Sunday, January 29, 2012

Technology Is Making You Stupid

Everyone is familiar with the old adage "those who can't do, teach", which originated in a slightly different form in George Bernard Shaw's drama "Man and Superman." A similar adage which I am increasingly finding to be true is "those without skill substitute technology." Hence the rise in ultra-complicated avalanche transceivers and GPS units, and, likely, a whole host of other electronic gadgets I have yet to encounter (thankfully).

Certainly, I frequently find myself out with people who turn their GPS on at the beginning of the day, follow me around like a faithful dog, yet never once look at the map or try to orient themselves to their surroundings. Presumably, if they ever want to return, they will follow their GPS track back. Although, for all they know, I led them on any one of a foolish, round-about, convoluted, or unsafe route. Without knowing how to read a map or terrain they are doomed to repeat my foolish, round-about, convoluted, unsafe route.

This is just like the people who turn up for avalanche transceiver practice sessions with highly complicated and expensive avalanche transceivers yet are unable to find a single buried transceiver.

There is a burgeoning new field of research out there that suggests that technology is making us stupid. People who drive into rivers, canals, off bridges, etc. while following their in-vehicle GPS units, a general decline in overall working memory, loss of basic social skills, and poor attention span, all the unwitting result of too much reliance on technology.

The other adage we are all familiar with is "if you don't use, you'll lose it." Maybe it's time to turn the technology off and the brain on.

Using a map and brain to navigate

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