Thursday, December 28, 2006

Have We Entered the Matrix?

"The Matrix" is one of my favorite science fiction films of all time (and not just because of the kinda-hot woman in the black latex). For those of you who haven't seen it, Neo (the Keanu Reeves character) is given a choice to take one of two pills. One will make him see things as they actually are, and the other will keep him seeing illusions of a mundane world. Obviously, Neo takes the pill that gets him out of the illusionary world.

What does this have to do with anything? As we move further into the 21st Century, it seems we're getting more and more dependent on technology to do relatively simple tasks. Need to add some numbers? Get a calculator. Want to make music? Turn on your computer and run the right program. Need to talk to a friend? Text messaging to the rescue!

In the meantime, we're not asking ourselves what we're losing by being tech savvy. Think about all the hot items that were on people's Christmas lists. A good number of them involve electronics in one form or another. From the iPod to the Wii, from singing Bratz dolls to laughing Elmos, we're relying on technology to do things that we used to be able to do with our imaginations. And the scary thing? Nobody seems to mind.

How did we get to this point? I see it as an offshoot of the Industrial Revolution in this country. When technology really started to make its presence felt in our society in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, it was seen as a way to be more productive by increasing efficiency. As we got into the 40s and 50s, technology took on a new element. Not only could it be used to make us work faster and better, but it could also be used to give us leisure time. And it could be used to fill that leisure time.

Now with the advent of the affordable personal computer, cell phones with text messaging capabilities, and video game systems small enough to fit in your hand, we're moving into new territory where humanity takes a back seat to technology. Sure, it may seem like a good idea to have our whims catered to in the blink of an eye (with help from a high speed modem), but there are some experiences that can't be duplicated with all the technology in the world. Can a book on CD or downloaded into an MP3 player match the feeling of sitting down with a good book and a cup of coffee or tea? Not that I've found. Can PlayStation 3 simulate a game of touch football on a fall day? Nope.

Technology can be used for many amazing things, but it shouldn't be the focal point of our lives. We need to be able to disconnect from the digital world and live in the real world. From what I understand, the real world has much better graphics and all in high def, so it might be worth checking out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Technology bad. Another brilliant and original thought from the delphi of Des Moines.