Around 10 years ago, before I owned my first phone, I can easily remember my home, family, and most of my close friends phone numbers, birthdays, and postal addresses without any external help. How about now? Well, definitely not as much as back then. How many phone numbers of your nearest and dearest can you remember without flipping out your smartphones? Technology makes things more efficient and convenient but it also makes our brain lazy. Even until now when I ordered for pizzas I double-checked my full address with Google just to make sure it’s a correct one. Maybe this is just because I’m not charitable enough to give my neighbor mistakenly delivered free pizzas.
Now every time we hang out and eat with friends we would pull out our smartphones and access the calculator app if we want to split the bill. If I pull that stunt with my mum, she would give me her deadliest death stare. Maybe it’s not because I’m too lazy to calculate the bill but more like the very idea of me splitting the bill with her instead of just paying for the whole bill. LOL. But seriously, technology makes our brain lazy even with the simplest math problems. When I was a kid I was encouraged to just use just my head or find a pen and a sheet of paper or just write on my palm if the math is too complicated. It sucks back then but I’m kinda thankful now for those small and annoying but useful brain exercises.
Most of us now have no problem going to any isolated locations as we have GPS like Waze and/or electronic map like Google Maps to guide our ways, but what if when we are at the middle of nowhere our gadgets spoilt and stopped working? Would you know what to do if you’re in a situation like that?
One night I left a bar a little bit too late after midnight and took a taxi home. I remember that night the road was so empty and there are no lights on the building around and thought “If my taxi driver actually decide to rob me and take my wallet and phone right now, I won’t be able to find my way home”. Yeah, it was a scary thought because I don’t know my directions and even if I managed to find a public phone box I wouldn’t know who to call except for my parent who lives in a different country because everyone’s phone numbers are in my phone’s contact. This might be an extreme case, but aren’t we depending too much, even our survivability, on that electronic device we carries everywhere in our pocket? Luckily that night me and my taxi driver had a common interest; I wanted to reach home as soon as possible that night and was squirming like crazy because of my negative thoughts and the driver was obviously can’t wait to get rid of me because I was acting like a drunk and thought I was about to vomit inside his car. Such a memorable night!
Currently transportation companies like Uber and Tesla are already researching, deploying, and improving self-driving cars. Maybe in 50 years from now we don’t have a human driver or even a driver at all sitting in the front seat and driving our transportation vehicles and this will cause many of the next generations won’t know how to drive. The future sounds like a cool place to live in but by keep being technology dependent we are slowly losing our technical skills as we are keep making technology advances and breakthroughs to make live more convenient.
In this era where most systems are now automated and most products are automatically-produced (in a sense) by factories, handmade arts and crafts are going through a rebirth. Maybe handmade items are appealing lately because they are ‘imbued with touch’ and they offers ‘authentic’ feelings in an ‘inauthentic’ world. People now crave for that ‘human touch’, feeling of nostalgia, uniqueness, even a background story of a product to know how they are made, who made them, and what they are actually buying. Producers are taking pride in their handmade creations and by being able to say “I made that” or “I did that“.
Is there actually a link between the trends of digital deskilling and the craze for craft? Been thinking about it for awhile and now I found myself watching YouTube on How to knit your own underwear in the convenience of my bed.