The Long and Winding Road : Two big thumbs, one sore neck

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Liverpool

Two big thumbs, one sore neck

Twenty five years ago the world was first introduced to the Nintendo Game Boy, up until then a ‘game boy’ was quite another matter! Since then we have seen the steady tidal wave of handheld devices entertaining us and serving us as we go on our way. One characteristic of these marvels of technology is the need to be almost unaware of the rest of the world when you use them. If you took the trouble to view a topographic map of the brain you would see that the amount of brain space taken up by  using our thumbs is massive in comparison to any other usage. In fact , the evolutionary significance of opposing thumbs has gotten us to where we are today.

A recent report cited the growing number of teenagers being treated for neck and shoulder injuries as a result of too much handheld device usage has soared in the last few years. Amazing that despite our brains we have developed an adictive mode of entertainment and information which damages us…. has there ever been an invention by man that has been wholly good? I think not.

Fifty years ago the famed Isaac Asimov predicted what things would be like today and he was scarily accurate. The assumption back them was that machine and space travel would be highly evolved and we would do little of life’s mundane tasks in any given day. You can read the article here  http://tinyurl.com/lyck5sb

True, these pieces of technological brilliance are a marvel, recently I was enjoying a lunch with my wife outside an excellent tapas bar in Liverpool ( I must take you there!) when my mobile Skype phone app sprang into life. It was the mother-in-law…. but she was 4500 miles away. I answered using the video mode and had a 10 minute chat showing her where we were and what we were doing …. the strange thing is that we really thought very little of the whole procedure, to us it has become normal.

What’s normal? I tried being normal myself once, it truly was the worst two minutes of my life…the fact is, our lives have moved on at breakneck speed and we are only just keeping up with the changes. All the more need for us to make sure we leave one foot in reality and seek out and propagate the human side to our lives.

Technology seems to be the shiny thing we are all attracted to yet it is what we do with it that really demonstrates its use. We may be better served by focusing on our skills as people who inspire and innovate rather than people who are adept at complying with the latest trends in mechanical capabilities. Keeping up with trends is good but not the sole reason we keep up with them, we may be better served by some critical thinking and reflection before we adopt something just because it is the ‘latest’ thing.

 

Interesting to see that the early ideas for technology were purely functional and designed for utility, the driver today is entertainment which says more about our expectations of life than it does about our ability to provide utility.

Where will we be in another 50 years? Who knows but I predict we will still have trouble making connections physically and emotionally…it is part of the ‘human condition’

see you on the long and winding road…….. Patrick

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