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Is There a Flip Side of Smart Technologies?

Remember the times when television served as a pastime after an evening fun with friends? Or, how it acted as family time when we watched a show together? Today, every screen is a television.

Think of the telephone that almost dissolved into the living room furniture, coming alive at times when a friend or relative called us to dissolve distances? Today, the same phone has become so smart that it has distanced us from our loved ones.

There was also the light bulb that removed darkness. Today smart bulb denotes affluence and reminds us of fast-depleting natural resources.

Now, you may now think what I am driving at? Is this some sort of anti-progress rant or a narrative that indulges us in the past, suggesting a return, perhaps to the dark ages?

Progress on any front is measured by its impact on our lives. Smart technology has eased our lives while nipping a little of life’s essence. Gone are the days we could remember more than a few phone numbers. Today, the smartphone does it. And we cannot.

Look at television now. The OTT platforms gives us the choice of watching our own screen. What it takes away is the family screen time where dinner conversations used to be around news or even Salman Khan’s idiosyncrasies on Big Boss.

For close to eight months, the world has been locked down. We stayed indoors. Kept social distancing. In other words, did everything contrary to our nature. Our only companion was the smart gadget. While we gorged on screen time, we missed out on socialising time.

This is the human cost of smart technology. In 1624, John Donne said in “Devotions,” “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.”

Today, smart gadgets are turning us into islands.

Of course, we have a choice. Of turning into islands or retaining our essential nature where we manage ourselves in a way that our social lives and gadget duties are balanced.

It is time to become Smart by making these smart choices

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