Considering our relationship with technology is a complex thing.
I thought it would be pretty simple to work out what mine was. Instinctively I feel there should be far less time spent on screens and in the virtual world I have created but that is harder than you may think.
Technology is entwined with my life these days. It wasn’t always this way obviously, there have been so many developments in my life time. I feel fortunate to have seen them emerge. I can remember a life without mobile phones and a computer in every home. It is an amazing progression we have made, am I convinced it is for the better in our lives. No I am not.
It saddens me that we have lost touch with each other, yet we have the means to stay in touch at the touch of a button far more easily than we ever did. We have become a little estranged from each other, and ourselves I feel. I can only speak from a personal point of view obviously.
The advances in technology have given us so many wonderful and helpful tools to support our lives. Computers aid learning, but some of us find it difficult to read and learn from a screen. Medicine has benefitted hugely with easier and quicker ways to diagnose people, and then theres the brilliant ways in which operations can be performed using key hole surgery enabling us to recover quicker. Mechanised equipment in factories has boosted profits but decreased the need for skilled labour. Travel, how easy is it to get around this planet these days?! So many advances and so many improvements in our daily lives. Yet I think about this life and something about it saddens me. Do we appreciate each other like we used to – what has been lost here?
Personal contact is essential to human development and happiness. there has been numerous studies done in the Psychological value of human touch, this article talks about how babies development was affected by being denied touch.
One could argue that our opportunities to be in contact with each other have increased through technology and this appears to be the case, but what quality is that contact? How is all this affecting our mental health as a society?
I attended a talk yesterday given by author and publisher Adrian Shaughnessy. I was interested in his ideas about how the future life of someone in a creative role would look like with so much technology involved. (When I started life as a designer was very different, using a pen and cow gum glue and actually drawing things! It was a very different job to how it is today. One of the reasons I decided to brush up my skills.!)
He was talking about the evolution of the Graphic Design and Print industry which I too have been involved in since I was 18. He made a comment about being a designer which I found really enlightening.
“Design education is a great way to prepare someone for a life of perpetual change.”
Adrian went on to say how he felt there would always be a need for such elements as therapy involving humanistic relationships to counteract the lack of human contact which has developed from the advances in technology. This heartened me somewhat as I am so passionate about the importance of a healthy mind and that mental and physical health comes from human interaction and using our creativity.
With this in mind I am approaching the project of Our Relationship with Technology by going Tech-Free for seven days. I am calling it my Tech-Tox.
Sounds crazy, right?!
I want to see and feel the difference and understand what effect technology has on our lives. I want to completely comprehend the issues surrounding it. I am also interested in the element of addiction which surrounds our everyday tech too, especially social media and mobile phones. I feel the only way to do this is to go without.
Im not sure how I am feeling about this prospect. I am a little nervous and a little excited in equal measure. My relationship with my devices is intense to say the least! I have a beautiful 27″ iMac, a fabulous iPad Air, an iPhone 6 and a new Mac Book Pro….as well as devices like my Kindle and my camera, TV and Netflix. GULP. I am feeling a little more than nervous now.
TECH-TOX What does it mean?
The project will also have to completely tech free for it to be authentic, so I am looking to hand write all my work, or use a typewriter, I am documenting using my Nikon 301 and 35mm film which I will develop myself (gulp again but lets face it I will have loads more time!) I am going to have to use my land line which I don’t even know the number of and get some cash out of the bank to use instead of my usual contactless payment for everything.
Interestingly, I have tried to enrol others into this tech-tox but even though I have asked over 400 people I have only had one taker. I asked him to go tech-free for 24 hours and he managed 9! His feedback has been really important to my understanding of this scenario and I will share it all with you when I have completed my 7 days off grid. Wish me luck!
see you on the other side…..!