The Rise of the human androids

By Zorena Jantze intern@economist.com.na

By Zorena Jantze
[email protected]

I recently misplaced my cellphone for a few days and had the odd experience of existing without it. Being a bit of a social scientist, the experience was rather thought provoking as it was reminiscent of a quote which says ‘the last thing fish notices is the water they swim in’.
At first the profound silence of no technological device to connect me to the outside world was discomforting, however after after a few days, I discretely started to enjoy it, although the idea of me living like a pre-historic trans-human irked most of my acquaintances and friends.
Thus in light of these circumstances, I wish to share some of the ill-effects off technological devices which seem quite evasive to most.
The first negative thing is a lack of social skill. I don’t mean this in a literal sense. Sociologist’s in the earlier stages of human existence coined the term “anomie” which was generally described as social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values or personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals.
Cellphones have dramatically changed the way humans communicate, we have more interaction, however we speak to each other at much more shorter and quite fleeting intervals. Thus mobile interaction does not suffice for human needs of proximity and face to face interaction.
The second thing is stress, constantly being “plugged in” and “connected” causes an extra layer of stress that wasn’t present before the overuse of technology. I avoided a few chill sessions successfully, without having to guiltily decline going to someone’s birthday or some odd social gathering.
Thirdly the modern generation has the shortest attention span in history, the use of social media on our phones has shortened our attention span from 12 minutes to 5 minutes.
We go through constant news feeds, receive messages every second from weird whatsapp groups we don’t even know the people in. It’s scientifically proven that people who are online an average of 5 hours a day have trouble remembering peoples names, familiar streets and quite possibly even their own birthday.
Thus the next time you walk into a room with the eerie sound of crickets as people stare down into their glowing screens, dark circles under their eyes, engaged in fantasy land, because reality land is quite dull, maybe you might want to join me in my pre-historic human mobile-less life.

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