without the technology that now sustains us and our lives daily, which means that griping about the sudden lack of it should at the very least be a bearable burden. It was, but I think what’s also important to note is that technology has in the time my generation has grown up, has put down roots within a bunch of societal arms. Not only is it necessary to automate and perform certain functions but its convenience has meant that people who normally would have to resort to other means for getting some things done (such as physically mailing or sending a letter as opposed to an email) are able to be more efficient and go about their day. They can research what they want and be more informed about the world and its current events. They are able to look up and understand concepts with which they may not be familiar. All of this is possible when that technology is taken away, but as a result, things are slower, less efficient, and very manual – an effect somewhat felt in the absence of us as jurors from the various occupations we had temporarily taken leave from.
In that respect, in the end it is the human element that is ultimately important as opposed to technology. But it’s also my point that that same human element is ideally armed with the technology that makes them be more effective, informed and have the right tools to succeed. Taking that away, even temporarily, felt like a step backwards, putting a foot ever so slightly back into an age where there wasn’t internet, portable devices, and the ability to do so much at your fingertips. Could humankind survive without technology if a theoretical zombie apocalypse or other catastrophic event occurred? Sure. But it’s be a lot harder than if we had the full capability of the technology we’ve come to lean on at our disposal.