Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Are We Losing More Than We Are Gaining?

The amount of time I spend looking at my smartphone since upgrading (and that is an understatement) from a Blackberry to an iPhone 5 has increased by at least an hour a day.  What can't it do?  I COULD use an app that alerts me to oncoming traffic when I am crossing a busy Manhattan street with my head down.

Seems even futurists and science fiction writers are having trouble imagining the future as hyper- accelerated technological change and innovation plows down everything in its path.  Taking a breath one morning before plugging in to one of my devises, I stumbled across this quote in the paper, and thought deeply about my children and the world they will be part of as adults.
While we have gained some skill sets (multitasking, technological savvy), other skills have suffered: the art of conversation, the art of looking at people, the art of being seen, the art of being present. Our conduct is no longer governed by subtlety, finesse, grace and attention, all qualities more esteemed in earlier decades. Inwardness and narcissism now hold sway.
But this is an extreme perspective.  We have gained many more skill sets - My 10 year-old's blog has enhanced her writing skills and self confidence, and my 12 year-old's YouTube channel has unearthed a passion for performing arts.  And it's not only leading us to inward driven conduct. My daughter's FB feed alerted us to opportunities to help some neighbors after the Hurricane.

Are we losing more than we are gaining? Hard to say.