I have a problem.
I’m not sure if it’s a generational thing. I mean, I’m friends with people from many generations, and it doesn’t strike me as a generational thing. Here it is:
Why doesn’t everyone use Google (or, God forbid, “The Google”)?
There seems to be a subset of humanity that actively refuses to embrace technology. And the thing that really gets me is that technology is supposed to make our lives easier. If it isn’t helping you, don’t use it.
Perhaps this has something to do with our gadget-obsessed society. It’s enough to own the bright, shiny toy. You don’t need to know how to use it. As long as you have it, your position in society is assured. We’ve replaced technological knowledge for the appearance of technological knowledge. “I have a smartphone, but I don’t know how to use it.”
I was so excited when Apple announced the iPad, because it was like someone announcing a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Here was a handheld device (okay, maybe not palm size, but still reasonable) that had an almost guaranteed connection to the Internet. The Internet. The most complete compiling of human information so far. You want it? You can find it. Science fiction became science fact. Grab your towels.
Another thing about the iPad is that it has nearly limitless potential. Want to use it as a gaming device? Go for it. How about a medical aid for nurses and doctors? It can do that, too. I’ve been asked what an iPad does, which baffles me. You can use it as a musical instrument. You can use it to send text messages or talk on Skype. You can use it to create graphs and set up visual aids for meetings. You can use it to scan credit cards for your business. It can’t make you a cup of coffee, but it can tell you where to find some, and it get you one at Starbucks if you add money to the app.
The iPad, while a technological advancement, is also hailing back to the cave man. Here’s a stick. What does it do? It does whatever you can make it do.
Now, not everyone is ready for an iPad. I understand that. If it doesn’t somehow make life easier (again), you don’t need it.
I believe technology is the one of the foundations of human evolution. Before “I have a smartphone, and I don’t know how to use it” was “I have a rock, and I know how to use it.” Those must have been exciting times, when Caveman Jobs held an event with his turtleneck (made out of actual turtle?), and announced the rock. Maybe he was even responsible for the slingshot. Ridiculous scenario or not, human innovation cannot be denied as a major component of our development.
There’s this aspect of my personality that makes me undauntingly curious. If I want to know something, nothing will keep me from it. I will read the books, I will take the classes. If I had more time, I would study everything from Accounting to Yiddish Studies (yeah, it’s a thing) and everything in between. I understand on an intellectual level that not everyone shares this insatiable thirst for knowledge. Fortunately, I’m not related to any of those people. My parents, my siblings, my aunts, uncles, and more, all share my desire to learn.
The Internet is a portal into the garnering of information. (I don’t believe everything I read on the Internet; I’m just saying you can find factual pieces if you know where/how to look).
If I don’t know how to do something, my first instinct is to turn to Google.
Why doesn’t everyone do this?
You know another thing that’s great about Google? You can just type in your question, right into the box, and it gleans your meaning. How? They employ linguists who seem to have the ability to read minds. Their algorithms incorporate data from your history of searches. They look at the way other people have reacted who have performed similar searches. Google is trying to make your life easier. Embrace it.
I think these non-adopters are going to have a problem very shortly. Human technology is evolving alarmingly fast (not that you need to read any books on it). If you can’t keep up now, what happens when everyone is wearing Google Glass? What happens when we develop a way to store our thoughts instantaneously to the cloud?
Human evolution is so closely linked with our development of better tools, it’s possible the swift development of technology could lead to species directed evolution. Yes, our tools now could determine the future of the human race.
So, get on board. The spaceship is leaving without you.
P.S. I’m ready for my nanite injection, Mr. DeMille.
This little blog-o-mine. Imma let it shine.
Today, I take presumption to a whole new level and tell you the meaning of life (hint: it’s not 42). Those of you who already know the meaning of life will continue reading and nod knowingly. Those of you who don’t will throw things and scream ‘how dare she, blasphemous Internet troll!”
It’s “make the world a better place”. It’s actually a really cool deal. You see, once you start trying to do this, everyone around you sort of takes notice. Since this blog is inherently selfish, I’ll give you an anecdote.
The other day, at Starbucks, my barista handed me my drink. As I reached for a sleeve, I cheerfully flashed a smile and said, “Thank you!” You know, because he was my enabler for the day. But, no, seriously. He just made me a cup of coffee. My Midwestern manners, wait, no, hold that thought, my humanity dictates that I should express gratitude for services rendered.
As it so happened, I accidentally cut him off mid-‘thank’. We both stopped and did a suspicious staredown. You know the one; eyes narrowed, sizing each other up out of the periphery. Now, on one hand, I understand why he would thank me. I’m a customer and the head honchos dictate that such things are supposed to be said to a customer, probably with a certain level of welcoming charm that encourages them to return. But, I was reacting to his reaction.
Did he really not have people say thank you with any sincerity? I mean, God! He could have burnt himself on scalding coffee! He was heating milk with a piece of equipment that blasts out a jet of super-heated water! Thank you for putting yourself in mortal danger so that I may enjoy a tasty soy misto! IT’S DELICIOUS!!!
Granted, I was not in a part of town that has a gracious reputation, but can we please treat other people like human beings?
I have lots of brains, lots of ideas, and very little money, but I’ve got stuff to work with. There are things that I would like to do, things that I can do, and things that I will never be able to do. I’m not going out of my way to treat another human being like a human being because it’s surprisingly natural. It’s a little thing I’ve taken to calling “not-being-a-sociopath”.
All right, all right. Yes, you might have had a bad day. Yes, things might not be going great in your life. Jobs suck. Deadlines loom. Cats start throwing up on your carpet. Your dad won’t let you walk out the door without trying to engage you in a game of 20 Questions. But none of those things are a reason to lose sight of what it means to be human.
The “hello, how are you?”…not enough. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.
I’m not claiming sainthood, here. I usually kvetch to my friends, which is a burden they don’t deserve to bear, but they do, with patient grace, and they sort of signed on to seeing the Monster before the Man.
So, when you are tempted to collect your decaf soy Carmel Macchiato in eye-contact avoiding silence, or you find yourself snarling at the grocer, maybe give Dr. Jekyll a minute to regain control, hm?
Be human. We were born that way.