By Daniel Emery

You can’t stop progress, especially where man and machine are concerned.

But have you ever stopped to think about society’s over reliance on technology?

The impact of modern technology on us all is so great that, if we’re not careful, we might start dropping IQ points all over the place.

For example, have you ever caught yourself standing in front of a broken dishwasher, thinking “How on earth am I going to get my dishes clean now?”

Doh!

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The internet has only been in common use for a little over two decades, yet it’s hard to imagine how we got our information without it.

We can speak to friends across the world at the touch of a button, type any question into a search engine and get a myriad of answers. Marketing technology allows us to do business with people we’ve never met, in places we’ve never been.

There is no end to how technology affects us in our everyday lives.

But are we too dependent on technology?

I’m not asking if we could live without it – history tells us we could survive.

But will our intellect survive, if we continue to let machines do everything for us?

Here are some of the ways in which I believe technology is making us stupid.

Attention Span

Ferris Bueller famously said: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.”

The effects of technology addiction are such that most of us don’t go a minute without checking our texts or who’s favourited our latest selfie on Instagram.

Children are growing up believing it is normal to see parents scrolling through their Facebook timeline rather than making eye contact with them as they speak.

The impact of technology on communication is enormous. Staying connected has become as vital as breathing, eating or sleeping.

Our own craving for distraction means that we’re everywhere – yet nowhere – all at once.

But it’s more than just missing out on life because we’re too busy staring at a screen.

An experiment carried out by Stanford University has revealed that when our thoughts are disjointed with so many distractions and multi-tasks, we’re less able to distinguish the important information from the trivial.

Critical Thinking

We now live in a world where there is no thinking required. The internet collects information for us, and we don’t have to look to ourselves to solve problems. Maps, news, research, opinions… it’s all just a click of a search engine away.

Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel stated that only when we pay close attention to information are we able to associate it “meaningfully and systematically with knowledge already well established in memory”.

As technology advances and social media algorithms continue to only show things it perceives we like, we will continue to live in an echo-chamber of our opinion and those who think exactly like us.

Fake News

Publishers have resorted to creative tactics for traffic.

Combine this with anyone having the ability to publish and post online - and you have this new obsession with 100 percent misleading ‘news’.

Lies and conspiracy theories routinely gain credibility. Add a bit of bias to the mix and you’ve got the perfect equation for false new stories which are nevertheless persuasive. 

But fake news isn’t solely damaging to the people it’s targeted towards.

Take Pizzagate. Sounds like a funny and unlikely name for a conspiracy – but it motivated a lone gunman to open fire in a restaurant, such was its level of believability.

The fact is, we’re becoming stupid enough to believe anything we read online. And the lines between fact and fiction are becoming so blurred

The main point here is that technology encourages us to be stupid.

We don’t have to take the bait.

It is up to us to keep ourselves informed and educated, to read books and do our own research, and to listen to other opinions and viewpoints. It’s up to us to put technology away for hours at a time and hold conversations with the people around us.

Technology should complement our lives - not become our main focus. And we should question everything we read online.

 

We know how to use technology the smart way. For all your tech marketing needs, contact us on 0800 612 9890.