In a modern world driven solely by technology it appears that almost every aspect of our daily lives now rely on some form of technological means. The digital society we live in today surrounds us all with its brilliance, but it’s what it does to us inadvertently that may be a cause for concern. For one, we now live in total reliance of technology, from cars, to smart phones, home computers, or even our TV’s. Today, now more than ever, technology makes what were once difficult tasks now as simple as clicking a button, or speaking into a device. But does the fascinating digital world around us make us lazy? Does it make us stupid? While there may be a good number of ways to look at this phenomenon, I would like to point out a few important facts so you can judge for yourselves.
Automated Software Programs Make us Stupid:
For starters, automated or semi-automated software doesn’t require much human interaction, and in many cases doesn’t require much of any analytical thinking. When I was in college for information systems, I remember taking several web design courses in which we were taught to design websites using WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) HTML editors, or semi automated web design programs, like Adobe Dreamweaver, or “Coffee Cup’s” HTML editor. With both programs building a website is as simple as dragging and dropping elements onto various parts of an interface, and clicking to type some text. The problem I saw with this approach to web design, is that, while making the process of designing functional sites simple, it also doesn’t give you the ability to fully understand the underlying technology you are working with, since you never actually type any code yourself.
Today, its programs like HTML editors, WYSIWYG programs, as well as content management systems like Wordpress with its automated web design processes, that cause so called “professional web designers” to not have any real knowledge of the underlying technology that is used to build a functional website. While programs like Wordpress can make the web design process simple, they also make people stupid since they never understand the technology that drives it. There’s no analytical thinking process needed to drag and drop elements on a screen, or cut and paste text into a box in Wordpress! Technology in this sense is making our professionals dumb and incapable of doing their jobs effectively. The last thing we need is a world full of incompetent professionals, for which there are now many.
Too bad the average web designer or developer today has about as much skill as a 5 year old who plays with Legos. For those who are unaware, the main underlying structure of any web page on the internet today consists of HTML and CSS, not an interface where people drag objects around on the screen. If you don't know both of these technologies, then you're no where closer to being a web designer than a plumber is to being dentist. I'd like to think it's common sense that true Knowledge comes from understanding the underlying ground work for the technology you're working with. If you can't make sense of what something is made up of, you will never truly comprehend it.
Smart Phones Hardly Make us Smart:
While smart phones might be smart, they make the average person lazy, stupid, and unproductive at best. Some people do nothing but play around all day on their phones texting people aimlessly, playing games, chatting on Facebook, etc. Among the many benefits of our much beloved smart phones are the fact they cause people to lay on the couch and get fat, do unproductive and unintelligent, yet repetitive processes (typing pointless short phrases into the screen), and cause some people to get so engulfed by them that their phone literally becomes their entire life! Smart phone, Dumb user!
We take Technology for Granted, also making us lazy and stupid:
Forget walking, mowing the lawn, or taking a bike ride, these activities are simply too much work for today’s average American! Instead we choose to do more productive things like, drive to the store (which by the way is right across the street), call the neighbor (because walking next door is too much work), laying on the couch and stuffing our faces with garbage (Can’t miss American Idol!), and complaining about why we are so tired (which is actually caused by our lack of physical activity). And people wonder why Americans are so unhealthy these days. Thanks to technology, eventually we won’t ever have to so much as stand up, walk, or move a muscle to do anything, isn’t a digital world just grand!
The Bottom Line:
Technology is great, but not when it’s used and abused in a manner that makes our lives miserable before it ever makes them better. I didn’t become the professional web designer I am today by dragging and dropping pictures on a screen, watching TV all day, texting from my smart phone aimlessly, or laying on the couch playing XBOX while stuffing my face with pizza! This life is only what we make of it really. Technology can make our lives better, but it can also ruin our lives if we allow it too. It’s a shame that so many people remain totally unaware of just how lazy and stupid all those technological gadgets are making them. It’s a cause for concern in the professional world as well.
If no one knew how to code, then who would there be to develop future automated programs to design websites? What if your family doctor didn’t know medical science at all and instead had a software program and digital devices that did all the diagnosing for them (believe it or not, they often do now), Then what would happen? The entire world would consist of stupid people as a result, as well as seriously flawed technology for our future generations.
Our educational system today needs to do more to help people better understand the subjects they're studying, without simply relying on technology to do everything for them.