Surely many of us have expressed the following sentiment, or some variation on it, during our daily commutes to work: People are getting so stupid these days! Surrounded as we are by striding and strident automatons with cell phones glued to their ears, PDAs gripped in their palms, and omniscient, omnipresent CNN gleaming in their eyeballs, its tempting to believe that technology has isolated and infantilized us, essentally transforming us into dependent, conformist morons best equipped to sideswip one another in our SUV
Furthermore, hanging around with the younger, pre-commute generation, whom tech-savviness seems to have rendered lethal, is even less reassuring. With Teen People style trends shooting through the air from tiger-striped PDA to zebra-striped PDA, and with the latest starlet gossip zipping from juicy Blackberry to teeny, turbo-charged cell phone, technology seems to support young peoples worst tendencies to follow the crowd. Indeed, they have seemingly evolved into intergalactic conformity police. After all, todays tech-aided teens are, courtesy of authentic, hands-on video games, literally trained to kill; courtesy of chat and instant text messaging, they have their own language; they even have tiny cameras to efficiently photodocument your fashion blunders! Is this adolescence, or paparazzi terrorist training camp?
With all this evidence, its easy to believe that tech trends and the incorporation of technological wizardry into our everyday lives have served mostly to enforce conformity, promote dependence, heighten comsumerism and materialism, and generally create a culture that values self-absorption and personal entitlement over cooperation and collaboration. However, I argue that we are merely in the inchoate stages of learning to live with technology while still loving one another. After all, even given the examples provided earlier in this essay, it seems clear that technology hasnt impaired our thinking and problem-solving capacities. Certainly it has incapacitated our behavior and manners; certainly our values have taken a severe blow. However, we are inarguably more efficient in our badness these days. Were effective worker bees of ineffectiveness!