Sunday, February 20, 2011

Has our relience on technology become to much of a good thing?

Don't get me wrong, I love my computer, Internet and on demand TV. I just remember reading many Sci-Fi stories about people becoming so much a part of technology that they lost their connection to humanity. In one story people eventually lived in pods, attached to feeding tubes, the computer attached to their brains and they live their lives cocooned away from the world. They would work, play and socialize all through the net. Everything was automated. People would show images that represented them, not their own faces. They would be just a part of the system living their lives trapped in it and never know it.

It seems like a far fetched scenario, people removing themselves from physical contact with other people, and even from physical contact from the world. Yet I can see the potential of this type of "withdrawal" already starting.

People don't actually need to leave their homes. I for one work from home. I email my work to my boss, I post it on the Internet, and I send my boss my time sheet by email. My pay is deposited into my bank. I can pay my bill online, everything without leaving my home. Food I can order anyway I like it. I can have meals delivered, or have grocery's delivered. Clothing, toys, everything I can order online and shipped to my home. Entertainment, I can watch any movie online, play games, just about anything I can think of I can do it in my home.

Socialization, we already do a lot of it online. We no longer need to go to a bar to meet someone "special". We can do that online at any social site. We form relationships with people all over the world sitting in front of our computers or now our game consols. We don't have to go out to hang out with our friends, we can chat on Facebook, Myspace or any number of social sites. We can email or MSN each other anytime. We post images that we like to represent us, sometimes it is our own image, but more often than not it is something we like. We can create avatars and become what we want in games, or in our contact with people online. We can create any type of life in games, or create an online life of what we want to be, now what we have. For now most of us use it as an extension of our lives, but for some it becomes their "alternate" life and possible their "real" life.

I don't see myself becoming one of the people who live their lives inside connected only by the Internet to the rest of the world. I like going out and doing things, swimming, shopping, and just having fun. For me playing a game where I am a scuba diver, a skier, golfing, or being a race car driver is not the same as actually going out there and doing it. For some people playing the game is more fun than doing things for real. I know people who don't want to do something real, staying inside playing a game is as real as it gets for them.

Entire generations are growing up spending more time online than outside or with people. There socializing is all done on line or over a gaming system. They are getting what they need that way. Heck, even some get their sexual needs met online. There is equipment available that allows people to have sex with each other, online, and not even be in the same country. Robots are being created to meet our needs. So it is possible we could eventually live physically isolated from others and still have all our needs met. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but eventually enough generations live within technology it may become a reality. I hope not. I just find it interesting how real life is running parallel to many Sci-Fi stories written in the 50's and 60's, long before the technology we have today.