As technology become more tightly interwoven with the fabric of life, humankind is evolving rapidly with it. The computer is becoming us and we’re becoming the computer. Not convinced? When we get tired we “crash.” We love to multitask. And we tend to forget more, so we need “memory protection.” Those are three core traits of microprocessors, or the brains of computers.
Slim attaché cases have disappeared only to be replaced by carrying cases with wheels and retractable handles, better suited for that 10 extra pounds of digital gear you now carry. Feet sizes have also increased over the past 20 years to accommodate all that extra weight. In the past 20 years, the foot of the average woman has grown a full shoe size to an 8 or 9, up from a 7 or 8, The Wall Street Journal reported in July 2004.
Automobiles are chosen based on their compatibility with Apple’s iPod or iPhone. Facebook updates can now be posted via GM’s OnStar system. iPads power the Equus owner’s manuals at Hyundai.
Almost a third of U.K. smartphone users think it would be worse to lose their handset than their wallet. A study of those aged 17 to 23 in 10 countries, including the UK, had participants spend 24 hours banned from using phones, social media, the internet and TV. They could use landline phones or read books.
One in five reported feelings of withdrawal resembling addiction while 11% said they were confused or felt like a failure.
More than 100 million people worldwide have donned avatars, or “digital masquerades,” to play in remarkable virtual replicas of our real worlds, such as Rexon’s MapleStory or Second Life.
Human dialog is being replaced by terminology infused by technology, from multitasking to crashing to googling to photoshoping to blirting (flirting by BlackBerry) to texting. Other activities, such as “pretexting,” depend on technology.
For many, e-mail enslavement resembles that of a cocaine addiction. In fact, the ubiquitous BlackBerry, now used by some 8 million consumers, is pointedly known as the “CrackBerry.” The result of all this digital interaction is that human relationships are being affected in ever so subtle ways.
The New York Times reported in August 2006 that “as the number of home wireless networks grows, laptops — along with Treos, BlackBerries and other messaging devices — are migrating into the bedroom and onto the bed.” In other words, technology’s most important tools are inserting themselves like a digital enfant terrible into the relationships of life.
In Jan. 2007, Kelton Research reported that 68% of Americans spend more time with their computer than with their spouse. That is easy when the computer is everywhere, it’s in the refrigerator, in your BBQ in your phone.
The BBC reported in 2006 that robots could one day “demand workers rights.” Echoing that sentiment, David Levy, an artificial intelligence researcher at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, speculated one year later that people would be marrying robots by 2050 and that Massachusetts would be the first state to allow it.
Pew found in August 2010, that four out of five adolescents slept with their mobile phones “in or near their bed.”
Robot love, anybody?