I was finishing packing my truck for a weekend in Portland, Ore., at midnight. My two dogs were settled. The three essential items for the two-hour drive: my TomTom GPS, MP3 player and coffee. With the music flowing and the coffee warm, I made sure to plan the route with the least travel time.
I hadn’t used a GPS before, so I decided to use this drive as a chance to see how much more convenient it would be having this device guide my route. An hour into the drive, a fog rolled in. I couldn’t see more than four feet in front of my car. This is when the experiment became my life-vest.
Even though there was little visibility on the road, I could see enough to follow my GPS’s guidance through the fog and arrive in Portland to connect with friends.
People can connect with the world around them in many different ways. Take a walk on Pierce College campus and large flow of information is noticeable. A fog of information surrounds us. It’s from our accessibility to communicate with everything.
People no longer just communicate with each other but with the technology surrounding them. Not only can people use their smart phones to send a Facebook message to a friend but also start a car or program a television show.
“I feel I am more connected with technology,” Caleb Medeiros said. “It makes life easier.”
And that’s what everyone wants from technology, the convenience it can give us.
When people want to connect with someone, they can grab a cell phone or log onto a computer to instantly send a message. Even though people are not a part of family members’ and friends’ everyday lives, there’s still a chance staying in touch with them.
“(Technology) helps me connect with family. Without it, I probably would not feel as connected as I am,” Taylor Anderson said
With smart phones, people have gone from making phone calls to making video calls. In June, Apple Inc. released the iPhone 4, which allows people to have video calls. The iTouch and iPhone have a Facetime feature that performs the same function. These devices enable people to be closer connected with those in their lives.
Facebook dominates many people’s line of communication. People use the site for many reasons but the main one being a way to connect with others.
“It’s really convenient being able to get ahold of someone quickly with Facebook or a cell,” Running Start student Bryanna Stowers said.
Is being able to connect quickly and conveniently creating some sense of loss?
“The technology we have sometimes makes things impersonal; that we do not connect on a deeper level,” Stowers said.
This is a growing concern among many that the growth of people’s communication is causing them to not have as much privacy they were accustomed to before.
“There’s too much reliance on our technology,” Jessica Clayton said. “I don’t have a Facebook because of the lack of privacy.”
Giving quick updates, as on Twitter, or blogging about someone’s day exposes people to many different thoughts they may not have seen before. People live with a personal lens and they view the world through that lens; the growing anxiety about over exposure stems from this issue of viewing ideas and beliefs that are different and can make people uncomfortable.
The positive about being over exposed to outside ideas is it connects people and challenges people to view the world with a more critical eye. It causes people to see that even their own community is made up of multiple cultures, which help people change their perceptions from the local to a global view.
“Technology is moving in the right direction,” Medeiros said, “because it connects countries together. It allows us to see how other cultures live. It connects us with them more.”
It’s understandable to see how technology is connecting us with people more, but is it necessary to be able to connect with your car or cable box?
Is it necessary, no, but it sure is convenient and that is what most try to do when they create new tech. People no longer needed a Rolodex when they were able to keep all their contact information in their cell phones.
Take the ability to access your car or truck via smart phone—you can start your car, lock your doors or change the radio station from the back seat. It is not a necessary app for you but it does make life more convenient.
With GM OnStar people can look up the vehicle’s diagnostics to know when you need to change the oil or the battery.
“Knowing your car’s running alright is a good thing and it saves time,” Clayton said.
In the future, Popular Science magazine says computers will be in all appliances and people will be connected. Even the simplest homes will be filled with smart appliances.
Have a recipe in mind for dinner—your fridge will scan the contents of itself and your pantry to email what you need to buy. It also will e-mail you alerts when you run low on products such as milk or eggs. The purpose of smart technology is to make life more enjoyable.
“It saves us from the extra trouble, the extra work. It helps you get to your life quicker,” Medeiros said.
Some people still are skeptical about the direction we are going with technology. And skepticism is due because the most important element with new technology is the human element.
“Future technology is going to make us lazy and cause us to sit around and not do anything,” Stowers said.
By understanding and considering the human element, it’s up to people to take technology in the direction they want it to go.
As I reached Vancouver, Wash., and drove out of the fog, I was left thankful for one night that technology had worked for me.
Technology is neither good nor bad. Even without having my GPS, I would have made it to Portland but only hours later when the fog lifted. Having a TomTom saved me those hours of waiting and allowed me to personally connect a lot sooner.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost