(only Baby Boomers will survive)
A recent incident with my cell phone got me thinking once again how we rely far too much on technology. This happened after a discussion I had with a younger friend who showed me his supermarket and Dunkin Donuts rewards cards on his phone. He is no millennial. He has a fairly high up job in his financial department so he is not a slave to technology as perhaps a kid right out of college.
I said that he could lose his phone. He said I could lose my wallet, where I keep a few of those rewards cards. I said wallets don't explode and they don't run out of battery. There is the link back to my original statement above.
He said he carries a spare battery. I said I did too but my phone ate up the juice faster than the battery could put it back. I think you get the picture.
Don't get me wrong, it is great to swipe a card or even hold a card up to a reader. Who needs cash, save for the few bucks to tip the valet...unless they take Apple Pay of course. I like that you can have dozens of rewards cards at your fingertips. I like not worrying about forgetting a paper boarding pass or coupon for $5 off an oil change. I also appreciate having a kindle loaded with a years' worth of commuting and beach chair reading.
Of course, if I forget my reading glasses....but that is another issue.
My problem is relying on technology. That is different than using technology to enhance my life and make it easier. My favorite story is about my son and his friends driving from Long Island to Great Adventure theme park in New Jersey. They plugged in the location on the GPS and away they went. But where did it route them? Right through the Midtown tunnel into Manhattan in the middle of a work day. There was no questioning the route. Worse, there was no ability to question the route.
Dad, this thing wants to take us though the city. Is that a good idea?
The biggest worry I have by far is that the infrastructure for all of these websites, smart phones and Internet of Things (IoT) is vulnerable. Maybe to hackers, maybe to terrorists, maybe to unscrupulous politicians. Or maybe to just simple technological failure. Just how much information can you jam into a pipe?
A constipated Internet may be decades away. An exploding web may be even farther away. And even worse, a self-aware Internet may be somewhere out there. Maybe Skynet from the terminator movies is not that far fetched. I wonder if there is a Simpsons episode on that. They seem to be able to predict the future.
My issue is that relying too heavily on technology leaves us vulnerable to problems. I am not saying to avoid progress, only to be able to survive at least a while if something goes awry. To this day, I still am glad I have DOS skills to help get around problems on my Windows computer. I can also read a paper map. And write with a pen. And walk. And call a restaurant for take out. And call around to find a good movie. And deposit a paycheck with a living bank teller. And play non-Madden football with the guys.
Technophobe? Hardly. I am blogging right now. My income is derived 100% online. And I even Venmo money to my kids. I just worry that advancement will cause everyone's life skills muscles to atrophy. Which reminds me, I have to drive to the gym to grab a little exeercise. Wii sports does not quite get that job done.