Are we suckers for new technology?
By Keating Smith, Staff Writer
A growing cultural norm seen among our generation is that of technology bashing. “My phone is better than your phone because it has these bells and whistles, and my computer has this soft/hardware so it is capable of doing these tasks which your archaic machine cannot, and so on.”
But what if there is another aspect to this norm that we are completely oblivious or ignorant to?
I recently heard Camille Paglia, an American feminist and recent author of Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars, argue on CBC Radio that the design and marketing behind smartphones—particularly the iPhone—is taking away from the collaborative appreciation for fine arts and how our generation perceives them.
While the Apple website exalts the feats of engineering used to make these products—which they seem to pump out on a quarterly basis—this does in fact add to Paglia’s argument. I think the fine arts are dealing with other problems that can’t all be blamed on Apple’s latest technological “breakthrough” product.
True, the phenomena of modern technology is quite the feat of humankind, and the devices that we have at our disposal today could have quite possibly run a small corporation or large business 20 years ago. But, as Heidi Moore writes in the Guardian, “[P]erhaps it’s time to grow up and break the cycle. To respect these thoughtfully created and designed devices for what they are: devices, not new gods to be worshipped. To understand that we should use electronics until they don’t work anymore, not until we get distracted or bored by some other device. That would force companies to create better, more reliable products. It would also save us, as consumers, thousands of dollars in our budgets that we currently spend on serving our whims rather than on obtaining something great.”
These products cannot undermine the significant characteristics or landmarks within our lives, and I dare anyone to argue how the memory of spending time with your now deceased grandparent, or the images of childhood burned into your mind can be replaced by the latest and greatest smartphone or computer.
Indeed, we may be able to communicate better and access more information on these new devices, but ask yourself: if all of these technological items became obsolete tomorrow, what would you do with your life?